Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Garden State Golem

by Drew Martin

New Jersey is nicknamed The Garden State, which seems ironic to New Yorkers who never get passed the gaseous Meadowlands and to other Out-of-Staters who have only driven the bleak Turnpike. Most of New Jersey, however, is dense with vegetation and nestled in wooded oases. Its tree-lined streets and manicured lawns offer some of the nicest towns in America. I moved to New Jersey after living in Prague several years and I brought with me the stories of Golem from the old Jewish ghetto. I conceived of a similar character, transplanted to the town of Ridgewood, where I now live. The result...a Grass Golem: a living hedge, a wandering bush that would roam the lush properties like a mossy Yeti. I sewed a baggy suit from AstroTurf and had a limber Bikram Yoga student bring the outfit and project alive. Although the idea was simply to create a photo series of this Golem in various poses on different yards, the piece turned into something very different and much more communal when friends and neighbors started interacting with the Golem: even pruning and watering it.