Palm Tree

The Jack Hanley Gallery

Kal Spelletich’s
From Northern California

Opening: Thursday, August 5, 2010

A technologically mutated organic hybrid to, of and for trees.


PRESS FOR THE NYC 8/2010 shew


In comparison to very tall trees, the San Francisco artist Kal Spelletich suggests, people are losers.

Photos and video from Scott Beale:

Tree at Jack Hanley closing Night.mov



Jack Hanley Gallery’s recent closure earns it the silver medal in the Best Gallery That Closed Its Doors category; the space is inseparable from San Francisco’s cultural history of the past two decades, and its departure is a definite loss to the local art community. This closure, as well as the previous shuttering of his location in the Chinatown district of Los Angeles, now seats Hanley firmly in New York. Interestingly, his New York gallery’s current exhibition, “Cosmicism and Forestry from Northern California,” by former Survival Research Libratory artist Kal Spelletich, has a distinctly Bay Area sensibility and an aggressive vitality that seemed to be lacking from Hanley’s Valencia Street storefront for the past few years.



machines. robots. photographs.
1. A bio-engineered permutation.
(a.) a deliberate attempt to cross two parents with desirable characteristics and incorporate said characters in next
(b.) a synthesis of nature and technology
(c.) to produce an anomaly.
2. Deviant transmogrification.
(a.) post nature.
(b.) new species struggling for life.
(c.) an unholy marriage.
3. The Paradox of Technology.
(a.) It could save us. Can it save us?
(b.) It is killing us.


Our culture has an excruciatingly dangerous claim to have such complete understanding and command over nature that we can radically manipulate and re-engineer it with minimal risk to the natural systems that sustain us. How little control even the most ingenious among us have over the awesome, intricately interconnected natural forces with which we so casually meddle.

I want to save the world, or at least slow down its demise. I want to get back to what really matters. So, I thought, why not start in my own back yard?

It all reads like a Greek tragedy about human hubris; a political class eager to believe that nature has indeed been mastered. Sir Francis Bacon best encapsulated the ethos when he wrote in the 1623 De dignitate et augmentis scientiarum that nature is to be “put in constraint, molded, and made as it were new by art and the hand of man.” However, in his solo exhibit, Comicism and Contemporary Forestry from Northern California, Kal Spelletich’s hand defies Bacon’s ethos to suggest that in the struggle between large scale forces and the grand scheme of intergalactic existence, humans are no more significant than the insects crawling on trees.

Spelletich’s exhibit includes an actual 20 foot Monterey Pine tree robot covered with traditional healing herbs, photographs of 360′ tall, 2000 year old Redwoods and Sequoias, Monterey Pines Pinus radiata (family Pinaceae) and Royal Palm trees (roystonea) and a functioning machine/tree BB-Q .

Opening and closing nights will include BB-Q from the machine/tree BB-Q and the DJ stylings of only S.F., CA music by multiple CA x-pats located in NYC.

Closing event: Saturday, 6-9 PM, August 28, 2010



Video of the 22′ long,
Tree Machine:

Monterey Pine

so great the support I have gotten!

Here’s The Tree B-Q I am taking:

The photos are looking fantastic, about 15, 8-10″ tall collaged photos of Palms, Sequoia’s, Redwoods and Monterey pines.

Technology can set in motion forces that humans were incapable of stopping.


by Elisabeth Kley

In comparison to very tall trees, the San Francisco artist Kal Spelletich suggests, people are losers. “Cosmicism and Contemporary Forestry from Northern California,” Spelletich’s summer exhibition at Jack Hanley Gallery, includes several sepia photo collages of giant Sequoias, Redwoods, Monterey Pines and palm trees. Snapshots of sections of their sometimes 100-foot-high trunks are lined up vertically, as if they cannot be contained in one photograph. Antique coloring also refers to their great age, and as they narrow away to the sky, they seem to be fading away into the past.

