The Metal Tree and Three Flowers Planted on a Kirby Median Over the Weekend

Installation of Tree and Three Flowers Sculpture on Kirby Dr. South of Westheimer, Upper Kirby, Houston

Here’s an overhead view of the installation over the weekend of the 38-ft.-tall, 7,000-lb. sculpture by James Surls on the previously treeless median between West Ave and the 2727 Kirby condo tower on Kirby Dr., just south of Westheimer. Assembled from bronze and stainless-steel components, Tree and Three Flowers was commissioned by the Upper Kirby District; it’s meant to move in the wind. It’ll join other Surls public works in Houston — at Rice University, in Market Square, and at the Parks and Recreation department headquarters on Gragg St. The Kirby sculpture went in on this base:


Installation of Tree and Three Flowers Sculpture on Kirby Dr. South of Westheimer, Upper Kirby, Houston

Installation of Tree and Three Flowers Sculpture on Kirby Dr. South of Westheimer, Upper Kirby, Houston

Surls, who used to teach sculpture at the University of Houston, was the founder of the the Lawndale Art Center; he lived in Splendora for 20 years until 1997, when he moved to Colorado.

Photos: CreativeAccidents

Won’t Grow, but Will Move

24 Comment

  • YES! I love his work.

  • We need sculptures like that all over the city

  • I like the idea, the median could use a few more of these. I hope it will be lit up at night. I wonder if he had specific rules to consider in designing it?

  • I love the work of James Surls, but is putting this on a median a good idea? Cars go up onto medians frequently. Usually the damage is to the grass or a traffic sign or in some cases even a traffic light. Expensive to repair? Sure, in some cases. But traffic signs and lights are mass-produced items. What happens when someone has had a beer or 20 and is driving home to their stately River Oaks home, hops the curb and totals Tree and Three Flowers? It cost $850,000 (including transportation and installation)!

  • In the wrong location, a metal tree placed in a bare median would be as sad as it is beautiful. But Upper Kirby is lined on its sides with vigorous plantings. The metal tree in this place seems more like a whimsical accompaniment to the real things. I like it.

  • Any action on the over/under on how long it will be before it is taken out by an impaired driver? 30 days? 90 days?

  • Thumbs up to public art!

  • Finally the people in the 2727 Kirby have something to look down on other than just poorer people…

  • No idea who this guy is, but I *heart* 2727 Kirby.

  • All and all I would have prefered a real tree, it would have been cheaper and prettier –this thing is kitchy, I think id have prefered nothing to this “Art”

  • And yeah, some idiot will plow into this thing–just wait

  • Whatever. It’s not the kind of art that makes people ooo and ahh but I guess it makes some feel like they live in a cool and hip city or neighborhood, a combination gore point/glamour point.

  • @Shannon

    I guess you don’t like his piece, made from black tubular steel and carved wood, that’s been in Market Square for years now.

  • Seems like it does need some kind of protective barrier.

  • Bunch of YIMBY’s on this blog all of a sudden.

  • It cracks me up when people put scare quotes on the word art when they don’t like the art in question. Instead of it being a matter of taste, it suddenly becomes a matter of definition. It’s as if they are saying, “I don’t like this thing, therefore it’s not art.” If Tree and Three Flowers is not a work of art, what is it?

  • From its location in the median, I truly doubt anyone will hit it. How often do you see trees mowed down by an errant driver when they are not close to an intersection? At least it is something other than a ubiquitous live oak tree. Perhaps a statue of Lynn Wyatt would be more to Shannon’s taste.

  • We so need a statue of Lynn Wyatt! Where do we start the petition?

  • Am I the only one that finds this thing ugly? It would have been nice to plant an actual, living tree there to complement the rest of Kirby’s trees lining the street. They’ve done a fairly good job with the landscaping up along Kirby keeping it clean and conservative, but this thing sticks out like a sore thumb.

  • Actually, on Post Oak Boulevard, the number of trees, irrigation fixtures, and planting beds in medians hit by errant drivers will astonish you. I doubt it’s any different on any popular urban thoroughfare near lots of places for people to consume alcohol, such as Kirby.

  • Omfg yes!–I’d love a statue of the gorgeous eternally young fashion icon Lynn Sakowitz Wyatt, but please let’s not have this tubular tree artist do it–Id have voted the great Robert Graham but alas, he’s dead.–seriously, Lynn Wyatt has done more to put Houston on the map than NASA, let’s give this lady a bronze statue!–or at least remain Kirby thru River Oaks, Lynn Wyatt Way–hey it’s better than Ima Hogg Boulevard –(tho to be honest she’s just as deserving–great lady, horrid name)

  • Yeah, Mark, it’s ugly

  • Yes, I agree with Mark. Just plain UGLY.

  • I agree with others I find it ugly what happened to real trees?