On November 30, Cai will be among five honorees–including Jeff Koons, Kiki Smith, Shahzia Sikander , Carrie Mae Weems– receiving the first ever U.S. Department of State – Medal of Arts. The celebration coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Smithsonian Institution’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, hence the U.S. Department of State and the Sackler have jointly commissioned Cai Guo-Qiang to create Black Christmas Tree: Explosion Event for Washington, D.C.
The daytime outdoor explosion event will take place 3:00 p.m. on Friday, November 30th south of the National Mall in front of the Freer Gallery of Art on Jefferson Drive.
A 40 feet tall pine tree will be suspended with 2,000 purpose-built black smoke air burst fireworks. Upon ignition, black smoke puffs will ‘light up’ simultaneously from all points in the tree, as though they are twinkling Christmas lights at a tree-lighting ceremony, followed by a cascade of black ink-like smoke that mimics the flowing beauty of traditional Chinese brush drawings. The black tree-shaped cloud of smoke drifting through the air will create a spectral scene of two trees, one real and one ethereal.
More details can be found here.