Charles Simonds: An Interview


1979 | 00:48:21 | United States | English | B&W | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Interviews, On Art and Artists, Single Titles

Tags: Blumenthal/Horsfield Interviews, Environment, Indigenous, Interview, Sculpture, Visual Art

Charles Simonds (b.1945) majored in art at the University of California at Berkeley. There he discovered an area of clay pits that had once provided the raw material for some of Manhattan's older buildings. He literally immersed himself in the subject, burying himself in a pool of wet clay to get a feel for the material. Simonds's sculptures are enchanting architectural minatures. Most are landforms with small chambers and towers; some are abstract organic shapes. Carefully built brick by tiny brick, Simonds's sculptures engage the child in everyone. Yet they are not models or maquettes for anything, nor are they toys or dollshouses. He began to build the small dwellings in the streets of New York City in the early 1970s. The dwellings were places along curbs or within the masonry of buildings—the homes of an imaginary group of migrating people whom Simonds called the "little people."

"Basically I'm making places where people once lived," Simonds explains in this interview with Kate Horsfield. "In some cases, they seemingly left five minutes ago; in other cases they may have left a long, long time ago."

A historical interview originally recorded in 1979 and re-edited in 2005 with support from the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Fund.

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