As a volunteer guide at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum for more than a decade, I should be accustomed to changes indoors with each new exhibit and outdoors with each new artwork. Yet some changes still startle me.
For instance, in late September at the top of the steps near the museum entrance a huge crane deposited a wood cabin newly constructed by John C. Gonzalez and his fellow Home Depot workers. It’s called Home Depot House. In April the cabin will be gone again, after housing a succession of six artists in residence, for one month each. Click for deCordova’s images and information about artist/curator John C. Gonzalez and the other five artists: Jessica Gath, Nicole Delanos,Wilson Lawrence,John Osorio-Buck ,Thomas Willis.
Unfortunately, I’ve missed two of the four artists in residence so far, including Jessica Gath, who incidentally baked and shared fruit pies. Certainly I’ll do my best to see the remaining two and encourage anyone who can to do the same. This series of residencies is an unusual opportunity to see and talk with artists creating work. It is distinct from seasonal open studios where artists show completed work or possibly demonstrate a process. It is definitely distinct from an exhibit opening with stylish outfits, fancy foods, and social distractions.
Updated March 3,click on this link to post about John Osorio-Buck, artist raising and serving crickets at Home Depot House.
The six artists have related their projects to the unique space, so their actions might differ from what they do in their own studios. They must adapt to the Home Depot House, the park, the Biennial, season, weather, and visitors of all ages. We get to view artists improvising, exploring, connecting or rethinking as they meet these challenges.
Above are images from the current residency(through February 9) with Wilson Harding Lawrence .
Last Saturday I was photographing what I thought was a completed stretch of elegantly overlapping shingles that Lawrence had methodically constructed along the exterior back wall of the cabin. Suddenly and swiftly, the artist dismantled the whole piece! When I questioned him, he explained that he had just been trying something out. It wasn’t working yet. He might let go and reconstruct many times until it did. He called this process “the Buddhist part” of his work.
As a guide I always hope to convey how much artists think and do before their work is ready to show. The Process Gallery at the museum is a great resource for that. And right now the series of residencies in Home Depot House is rich with living, breathing artists who are open to being watched and questioned, on weekends from 11a.m. to 2 p.m. This house has really hit home!
Photos of Home Depot House in transit from Home Depot in Rhode Island, John C. Gonzalez deCordova Preview, Temporary Land Bridge site.
Update March 17: John C. Gonzalez shared this link to a video which adds valuable background, context and visuals to my understanding of Home Depot House.