This object is currently on display in room 302 as part of Nature—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial. See our image rights statement.


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Tree of 40 Fruit, 2008-ongoing

It is dated 2008-ongoing. Its medium is bare root tree, rendering, drawing, tree of 40 fruit.

Sam Van Aken uses centuries-old grafting techniques to combine multiple fruit varietals in a single tree. Grafting is the fusion of plant parts. He puts delicate stone fruits such as cherries and apricots in the center of the tree, surrounded by vigorous fruit such as plums and peaches, which blossom in a gradient of crimson, pink, and white. A hand-drawn sketch maps a tree’s grafts and is color coded to the blossom seasons.
The tree in the Cooper Hewitt garden arrived in April, and Van Aken will continue to add five grafts biannually through 2020. Metal tags on the tree branches indicate the varietals, which are each fruits originating or historically grown in New York. Van Aken has a nursery of these trees in upstate New York, preserving heirloom and rare fruit varietals. The project collapses an orchard of fruit trees into a single tree.

It is credited Courtesy of Sam Van Aken and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Tree of 40 Fruit, 2008-ongoing |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=17 October 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>