On view

American, b. 1945
Dwellings, 1981
Clay, sand, ceramic bricks, and sticks
9 1/2 x 13 x 10 in. (24.1 x 33 x 25.4 cm)
Purchased with the aid of funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and gift of the Ralph E. Ogden Foundation
Photo by Jerry L. Thompson
Storm King’s two works by Charles Simonds, each entitled Dwelling, are small, detailed remains of an imagined, migratory civilization. Simonds cut his miniature bricks from flat sheets of clay with a knife, then laid them in place with tweezers. Installed in consecutive window bays of the Museum Building, the dwellings resemble the archaeological remains of the Native American cave dwellings Simonds saw on visits to the southwestern United States as a child. Simonds began his Dwellings in building crevices and vacant lots near his New York City home on the Lower East Side in the early 1970s. He reflected, “Working in the street revealed extraordinary possibilities to me that threw into relief the limitations of timeless white spaces and their inhabitants.” At the time, he was surprised and excited by how much local “truckers and workers … jumped in and loved the dwellings, it lightened their day.” He was happy, he noted, to have created an art form that was appreciated outside the art world.