A Joel Tauber Project

My Lonely Tree. 72″x60″ lightjet print.

I have fallen in love with a tree in the middle of a giant parking lot in front of the Rose Bowl.

Laying With The Tree. 30″x20″ lightjet print.

The tree was starved for water and oxygen due to the asphalt that surrounds it (there was a rather small tree pit).  The stress from the lack of water and oxygen led to an increase of a variety of pests:  anthracnose fungus, lace bugs, powdery mildew… The tree was also in grave danger from the cars that liked to park near it to benefit from its shade.  Cars had hit and damaged the trunk, but the cambium had not yet been pierced and the tree still lived.  But, it did not live an easy life.

I could not tolerate the outrageous insults that the beautiful tree was forced to endure.  So, I decided to adopt the tree and devote myself to improving its life: watering the tree with giant water bags; installing tree guards to protect the tree from cars; and adorning the tree with giant earrings…


The Tree Adorned With Earrings (center of a triptych).  60″x46″ lightjet print.

I spent many months lobbying the City and the Rose Bowl to remove the asphalt beneath the canopy of the tree, so that the tree would get more of the water and oxygen that it desperately needs.  In September 2006, the Rose Bowl removed 400 square feet of asphalt beneath the tree and replaced it with mulch.

September 27, 2006:  They removed 400 square feet of asphalt and replaced it with mulch! 30×20 lightjet print.

On July 30, 2007, the Rose Bowl placed a permanent boulder barrier around the tree.  These boulders protect the tree from cars and provide seating for people to contemplate the beauty of the tree.

July 30, 2007:  The tree is protected by a boulder barrier!!! 30×20 lightjet print.

The tree had no chance to reproduce on its own, and there was no place for its seeds to grow in the sea of asphalt that surrounds it.  This upset me greatly, and I decided to help the tree reproduce.

On February 16, 2007, the first tree baby appeared!  Soon, after that there were 200 tree babies growing under the wonderful care of the Theodore Payne Foundation.

February 16, 2007:  The Tree Babies Have Arrived!!! 30×20 lightjet print

I am thrilled that many amazing people have adopted the tree babies. They are caring for them so that they will have easier and greener lives than their parent.

Many of the tree babies have been planted in public locations as public art sculptures.  Plaques from the tree museum have been placed next to the tree babies in many of the public locations.

Check out the interactive tree museum:

And check out the interactive tree baby maps to see where many of the tree babies are growing:

Pitzer College Tree Baby, Claremont, CA (see the interactive tree baby map for more info)

In front of the USC Roski School of Art, a tree baby was adorned by a necklace consisting of sculptures made by students in response to the plight of urban trees and/or environmental renewal.  Similar installations have taken place at Walden Elementary School, the Audubon Middle School, and the Walteria Elementary School.

USC Tree Baby Installation, Los Angeles, CA (see the interactive tree baby map for more info)

In the Central Arroyo Seco Valley, the City of Pasadena, the Arroyo Seco Foundation, and a group of volunteers planted 17 tree babies – a grove of tree babies extremely close to the parent tree!

Volunteer planting one of the tree babies in the grove near the parent tree

I would like to thank Darryl Dunn and Jess Waiters from the Rose Bowl; Steve Madison, Taka Suzuki, and Sid Tyler from the City of Pasadena; Lauri Firstenberg, Bettina Korek, Kris Lewis, and Sarah Williams from LAXART and For Your Art; the Theodore Payne Foundation; Susanne Vielmetter; Stephan Adamski; Liz Rubin; Sue Yank; Germaine Chang; Alison Goldberg; as well as many other important tree lovers, especially all of the tree baby parents.

The Installation

Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects (installation photo by Gene Ogami)

Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects (installation photo by Gene Ogami)

Adamski Gallery (Berlin)

The installation premiered at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects in 2007 as a video tree sculpture composed of 12 short films and the video equipment that presented the films; an interactive DVD of 15 interviews; two giant earrings for the tree; fruitball earrings and golden leaf necklaces for tree lovers; and photographs.  It has been presented in a variety of other ways at numerous locations, including the Adamski Gallery (Berlin), W139 (Amersterdam), the Torrance Art Museum (Torrance, CA), the Nicolaysen Art Museum (Casper, Wyoming), the Cal State Long Beach Art Museum, the O’Silas Gallery  at Concordia College (Bronxville, NY), the Haubrok Foundation (Berlin), the Asheville Art Museum (Asheville, NC), 18th Street Projects (Santa Monica, CA), and the Cypress College Art Gallery (Cypress, CA).

The Film

A documentary / love story celebrating the forlorn and lonely tree that Joel Tauber adopted in the middle of a giant parking lot

33’22”.  2010.  Surround sound or stereo.  HD Video.  16:9.  1080i/59.94.

Watch the movie now on Amazon (Prime or Instant Video) or Green Planet Stream. Purchase a DVD or arrange for a public screening: Green Planet Films


Movie Website


Sick-Amour was shortlisted for a 2011 International Green Award

“Best Green Film” at the 2010 Downtown Film Festival (Los Angeles, CA)

“Sir Edmond Hilary Award” at the 2011 Mountain Film Festival (Mammoth, CA)

“Best Documentary Film” at the 2019 Ahmednagar International Short Film Festival (India)

Official selection of the 2014 Transition Town Totnes Film Festival (Totnes, England), the 2011 Sedona International Film Festival, the 2011 Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, the 2010 San Francisco Documentary Festival, the 2010 Hartford International Film Festival, the 2010 Blue Planet Film Fest (Los Angeles, CA), the 2011 SURGE Film Festival (Portland, OR), and the 2011 Frozen Film Festival (San Francisco, CA).