A treehouse installation created out of reclaimed wood felled by Hurricane Sandy has been unexpectedly torn down—much to the chagrin of the acclaimed artist who made the work for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Roderick Romero, the artist who created the nest-like work in 2013 from rare tree species, said he was shocked to discover that it partially demolished earlier this month. The structure allowed visitors to climb up a flight of stairs to a broad viewing platform with an overlook of the garden.
Mr. Romero says he is brokenhearted and “fell to his knees,” when he saw the destroyed piece.
Worse still, the artist, who has made treehouse-like inhabitable sculptures for stars such as Ozzy Osbourne and director Darren Aronofsky, said he had a prospective buyer at the park with him when he first saw the destroyed work.
Mr. Romero said he had a verbal agreement with Garden staff when the treehouse went up that they would discuss changes to the work. He also said that as of yet, no one has offered an explanation or apology.
The Botanic Garden disputes that story, however. The press office told the Observer that the installation was supposed to be temporary, as are all art works in the Botanic Garden, and denied that Mr. Romero had a verbal contract that guaranteed him advance notice when the work was set to be taken down.
“It was may have been a sort of calling card for him,” the Botanic Garden treehouse, and that could be why he is upset that the piece was taken down, a spokesperson said. She added that there are generally only two large-scale exhibitions in the Botanic Garden at any one point and that they’re prepping to show 18 works of Japanese landscape architect Isamu Noguchi’s now.
At the time of its installation, the Botanic Garden posted on its website that “This whimsical, inhabitable sculpture is part open-air classroom, part viewing point, and part artwork. Created specifically for BBG, the intriguing work invites visitors of all ages to experience the Garden in a new way.”
Update: This story has been updated with a comment from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.