Fire, Newport
Fire, Newport, 1980
Salvaged and new wood, pedestal sink, soda fountain stools
9' x 18' x 9'
The Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts Artist-in-Residence Program

Robert M. (Mac) Doty became the Director of the Currier Gallery soon after I moved back to New Hampshire. He was an early supporter of my work. Doty referred to my projects at the time, which he saw neither specifically as installations nor environments, as “Grand Objects,” and I liked the term.

Fire, Newport, was inspired by my having poked around a building in Newport, New Hampshire, that had been damaged in a fire. What I found in the interior was oddly spare and neat, in spite of the destruction. I chose to convey the ambiguous nature of this dwelling by juxtaposing objects associated with public (lunch counters) and private (bathrooms) places.

This work was done specifically for a small gallery at the Currier that was scheduled to be demolished for a new wing to the museum. The proportions were determined by the ceiling height and by leaving a three-foot space between the piece and the gallery walls. Like Bedroom, North Sutton, New Hampshire, an implied boundary kept viewers outside the work looking in. The decorative marble fireplace in the gallery provided a welcome foil for the work and its somber tone.