Had an interesting time last weekend observing the first stage of an installation upcoming at the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art. It involved salvaging bits of an old barn (which had been badly damaged by storms, bugs, and age) just outside of town, then in a controlled burn—supervised by local firemen—burning the remains of the barn to the ground, for use as material in the installation.
Was nice to have my sweet pal Erika back in town for a few days, she’d started this project prior to moving to Columbus, OH, and was checking in on it.
The project is by Chicago-based artist, Juan Chávez. He and his posse are coming back this weekend to proceed with another stage. I probably won’t get as in the middle of this upcoming part...too many cooks in the kitchen, in addition to Juan, he already has a photographer, Joaquin, and a videographer, Alex. Good fellas, all.
I was fascinated by the still-existing structure of the barn, even though there was very little actual structure other than skeletal framework and some of a roof left. Beautiful setting sunlight, seeping through the abundant cracks and gaping holes where walls once stood. Always been a sucker for ruins (it ain’t the Roman Colusseum, but this IS the Midwest, and history is history). Some of these detail shots make it seem much more intact than was actually the case. Bet it was a beauty in its day.
The first day was kind of like the visitation of a recently deceased body, coming for one last glimpse, saying goodbyes, relatives taking all the good stuff from the house. Although I don’t think anybody had much real affection for the “deceased” at this point. It felt right that I was there, even though not a member of the family.
So these are the first part...next the fire.