Black Smoke Christmas Tree to Explode in Washington, DC Today November 30, 2012

Written by Harry Gilliam

Topics: Uncategorized

There will be a “lighting” of a black smoke Christmas tree at 2:30 today, Eastern Time in Washington, DC. You can watch it streaming live over the internet. Read on to find out how to watch it.

Warning, this is an experiment. Even the artist does not know if it will work. But Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang is famous for creating amazing works of art using fireworks, black powder, and pyrotechnics.

How about his black rainbow in the air?

black smoke rainbow

Or this one?

…or this one from the Beijing Olympics?

Today’s event is the second pyrotechnic event staged by the artist in Washington, DC. Watch this 2005 video of Mr. Cao’s “Tornado” made from fireworks salutes. Be patient, it’s at the very end of the display.

Here’s his rendering for today’s daylight attempt at creating a Christmas tree in the air from black smoke.

Artist’s Rendering of Black Smoke Christmas Tree

I can’t get down into DC myself to watch it live this afternoon, but happily it’s being streamed live on the internet. Cross your fingers that the wind is right and join me at 2:45 today.

Cai Guo-Qiang’s “Black Christmas Tree 2″ made from black smoke and other fireworks, streaming live at 2:45pm today at < <====== Click here for streaming video.

Here’s the official announcement from the Smithsonian Museum’s Freer and Sackler (oriental) galleries:

In celebration of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery’s 25th anniversary, Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang stages one of his remarkable “explosion events,” a thrilling combination of pyrotechnics, artistry, and optical illusion in four dimensions.

A live 40-foot-tall pine tree will erupt in an effervescent shimmer of fireworks as if in a tree-lighting ceremony, followed by a cascade of black ink-like smoke that mimics the flowing beauty of traditional Chinese brush drawings. The tree-shaped cloud of smoke drifting through the air will create a spectral scene of two trees, one real and one ethereal.

The event will be streamed live at

The event is planned in honor of the Sackler’s 25th and Art in Embassies’ 50th anniversaries, and is a highlight of both organizations’ anniversary week programming.

The site-specific staging is part of Cai’s larger series of “explosion events,” which have been featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC; Central Park in New York City curated by Creative Time; and numerous international institutions.

Image: Sketch for “Explosion Event,” Cai Guo-Qiang (b. 1957, Quanzhou, China; lives in New York); 2012; pencil and marker on printed paper; Collection of the artist; Ref #2012.2317

Did you watch it? Have you ever seen any of Cao Guo-Qiang’s other pyrotechnic events live? What did you think? Give us your comments below.

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