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Tourist Cabin with Folded Bed


Tourist Cabin with Folded Bed
Tourist Cabin with Folded Bed, 1986, Storm King Art Center
Tourist Cabin with Folded Bed


In 1986, I was asked by the Public Art Fund to be one of four artists to create work for an outdoor summer exhibit entitled The City Hall Park Furniture Show. I decided to recreate my Tourist Cabin (Pensacola) and to open it up by adding screening to the top half of the back and sides so that the interior could be readily viewed. To meet the show’s criteria of “furniture,” I created a small cot inside, set in the folded position as if waiting for the arrival of a visitor. As always, I wanted to illuminate the interior of the work. I had hoped to hook into a nearby streetlight for power, but when that proved impossible, I moved to a different solution. I made a box, painted black, to hold car batteries and added a handle and hinges so that it resembled a small suitcase. From that suitcase, I ran a wire to discretely power a small lightbulb in the cabin’s ceiling.

Then I went to Vermont to work on my book collaboration with the poet Kenward Elmslie. One afternoon, Kenward came down to the small building I was using as a studio and told me that all the New York papers had been calling, wanting to talk with me. The New York Post had first reported the story: “City Hall bomb scare is a dud.” According to the Post, “Art imitated strife yesterday when police cleared about 1000 people from City Hall Park during a bomb scare. But a suspicious-looking-package turned out to be nothing more than part of an art exhibit near the City Hall steps. The box contained batteries to light a bulb inside a miniature wooden house. People attending Harlem Week festivities were cleared from the area. Police Officer Chris Brauer put on a padded suit, circled the cabin with a black Labrador retriever – and found out the bomb was a dud.”

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