See companion piece:
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 workers' 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.
Kingston Gallery, A Work in Progress, Boston, MA
WATERTOWN, MA | NOVEMBER 2020
REVIEWS & INTERVIEWS
by Gabby Onessimo, November 29, 2020
November 18, 2020
by Charlie Bretrose, November 13, 2020
KINGSTON GALLERY BLOG
by Emma Newberry, November 5, 2020