I went to the VERTICAL GARDENS show at a gallery called Exit Art. It is there until May 23, 2009. The show is actually under the main exhibit area.

The FEATURED art was on the main level. You had the video of a guy having a plastic ear surgically inserted into his arm – Mr mutant ear arm. For real. The whole hospital operation and all was on show.

Then you had the S&M video installation showing dominatrix women treating men as farm animals in a… farm. Guys crawling around as cows, pigs etc. Lots of animal sounds, dirty naked bodies and screaming women with guns.

Of course there was the obligatory abstract wall projection of shapes and disconnected sounds with accompanying deconstructionist philosophical text and artist bio. Wow, exhibits in Koln.

THAT was the featured art. On the floor below that, in a narrow hallway that leads to a janitor’s closet and emergency exit was the show of vertical gardens.

And if you’re thinking I see that as symbolic, you are right. The message is that despite the intense and small world of green roofs and living walls, it still remains an underground movement for the rest of society. Body mutilations and Sado Masochism gets more attention than plants growing on walls….

The vertical garden show was interesting. Some nice Utopian drawings of garden high rises. There was a cool installation of a real living wall where the plants grew out of cloth that had nutrient water flowing slowly down it.

Overall s lot of the displays felt like student senior thesis’ for architecture school before they went on to get a real job.

And there were the occasional Christo like installations from around the world by artists who got their name in the 1970’s and who have since carved out a niche amongst rich patrons, museums and Japanese corporations.

The crowd was mostly cool gallery goers who were stopping by on their way to some other cool event involving more body mutilations and fancy canapes. They appreciated the edgy industrial space and felt very cool to be part of it.

But these were not brownstone owners considering a green roof. There were no co-op owners debating the cost of a green wall in their garden. These were hipsters who rent in Williamsburg. They probably don’t even own a fern.

But I think they appreciated the show as art. They stared at a lovely building with a lush garden on its roof that had big letters beside it on the wall saying, “PROPOSED IDEA FOR GREEN ROOF” and they wondered among themselves if the garden was real or not….

Anyway, the whole thing was so off-off-off Broadway as to be a little pathetic for me.