Neighbors 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.

Neighbors by Christpher Frost

Christopher Frost

Cast concrete

Miniature houses cast in concrete cluster on a rocky outcropping, creating a new neighborhood. Each house is modeled on the home of someone buried at Forest Hills. The range of styles, from Queen Anne mansion to modern split level, reflects the economic and social diversity of generations of Bostonians buried here.

Artist's Statement
I conceived Neighbors as a way to address ideas of the physical home before and after death. The piece compares the dwellings of individuals in life and the "dwellings" created for them after their deaths.

Each concrete building is a replica of the home of a particular person buried at Forest Hills. I chose structures from the thousands of possible residences in order to include a variety of architectural styles. Just as the houses’ architecture reflected the diversity of their occupants’ background, social status, ethnicity, and other traits during their lifetimes, so the architecture of their monuments and grave sites reflects those traits after their deaths.

In most cases I was able to find and copy buildings that still exist today, suggesting that the architecture left behind and then reinhabited by the living can carry the memories of those who have passed on.

The houses represent the residences of Charles Varney Whitten, merchant (1829-1897); Mary Hunt, temperance leader (1830-1906), John A. Fox, architect (1836-1902); Joseph H. Chadwick, industrialist, whose Gothic Revival mausoleum is on Fountain Avenue (1827-1902); Ralph Martin, wagon-driver, who perished in the Great Molasses Flood; Samuel S. Pierce, grocer (1807-1881); and Anne Sexton, poet (1928-1967).


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