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METAPHOR: THE TREE OF UTAH
Located about 26 miles east of West Wendover, Utah
Photographed by Jerry Kendrick of Birmingham, Alabama
Metaphor: The Tree of Utah
Jerry Kendrick

Perched on the edge of the Great Salt Lake Desert near the famous Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway is an 87-foot tall artistic wonder created by Swedish artist Karl Momen. "Metaphor: The Tree of Utah" was built and installed between 1982 and 1986 to bring "bold color and beauty to the stark, flat, salty landscape." Momen paid for the project and then donated to work to the state of Utah. It is constructed of 225 tons of cement, nearly 2,000 ceramic tiles and tons of minerals and rocks native to Utah. Nicknamed the "Tree of Life," it resembles an enormous exotic plant.

The sculpture is located on the westbound side of Interstate 80, (also known as the Dwight D. Eisenhower Highway) about 95 miles west of Salt Lake City. The inscription on the trunk of the tree is from Schiller's "Ode to Joy" from the choral climax of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Near the base of the tree are several spherical elements reminiscent of fallen leaves.

The Utah Department of Transportation would prefer that no one stop, and there are several signs stipulating "Emergency Parking Only." As the photo shows, however, people can't resist and often wander around the sculpture.

Vision in the DesertVision In The Desert: Tree of Utah Sculpture by Momen by Herman C. Du Toit
This book about Karl Momen and the Tree of Utah has 75 color photographs and tells the complete story of how and why the sculpture was created.


Map

Photographed by Jerry Kendrick
June 21, 2004
Posted on RoadTrip America 3/06



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