Have you made your wish yet? Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington, DC art installation is back on the mall this summer. Making a wish is simple: head to the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden before Labour Day and find a dogwood tree across from Giacometti’s “Monumental Head.” Make a wish. Write it down on a piece of paper (pencil and white paper tags are provided). Fold it and tie it around a branch of the Wish Tree.
I made my wish earlier this summer, though I’m still waiting for it to come true. Like the love locks in Paris, which are frequently removed by the city, museum staff will clear up the tree several times a week throughout the summer so that there is room for additional visitors to add their own wishes. Except instead of throwing them in the trash, which is what I assume happens to the Parisian love locks – sorry lovers! Stop damaging historical bridges! – the wishes from the tree are bundled and sent to Yoko Ono herself. The Japanese artist, who was inspired to create this series by her own childhood, does not read the wishes she receives. Instead, she buries them at the base of the Imagine Peace Tower on Viðey Island in Kollafjörður Bay near Reykjavik in Iceland. To date, over 1 million wishes from around the world have been buried beneath the tower.
DC’s Wish Tree installation is one of many around the world. I put my first wish around a tree in the courtyard of the MoMa museum in New York. The art series begun in Finland, with one tree and since installations have popped up on different kinds of trees and in cities as diverse as Tokyo, Dublin, Venice, St Louis and of course DC and New York. You can read what some of your fellow Washingtonians or visitors to the capital have wished in this recap in The Washington Post.
For more information about Ono, visit: hirshhorn.si.edu/collection/yoko-ono/