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This Giant Van Gogh Painting Is Made of Pumpkins, Watermelons and Squash

How crop artist Stan Herd made an acre-wide ode to “Olive Trees”

(Minneapolis Institute of Art)
smithsonian.com

If you're flying through Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport this fall, keep an eye out for Vincent van Gogh's "Olive Trees" from your airplane window. It won't be hard to miss — this aerial crop art covers more than an acre of land.

The unique ode to van Gogh is the work of landscape artist Stan Herd, reports Mary Abbe for the Star Tribune. It was commissioned to honor two milestones: the Minneapolis Institute of Art's centennial and the 125th anniversary of van Gogh's death. "It's an iteration of Van Gogh's painting writ large in native plants and materials," Herd tells Abbe. "The opportunity to engage with one of my favorite artists in the world was pretty unique for me."

It took Herd six months of digging and planting to recreate van Gogh's 1889 painting, which currently on display at the MIA. To mimic the artist's iconic brushwork, Herd grew patches of pumpkins, squash, watermelons and cantaloupes, while arranging mulch, rocks and soil to create darker lines, according to Nick Mafi at Architectural Digest.

Herd first started making crop art, which he calls "earthworks," in 1981. His first project was a 160-acre portrait of the Kiowa chief Satanta; in the decades since, he has created dozens of larger-than life pieces around the world.

Though "Olive Trees" will be on display through the fall, Herd plans to mow it down in concentric circles to mimic van Gogh's brushstrokes, Christopher Jobson reports for Colossal. In the meantime, we've collected photos of the van Gogh project below:

(Minneapolis Institute of Art)
(Minneapolis Institute of Art)
(Minneapolis Institute of Art)
(Minneapolis Institute of Art)
(Minneapolis Institute of Art)
(Minneapolis Institute of Art)
(Minneapolis Institute of Art)
(Minneapolis Institute of Art)
(Minneapolis Institute of Art)
About Danny Lewis

Danny Lewis is a multimedia journalist working in print, radio, and illustration. He focuses on stories with a health/science bent and has reported some of his favorite pieces from the prow of a canoe. Danny is based in Brooklyn, NY.

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