Happy Holidays: Inspired by a Shopping Cart Tree

Shopping Cart Tree by Artist Anthony Schmitt, Santa Monica, CA, 2010

Chanukah came right after Thanksgiving this year, and I felt compelled to visit my grown kids in Venice, CA, to celebrate both holidays—especially magnetized by my grandbaby of fifteen months, already a jokester in her own right.

On one of my walks near the beach, I became captivated by the Shopping Cart Tree at Edgemar, itself a site with a storied past. Named for its proximity to the ocean (mar in Spanish), it was once the home of an ice plant, then an egg hatchery. The current arts center, built by Frank Gehry using the original structure, housed the Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMOA) at its inception.

My first fascination with the tree was the message it seemed to impart about how commerce defines Christmas. Yet the tree appeared so pretty and delicate taken as a whole. It was a brilliant dichotomy, indeed—expressed in an almost three-story-high tree made of 86 full-sized, coated steel shopping carts. (Ever try to wrangle one that’s got a recalcitrant wheel? Acgh! Urgh! They’re unwieldy, heavy, and bulky.) Continue reading