Beuys’ Acorns

2007 - 2021 Timeline

Beuys Acorns
Tate Modern
04 May – 14 November 2021
South Terrace
Curated by Michael Raymond

100 trees mark 100 years since the birth of Joseph Beuys (1921-86), the hugely influential artist and environmental activist.  Joseph Beuys’ major work from Tate’s collection, The End of the Twentieth Century 1983-5, has been installed in the Tanks directly underneath the terrace on which the young trees are located.

The Story Garden
Kings Cross Tuesday – Saturday from 10am to 4pm
Founded by Global Generation

The Long Revolution
08 June – 13 July 2019
Curated by Andy Holden

Beuys’ Acorns
Bloomberg Arcade
17 July – 07 September 2019
Curated by Helen Chiles
Designed in collaboration with Exploration Architecture

Espace 365
Zone Sensible
Saint Denis, Paris
09 July 2018

Permanent planting of one tree

The Lark Descending
Surrey Unearthed
10 – 27 May 2018
St Martins Walk, Dorking
Curated by Alison Clarke

Dendromorphies Créer Avec L’Arbre
Topographie de L’Art
26 November 2016 – 11 January 2017
Curated by Paul Ardenne

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2016
Royal Academy of Arts
Prints available in the edition direct from the artist: Enquire
More info

Trees on tour
October – December 2015
Produced by N.A! Projects

One hundred and twelve trees grown from acorns collected from Joseph Beuys’ 7000 Oaks made a road tour across six French cites in advance of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, December 2016. Partners in each city hosted the trees and conducted live public discussions with the artists and invited guests through an extraordinary network of citywide partners:

Bordeaux / Partner: Ville de Bordeaux5 – 16 October
Le Jardin Botanique, le Musée des Beaux-arts, le CAPC Musée d’Art contemporain, CAPC Sciences, le Muséum d’Histoire naturelle, les Bibliotèques, Le Musée D’Aquitaine, le Musée Direction de la lecture publique, Le Goethe-Institut

Nantes / Partner: La Cité le Centre des Congrès de Nantes19 – 24 October
“Green Week” K-Nopee, Nantes Métropole, Terra 21, le Lieu Unique.

Mulhouse / Partner: La Filature Scène Nationale 2 – 7 November
La Kunsthalle, HEAR Haute école des arts du Rhin, le Parc zoologique et botanique de Mulhouse

Lyon / Partner: Le Goethe Institut 9 – 13 November
Exhibition at Subsistances (Laboratoire International de Création Artistique)

Nice / Partner: La Station 16 – 26 November
Collaboration with Villa Arson

Versailles / Partner: Ville de Versailles 30 November – 6 December
L’Ecole Nationale Supérieure du Paysage, Potager du Roi, Le Centre INRA de Versailles, la Maréchalerie

7000 oaks / 7000 chênes
La Maréchalerie, Versailles
27 June – 12 July 2014
Curated by Lucy + Jorge Orta
More info
Interview (3.10)

Changing Landscapes
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
9 March – 28 July 2013
Curated by Veronica Sekules

Public outreach | Considering Landscapes
22 March 2013
6 June 2013
Two study day discussions on climate and ecological global and local concerns

Festival of the World
Southbank Centre, London
1 June – 9 September 2012
Public Address – 25 June 2012
Ackroyd & Harvey gave a public address as part of the Festival of the World Summit: Art Will Change The World.
In-conversation – 8 July 2012
A series of ‘in-conversations’ between the artists and invited guests.

Earth: Art of a changing world
The Royal Academy of Arts, London
3 December 2009 – 31 January 2010

A series of ‘in-conversations’ between the artists and invited guests: Michael Pawlyn, Polly Higgins, Jay Griffiths, Jim Smith and Professor Roland Ennos


The Fierce Urgency of Now
The St James Palace Nobel Laureate Symposium
26 – 28 May 2009
Hosted by the Science Museum, with guest speakers Ackroyd & Harvey, Fritof Capra, Antony Gormley, Jude Kelly, Wangari Maathai and Wole Soliyinka

2.0 Environment 2009
Centre for Urban Built Environment, Manchester
Curated by Futuresonic

Beuys’ Acorns has been made possible by the support of:
Bloomberg Philanthropies  Caledonian Trees  Willerby Landscapes  Kristina Borjesson  Barcham Trees  Ockley Court Nurseries  UCL Environment Institute

In 2007, we gathered and germinated hundreds of acorns from renowned artist Joseph Beuys’s seminal artwork 7000 Oaks in Germany, and in doing so began a new open-ended research project

In 1982, Joseph Beuys, a leading artist of the 20th century, declared that all cities and towns should become ‘forest-like’, and that art must be a social force for change connected to lives of individuals and communities. He cites French author Jean Giono’s classic fable The Man Who Planted Trees as the source of inspiration for his world-renowned artwork 7000 Oaks. Beuys planted the first tree in 1982 to inaugurate the opening of documenta 7; his son planted the last tree in 1987 a year after Beuys died. In the late autumn of 2007, we took a train to Kassel, Germany with the sole aim of collecting hundreds of acorns from Joseph Beuys’ seminal artwork – seven thousand trees planted throughout the city, each individual tree signed with a volcanic stone marker.

To date have around 200 surviving oak saplings. Under the title Beuys’ Acorns the young trees have acted as both artwork and catalyst for a public research process carried out in galleries and exhibitions across the UK. Beuys’ Acorns has been exhibited at the Centre for Urban Built Environment (CUBE), Manchester; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Southbank Centre, London; Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich; La Maréchalerie, Versailles, France 2014 and in 2015 completed a six city tour throughout France to coincide in November with the United Nations Conference of All Parties on Climate Change (COP21).

From 2009 – 2021, each exhibition of Beuys’ Acorns has included a series of public ‘conversations’ with invited guests from the fields of science, literature, law, art, architecture, politics and economics. Over 50 speakers have been party to our open-ended research process where underpinning the discussions is an analysis of the cultural, biological and environmental significance of trees in a rapidly urbanizing world. Key presentations have included Tate Late at Tate Modern; Sculpting Our History, Nobel Laureate Symposium on Climate Change 2009; Beuys Is Here, De la Warr Pavilion; 100DAYS Art and Activism, Arnolfini, Bristol; Radical Natures, Barbican; Poison and Antidote, Whitechapel Gallery; Tipping Point, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford; World Forum 2011, Smith School, Oxford; Planet Under Pressure, Royal Society, Excel Centre, London.

Watch film from EARTH at the Royal Academy
Watch film from Euromaxx
Read interview on This Is Tomorrow

Link to research articles