Fallen Fruit

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Fallen Fruit
07 FallenFruit SilverLakeMap.jpg
Fallen Fruit, Elysian Park, 2005
Born Los Angeles, California, USA
Nationality United States
Known for Contemporary Art
Notable work Public Fruit Jams (2005–present), Neighborhood Infusions (2008–present), Fallen Fruit Factory (2013-present), Lemonade Stand (2013-present), Endless Orchard (2013-present), Urban Fruit Trail (2014-Present)
Movement Social Practice
Awards 2013 Creative Capital Grantee, Emerging Fields; 2013 Emerging Fields, Muriel Pollia Foundation Awardee, 2013 Atlas Award
Website fallenfruit.org

Fallen Fruit is a Los Angeles based artists' collaboration composed of David Burns and Austin Young. The project was originally conceived in 2004 by David Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young. Since 2013, David and Austin have continued the collaborative work.

Using photography and video as well as performance and installation art, Fallen Fruit's work focuses on urban space, neighborhood, located citizenship and community and their relationship to fruit.[1]


Taking their name from the book of Leviticus (Lv 19:9-10), Fallen Fruit began in 2004 as a response to a call by The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest[2] for artists' projects that addressed social or political issues but did so in the form of proposing a solution rather than raising a critique. Burns, Viegener and Young created a map of what they call "Public Fruit" - fruit growing in or over public property such as streets and sidewalks, in the neighborhood of Silver Lake in Los Angeles. In addition to creating an ongoing set of public fruit maps, the group has become known for their colorful photographs, which originally featured the three collaborators exploring the city's neighborhoods, engaging in public fruit tree planting, or even protesting fruit issues in front of Los Angeles City Hall. These are part of an ongoing series of narrative photographs and video works that explore the social and political implications of people's relationship to fruit and the world around them.

In recent years the group's goal of imagining a city which behaved more responsibly with its residents both human and horticultural has expanded to take on more global and historical concerns. In 2008, as part of their participation in "The Gatherers" show at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the group embarked on a new long-term project called "The Colonial History of Fruit". Using a variety of media, this work examines both the objective or factual history of fruit – how the fruit we eat traveled through time and space to arrive in our daily life – and the subjective or anecdotal history: how and when an individual first tasted a fruit, or how a certain tree was tended by one family, or remembered by immigrants.[3]

All of Fallen Fruit's work moves from, through or into fruit in some manner. They have said that fruit "as a media" is interesting to them because it is transhistorical and crosses all classes, ages and ethnic groups. It is seen as a symbol of goodness, bounty and generosity, and it is the food that appears most often in art. This is in part because of its symbolic values, but also its aesthetic qualities of form, color and depth. In addition, fruit is the most commonly exchanged gift of food, and thus can serve as an allegory for many social relationships formed or characterized by exchange. Fruit both represents both something ordinary or everyday and something special.

Public art[edit]

Fallen Fruit's work can be seen in relation to a growing movement in public art that focuses less on creating monuments than finding new forms of public interventions that create new publics. This movement is especially strong in Los Angeles, with artists and collectives such as the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Machine Project, Los Angeles Urban Rangers, Farmlab, Fritz Haeg, and Islands of LA. Other related artists and collectives include: REBAR, FutureFarmers, Amityworks and Temporary Services.

In addition to redefining the scope of public art, much of this work is also focused on ecology, the environment, land use issues and the urban fabric. It has been discussed in relation to Social Practice, Relational Aesthetics and Joseph Beuys' concept of Social Sculpture.


Public Fruit Jam at Machine Project

Fallen Fruit strives to extend their collaboration into the public realm through projects that involve and engage with the public.

Public Fruit Jams are perhaps the best example of the artists' investment in new forms of collaboration. Held several times a year, Public Fruit Jams are an open invitation to the "citizens" of the city to bring their home-grown or publicly picked fruit and join together in a communal jam-making session, using the term "jam" as a riff on both the food and the idea of musical improvisation. Working without recipes (but with basic guidelines for jam-making) small groups are asked to negotiate on which fruits go into the mix of the jam. The finished jars are then exchanged among participants and visitors so that almost everyone leaves with jam. For Fallen Fruit, the "art" involved here is less the jam itself than the social encounters and exchanges that the jam occasions. Fallen Fruit has held Public Fruit Jams in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Francisco and San Diego, as well as in Linz, Austria, as part of the Arts Electronica Festival.

Originally initiated in relation to a project with the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in 2013, Lemonade Stand, activates the phrase… “when life gives you lemons…” through public engagement. In exchange for drawing a self-portrait onto a lemon, each participant receives a glass of organic lemonade. Collectively the lemon self-portraits are meant to create new forms of "public" and temporary micro-communities that illustrate some of the archetypes of society through their varied forms.

In 2013 Fallen Fruit created the Fruitique!, a collaborative, site-specific art installation, exhibition and retail space in conjunction with the Hammer Museum's Arts Re:STORE LA 2050 project.[4][5][6] The project combines curated and consigned art works that use fruit as the main thematic element into an installation that uses Fallen Fruit wallpaper patterns as a common ground. The space also currently serves as Fallen Fruit's headquarters.

