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.
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.
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).
information on Christopher Frost, please visit: www.christopherfrost.org
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