A Place to Stay and Burning Urn was commissioned in 2006 as part of Dwelling, an exhibition funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding provided by the Boston Foundation for Architecture and individual donors.
Beatty and Mike Newby
Place to Stay
Painted steel, wood and copper
Painted steel, wood and copper leaf
elegant structures combine the Gothic Revival architectural motifs
of Victorian monuments with a familiar garden device: the birdhouse.
These modest structures offer protection to the birds that enliven
Forest Hills landscape with motion and song. The artists also
pay tribute to birds as ancient symbols of the soul and transition,
appropriate metaphors in the context of the cemetery.
drawn to the architectural presence of the Victorian era monuments with
their amalgam of Greek, Roman, Gothic and Egyptian architectural motifs.
This layering of multiple motifs is not unlike the artistic pastiche
of our own time.
The monuments also incorporate a language of symbols that while well
understood in Victorian times is often lost to todays visitors
-- a broken column representing a life cut short and a downturned
torch as life extinguished. We ultimately became interested
in using the symbol of the bird, an enduring image of transition, breaking
earthly bounds and ascending to the heavens. Forest Hills is a wonderful
sanctuary for birds and a place where transition is present in multiple
Our birdhouses rework the architectural motifs of the cemetery and provide
shelter for its living, breathing, animated residents. By manipulating
mass and volume in the construction of the supporting framework, we
aim to integrate a sense of the traditional with a new, deconstructed
model. The subtle humor incorporated in these birdhouses is a foil for
the sense of the inevitable that surrounds the present day visitor to
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