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Monumental Chair (unpainted)
October 1984 | Brooklyn, New York
Disposition: Destroyed

“Monumental Chair” was complete at this point prior to the slathering of roofing tar. It was determined that the plywood surface was “too inviting” to the viewer and that surface treatment was needed to keep people off and away from the work. Vandalism was a major concern for the survival of works in this show since the huge site was an abandoned lot, overgrown with weeds and junk cars, and open on all sides. Other artists had had work vandalized by maurading groups of pre-adolescent peers after the first day. Gooey, sticky roofing tar was chosen as both protection of the piece and to emphasize the “stand-off” attitude of the work which was to be a “monument to power, authority, control, and inertia.” A photo exists of an adolescent sticking his fingers into the tar. The work was burned to the ground after one week in a pile of ashes. The blaze must have risen 30 feet, fed by the oil saturated wood, and would have made an interesting video had a photographer been present to record its demise. I felt this was an appropriate end to the work and would have enjoyed seeing it myself.

©2023 by Jim Nickel

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