In 2004, three Silver Lake-based artists, David Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young, mapped out the public fruit trees in Los Angeles as a response to the volume of fruit wasting in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles and an attempt to unify the community through local crops. Their organization, Fallen Fruit, is a public fruit project that pops up in the form of gallery installations and community workshops across the city. “We want to create a dialogue about food issues, a dialogue about Los Angeles,” says Viegener.

Fallen Fruit's most recent project, United Fruit, opened at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) in Hollywood on Tuesday night. The show is an exploration of the physical symbol of the banana–the most popular fruit in the world, as well as an investigation of its origins.

Bananas; Credit: Fallen Fruit

Bananas; Credit: Fallen Fruit

At the opening on Hollywood Blvd., a table in the center of the gallery was piled high with fresh bananas, labeled with invitations as provacative as the “Drink me” bottle from Alice and Wonderland. Gallery goers stripped peels off ripe fruit reading: “Are you happy to see me?” “Eat me,” and “Share me with a friend.”

On the walls: large portraits of banana farmers (banañeros) and banana trees, and a video of workers washing and packing bananas in brown boxes to ship. Their next show, Fresh 'n Easy opens on Saturday at Another Year in L.A. gallery and features some of their old work in fruit, as well as new works involving cooking utensils and other domestic objects. On August 2nd, Fallen Fruit hosts their annual Public Fruit Jam at Machine Project in Echo Park, where all are invited to bring fruit they've picked, grown, or even bought, and make jam with strangers. “We try to get people who don't know each other to sit together and make jam, and play,” says Matias.

Find tips on making your own fruit map, here.

Fresh 'n Easy at Another Year in L.A.

Opening: Saturday June 20, 7-10 p.m.

2121 N. San Fernando Road, #13, Los Angeles, 90065


United Fruit at LACE Gallery

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