16 Days of Jackson Day Three – Summer Night Tree: Beauty at Night, Dark Knight by Day

Community Engagement

On this third day of 16 Days of Jackson, the focus turns to a multi-million-dollar piece of art prominently displayed in downtown Jackson:  Louise Nevelson’s Summer Night Tree dedicated in the spring of 1978.  On the night of December 4, 2013 a cool evening air called me to take a walk in downtown Jackson after my first visit to Nostalgia Ink.  https://www.facebook.com/NOS.Ink

I felt a cleansing and healing taking place inside of me as I took deep breaths of the beautiful night air.  Early in my walk, I stumbled upon Summer Night Tree.  At first glance, my breath was taken away.  Where was the black exploding chicken I was used to seeing in daylight?  In front of me was a majestic, multi-faceted gigantic wonder with iridescent silver tones caused by its spotlights.  I slowly circled the Summer Night Tree, soaking in each angle and coming to full realization for the first time why Louise named it the “night” tree.  It springs to life at night.  I was blown away.

The hook

The hook

The Steps

The Steps



Thunderbird close-up

Thunderbird close-up

2013-12-04 23.26.59

Looking at these images today, I realize they don’t do the masterpiece justice.  I remember taking each image clearly, as I savored the refreshing air and wondered at the scope and beauty of the sculpture.  My Toastmaster friend Grant Bauman researched and published this excellent piece on Summer Night Tree:



Fellow Exchange Club member, the Honorable Richard LaFlamme reminded me of a favorite Seinfeld episode when I shared my evening Summer Night Tree experience with him.  The legendary “Festivus” episode included the “two faced” Gwen, Jerry’s girlfriend who looked great in full lighting but scary in poor lighting, somewhat like my day/night experiences with Summer Night Tree. The episode entitled “The Strike” was the tenth episode of the final season of Seinfeld.  The two-faced girlfriend segments are here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFeUrC2gR30

The Festivus segments are here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8g4Ztf7hIM

Two memorable Seinfeld story lines, all in one big episode.

Special thanks to Grant for his collaboration on this Day Three post and for Judge LaFlamme’s inspiration.

Summer Night Tree during the day

Day time

Day time

artnet Galleries: Maquette for Summer-Night Tree by Louise Nevelson from Hollis Taggart Galleries

Louise Nevelson, Maquette for Summer-Night Tree



6 thoughts on “16 Days of Jackson Day Three – Summer Night Tree: Beauty at Night, Dark Knight by Day

  1. You were right, Rod. Day 3 of the 16 Days of Jackson was truly majestic. I enjoyed the interplay of “high” and “low” art and your reaction to the Summer Night Tree after dark. You also reinforced my contention that there is a Seinfeld episode for every social situation. Once again, I wish I could take a vacation in your brain. Thanks for bringing such enthusiasm to Jackson.

  2. Hi Rod
    I enjoyed reading about your exploration in value. I have to wonder now how Summer Night Tree would look differently at night, in the summer? I bet we’d all enjoy taking a night experience of Summer Night Tree six months from now, to truly understand the name of the piece.

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