Charles Simonds talks with the Teen Interns

  • East 2nd Street, New York, 1971, clay, sand and wood.East 2nd Street, New York, 1971, clay, sand and wood.
  • PS 1, New York, 1975, clay, sand, and wood.PS 1, New York, 1975, clay, sand, and wood.

Working at the New Museum gave me the opportunity to meet many artists and talk with them, which helped to broaden my ideas of what art can be. As a Teen Intern during the 2013 summer session, I had the opportunity to meet with Charles Simonds. Our discussion with Charles Simonds was inspirational because his art has helped to deepen my understanding of the art world, and my own future. I consider myself a young artist with high ambitions, and Simonds’ stories offered me insight into an artist’s life.

When Charles Simonds met with us we talked about how he started making Dwellings for Little People on the Lower East Side. Being interested in art, I’ve always known that art has various categories, such as public art and gallery art. However, speaking with Simonds made the contrast between public and private very clear. One question I asked Simonds was, “What was it like to make your Dwellings in public, since in 2013 an artist would get arrested for doing a piece like the Dwellings publicly?” His response was, “I’m fearless.” I realized that I must also take the same attitude if I want to succeed as a creative person. Simonds was a huge motivation, since I am thinking about making public art and pursuing a career in the arts.

An encouraging aspect of the conversation with Simonds was his take on museums. Simonds mentioned that he would rather display his Dwellings in a public place than in a private institution. Public art allows anyone passing by to observe the artwork. Public art gives children, teenagers, adults, seniors, business people and homeless people the convenience to engage with the work on a daily basis. On the contrary, when attending a museum, an audience is already expecting to see a work of art, or some historical content, science based content, etc. Viewing art in a museum is different because of the closed environment. People on the street can’t see the art in the museum unless they go inside. Simonds allows his work to be available to everyone by placing it in public, which is what makes his dedication so breathtaking.

--Pamela Stoicev

Charles Simonds talks with the Teen Interns

As part of the series of artist-led workshops offered to the summer 2013 New Museum Teen Interns, Charles Simonds spoke about his practice. Intern Pamela Stoicev was moved by the conversation, and shares her thoughts about Simonds' dedication to making art in public places.