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MIKE MANDEL
CHANTAL ZAKARI
2018
IMG_1962.JPG
ARSENAL
NEWS
2020

See companion piece:

INTRODUCTION

This work is political in its ambition, but possibly the most poetic visuals I have made. I am looking at the past and present of the Watertown Federal Arsenal, a small chunk of real estate in Watertown, Massachusetts once owned by the U.S. Army.

It reveals a lot about how I feel about the recent history of this country: the post-war economic boom, technological innovations, the immigrant experience, mixed in with bomb making, toxic waste, and the most recent transformation of this space into business spaces, shopping mall and hulking parking garages. But I've tried to keep it personal. I grew up in an apartment building right across the NATO headquarters in Izmir, and some of the portraits I found in the National Archives in Waltham remind me of the American officers I would see in the street on a daily basis.

I got interested in the Watertown Arsenal because of the many dichotomies it represents; good jobs and upward mobility for immigrants employed in the creation of giant canons and munitions. The massive and beautiful brick buildings that were constructed for war production were designed by renowned architects whose aesthetic vision surpasses the banal commercial development in construction today. And because these buildings were occupied by the Army until 1995, and required a Superfund toxic waste clean-up, they were not razed and churned into the typical malls of the 70s and 80s.


During this project, I had the most fun designing Arsenal News 2020, an homage to a bi-weekly publication produced by the workers of the Watertown Arsenal that lasted 23 years. My 12-page interpretation of this newspaper consists of a non-linear visual history with recreated headlines. Some of the events featured are the 1911 worker's strike against Taylorism, the expansion of the campus during WWII, the 1961 peace walk organized by Brandeis and Harvard students, and the news about biotech companies moving into the area.

It is distributed at the gallery and concurrently in various locations at the Arsenal Yards and Mall and the Watertown Public Library.

This exhibition and artist’s publication was generously supported by a Daynard Grant from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, a Faculty Research Grant and a Tisch Faculty Fellowship from Tufts University.

 
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DISTRIBUTION

2020

Kingston Gallery, A Work in Progress, Boston, MA

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ARSENAL YARDS

WATERTOWN, MA   |   NOVEMBER 2020

 
REVIEWS & INTERVIEWS

BOSTON HASSLE

The Watertown Arsenal and Its Ghosts

by Gabby Onessimo, November 29, 2020 

KINGSTON CONVERSATIONS

Chantal Zakari in Conversation with Margaret Hart

November 18, 2020 

WATERTOWN NEWS

Artist's Exhibit Captures the Transformation of the Watertown Arsenal with Historica, Modern Images

by Charlie Bretrose, November 13, 2020

 

KINGSTON GALLERY BLOG

All in the Timing: Chantal Zakari's "A Work in Progress" at Kingston Gallery

by Emma Newberry, November 5, 2020