Fallen Fruit Factory is a public participatory art project that allows the public to collaborate with Fallen Fruit, contemporary artists, and each other to create fast-art pieces through varying combinations of paint and fruit-based collage. The project creates an immersive art experience where the public can participate in making Exquisite corpse like group-authored works of art.

Fallen Fruit's other public projects also include Nocturnal Fruit Forages, nighttime neighborhood fruit tours; Public Fruit Tree Adoptions that enjoin the public to plant trees on the margins of private property; and Neighborhood Infusions, which takes the fruit found on one street or neighborhood and infuses it in alcohol to capture the "spirit" of the place.

Public fruit[edit]

Fallen Fruit first coined the term "public fruit" in 2004 in order to explore the concept of fruit found growing in or overhanging public space, especially after noticing how people were reluctant to pick or eat fruit found this way. They were struck not only by how few people eat this fruit, but by how few people walk on neighborhood streets at all; Los Angeles is a city of cars. Much of their work around public fruit is around the issue of public and private property, and the question of what public space might be used for, i.e. the question of the commons. This expands into an investigation of public art by creating forms of art that might exist with and in the public that are not in the traditional forms of public art, such as a sculpture in a park. Among their work has been several public fruit proposals which aim to create large public spaces which serve much like traditional parks with the added bonus of growing only fruit trees which are tended and shared by the public, and also harvested to be shared by all. These may be seen as environmental sculpture or site-specific art. They have said that "we believe that fruit planted on the border of private and public property is an opportunity for new kinds of social interactions as well as a site for asking new questions about property, community, the city and the environment."

Fallen Fruit expanded upon this in 2013 with the opening of Del Aire Fruit Park, California's first public fruit park.[7][8][9][10][11]

This was further expanded in 2014, with the start of Urban Fruit Trail, the pilot project for Endless Orchard, Fallen Fruit’s global-scale public art project, which will transform often under-served areas with a network of public walking trails lined by fruit trees. In total, 150 trees will be planted in the MacArthur Park/Westlake region of Los Angeles, in collaboration with Heart of Los Angeles (HoLA), an urban youth outreach group. Once mature, the trees will bear gratis, year round produce including plums, peaches, pomegranates, persimmons, lemons, limes, oranges and kumquats.[12] 30 of the initial trees planted in Lafayette Park were destroyed by vandalism in July of 2014, but they were quickly re-planted thanks to generous donations by the local community. [13][14][15][16]


Fallen Fruit has had solo exhibitions at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (2009),[17] Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2010),[18] the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (formerly Salt Lake Art Center) (2011), as well as in group shows around the United States, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Mexico, Norway, Austria, Australia, the Netherlands, Canada, and Colombia. The group collaborated with Islands of LA in the San Fernando Road Concert in 2008.[19]



  1. ^ "Fallen Fruit Biography". Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  2. ^ "Fallen Fruit: A Mapping of Food Resources in Los Angeles". The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Zack, Jessica (5 November 2008). "Exploring the history of fruit". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Dambrot, Dambrot. "Arts ReSTORE L.A. and an Art-Based Economy". www.kcet.org. KCET. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  5. ^ Bender, Andrew. "Did Art Pop-ups Just Save This L.A. Neighborhood?". www.forbes.com. Forbes. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Wagley, Catherine. "Hammer Museum Turns Westwood Into Silver Lake (But Only For a Month)". www.laweekly.com. LA weekly. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Brown, Patricia Leigh (11 May 2013). "Tasty, and Subversive, Too". NY Times. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  8. ^ Jennings, Angel (6 January 2013). "Park's makeover includes fruit trees for all to enjoy". LA Times. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  9. ^ Driggs, Janet Owen. "Fallen Fruit and the 'Thin End of the Wedge'". KCET. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  10. ^ Chiao, Christine. "Fallen Fruit of Del Aire: L.A.'s First Public Fruit Orchard". LA Weekly. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  11. ^ Grossberg, Josh (4 January 2013). "Public fruit garden opens at Del Aire Park". Daily Breeze. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  12. ^ Bermudez, Esmeralda. "L.A. youths planting plum trees and more in Urban Fruit Trail project". www.latimes.com. LA Times. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  13. ^ Bermudez, Esmeralda. "Newly planted fruit trees in MacArthur Park uprooted". www.latimes.com. LA Times. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  14. ^ Suter, Lesley Bargar. "Langer’s Deli Helps Save the Urban Fruit Trail". www.lamag.com. Los Angeles Magazine. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  15. ^ Cota-Robles, Marc. "Kids replant Wilshire fruit trees uprooted by vandals". abc7.com. abc news. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  16. ^ "Digging In At MacArthur Park: Kids Replant After Vandals Uproot Dozens Of Fruit Trees". losangeles.cbslocal.com. CBS LA. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  17. ^ "Fallen fruit: United Fruit". LACE. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  18. ^ "Fallen Fruit Presents EATLACMA". LACMA. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  19. ^ "San Fernando Road Concert Program". Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  • Biederman, Legier; "Fruit Metaphors, Objects, and Histories: The Work of Fallen Fruit" in Gulf Coast Journal of Literature and Fine Art (vol. 26, issue 2; Summer/Fall 2014)

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