Cai Guo-Qiang is going to blow up a tree on the National Mall. And it’s going to beautiful.
Guo-Qiang is an artist, and he’s exploding the tree — a pine that stretches 40 feet tall — as part of an anniversary celebration for the Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian museum that focuses on Asian art.
The Washington City Paper explains how it will go down:
Using 2,000 firework-like explosives, Guo-Qiang will take the pine tree through three pyrotechnic stages: The tree will first be covered in yellow and white sparkles of light. The lights will spread throughout the tree, simulating twinkling Christmas lights. Then the tree will explode in a cloud of black smoke, leaving a “negative” smoke image that resembles a Chinese ink painting drifting off into the wind. The idea is for the tree-shaped smoke to create the image of two trees — as seen in Guo-Qiang’s sketch.
It sounds like a lovely idea — possibly the only excuse we’ll ever buy for setting a tree on fire.