This carry-all tote produced exclusively for The Jewish Museum features NO TREE NO BRANCH, by Lawrence Weiner.
Combining wall texts with abstracted icons, NO TREE NO BRANCH began with the Yiddish saying, “Ale yevonim habn eyn ponim”— "all Greeks (i.e., non-Jews) have the same face." This phrase, inherently isolationist and mistrustful of the Other, gained currency during the anti-Semitic upheavals in the 19th- and early 20th-century Europe. By tweaking the text to read “All the Stars in the Sky Have the Same Face” and translating it simultaneously into English, Hebrew and Arabic, Weiner transforms its meaning into a humanist statement. The branch form that punctuates the texts can be read as a plain, unambiguous shape (Weiner uses the word “fact”). Yet, it also bears deep symbolic meanings—the olive branch of peace and the Tree of Life. The artist considers this work his “contribution to the dialogue.”
Weiner was one of the original conceptual artists who emerged in America during the 1960s. His art is based on the premise that the idea of a work is more important than its physical reality. Weiner's texts, usually painted or applied directly on the wall, offer alternatives to depiction; they represent physical situations or philosophical concepts. Over the past 30 years, he has sometimes turned to ethical concerns as well.
NO TREE NO BRANCH, copyright 2012 Lawrence Weiner/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York