Providing a contrast to these fragile photographic illusions are three charmingly absurd yet somewhat sadistic Rube Goldberg-esque mechanized contraptions made of sections of salvaged wood, ornamented with lichens and pinecones, and connected by metal joints and rivets. (Spelletich is a member of a collective devoted to robots and extreme machines, and has worked with the legendary Survival Research Laboratories.) The largest sculpture in the show, Robotic Tree, Point Lobos: Monterey Pine (2010) stretches across the center of the gallery, held up by some small metal beams. Turned on, it wiggles almost helplessly a bit from side to side, as if it were trying to swim.
Resting on a pedestal, a smaller battery-powered machine — a coffee-table version of the big one on the floor — can be sent into awkward undulations by pressing a silver button. And attached to the wall, the series of branches in BB-Q (2010) culminate in a small gas burner. With a red power switch, a small engine and some black tubing (that presumably attaches to a gas source), it is set up to cook frankfurters impaled on the spits of a multi-spiked circle that is rotated by tiny gears. Passing through the flame one by one, the hot dogs are like tiny damned bodies suffering in a miniature hell.
Reducing relics of majestic trees to abjectly useless machines, Spelletich creates a rather poignant allegory for pitiful human attempts to live in harmony with nature. Chopped into fragments, pierced with metal and forced to move in unnatural ways, these sorry remnants of once stately arbors bring petrified worms to mind. Outlining a benevolent scenario for his exhibition, Spelletich expresses a desire to “feed the masses” with his little barbecue machine, but I don’t believe a word of it. He wants to tantalize the viewer with fragmented sepia memories of trees we’ll never see, all the while torturing their corpses. A four-part photo collage is $500, while the largest machine can be yours for $5,000.
Kal Spelletich, “Cosmicism and Contemporary Forestry from Northern California,” Aug. 5-31, 2010, at Jack Hanley Gallery, 136 Watts Street, New York, N.Y. 10013


Mehr Gutmenschen in New York
Dem Künstler Kal Spelletich sind die Hybriden aus Pflanze und Maschine für seine Ausstellung in New York nicht ganz geglückt. Doch spricht er darüber, können ihm die Worte nicht groß genug sein. Der Besucher fühlt sich indes in der Galerie wie auf einem Jahrmarkt.
The artist Kal Spelletich are hybrids of plant and machinery for his exhibition in New York not quite succeeded. But he talks about him, the words are not big enough. The visitor feels while in the gallery as on a fair.

The California artist Kal Spelletich says he loves the planet, people, technologies and nature. And he also loves a not inconsiderable extent theinternets: He runs three websites and a blog can be found on Facebook, Flickr and YouTube. And in all these channels, he now calls for his exhibition at the Jack Hanley Gallery less a New Yorker to do than to save the world with technology.
Now is dedicated to the 1960 born in Iowa Spelletich the ailing ecosystem, which he wants to retain a kind of cosmic-inspired, modern forestry in front of the people. For the people are no more important than the trees. For his project “Contemporary Cosmicism and Forestry” to make the Roboterenthusiast the world as it pleases him. For man is no more important in the bigger schemes of things than the ants. For this he has sawed a six meter high tree, it garnished with pine cones and lichen and connected to a remote-controlled machine: Sun wobbles now a once proud, Northern California Monterey Pine, screwed on metal supports, helpless with its remaining branches and acts as a fairground attraction from days gone by.
Kal Spelletich himself speaks of a “Frankenstein” because he had created – of an “unholy alliance” that would make mankind to think, for “the trees do not need us, but we need them,” he says. The most successful exhibit of the show is this, 15 large formats photographs from hacked digital camera and, fortunately, the best interests of the visitor, who stand with so much technologically enhanced concern for the world a little snack: can a machine for Barbecue “feeding the masses,” as they call Spelletich.

The ominous-looking device looks as if it belonged to the household of “Mad Max”. Hot dogs are skewered and over a flame in a circle it around. The poor sausage. Now, many artists have tried to move with the help of machines, the boundaries between nature and culture – one thinks about at Panamarenko utopian flight vehicle or the fantastic body prosthesis of the Australian Stelarc. What is thought of as a critical commentary on the human Spelletich disregard for nature, however, acts as an insight into the garage of a crazed hobbyist. His self-made robots are in the era of ubiquitous simulacra more cosmic and fantasticals! Gallerist Jack Hanley, who has moved his operation from San Francisco three years ago, the trendy and expensive Tribeca, like it: He has committed to the artists for its summer exhibitions in the next three years. Finally, “That’s entertainment is wholly art that anyone can relate to ands these californians are truly up to something far beyonds these europes.”

Even if it is not sold. The hobbyist Spelletich fully accepts that, were the only ones who ever really had shown commercial interest in its machinery, the military and a few Hollywood studios. Nevertheless, he is the visionary: “I want to show the path the unblinding reliance these natures we have in them, or at least slow their decline. And I thought I should therefore start before my own doorstep. “Is the Manhattan gallery scene, the new meeting place for the do-gooders? Of Course! More of a hot spot this summer. Crown of the New Yorks!



video from Scott Beale:



Notebook 9 copy



Thanks 3,132 times over to everyone who helped with my fund raising with the show!




  1. […] Mehr Gutmenschen in New York Dem Künstler Kal Spelletich sind die Hybriden aus Pflanze und Maschine… […]

  2. […] are some photos and video that I shot at the closing party for Kal Spelletich’s art show at Jack Hanley Gallery in New York […]

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