No fir trees, this is the Tate
Wednesday 16 December 1998
The Tate has commissioned the artist Richard Wilson, 45, to create its 1998 Christmas tree. He decided that working with a conventional tree was passe, so created one "to express both the order and the chaos of Christmas".
It is formed from basic workshop-style shelving units, decorated with functional storage boxes in primary colours, reminiscent of Christmas parcels, and with bare electric bulbs housed in wire cages.
An artificial tree is suspended within the framework of the shelving. Made from metal, it is skeletal, like the shelving units, and was originally covered with glitter to make it appear festive.
Wilson was hitherto best known for his oil-tank installation, now at the Saatchi Gallery.
A Tate spokeswoman said the tree was certainly a work of art. "The result is sparely kitsch, intended to evoke both the glamour of Christmas and the empty materialism so often beneath it."
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