If this artwork was in the SFMOMA, it would be lauded as a searing indictment of our consumer culture.
Instead, it's in a shopping mall, so what message are we meant to deduce? Christmas is about buying stuff? Maybe it's refreshingly honest for a retail complex to promote this view.
The artist, Anthony Schmitt, gives a more nuanced explanation on his website:
“The shopping cart tree symbolizes both generosity and abundance, as well as acknowledging those less fortunate where their whole world may be housed in a cart. We see shopping carts everyday and take them for granted. Individually the beauty of an everyday object may become invisible, but in quantity you can’t miss it.”Hmm...okay.
I should note that the piece is not called a "Christmas" tree — it's just a generic holiday tree. So even though it seems to promote capitalism, it may still run afoul of Fox News' "War on Christmas" coverage.