The Meeting House

Where once it used to stand one of the busiest highways in the USA, American artist Mark Reigelman built a Quaker-style house in Downtown Boston to revive the site’s origins.

 Mark Reigelmann, The Meeting House, Boston, 2017
The Meeting House is a temporary site-specific installation by artist Mark Reigelman on show in Downtown Boston. The piece is part of The Greenway, a larger program of site-specific art events that have included works by Ai Weiwei , Lawrence Weiner , Janet Echelman , Matthew Ritchie , and Tom Otterness, among others.

 

One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston was founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan settlers followed by several other groups seeking freedoms not found in England including those from Anglican, Baptist and Quaker theologies. Throughout its history, Boston has been a stronghold for religious and socially progressiveness movements. Boston was also the backdrop of several key events of the American Revolution including the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Siege of Boston. Upon independence from Great Britain, it continued to be an important port and manufacturing hub as well as a center for progressive ideals, tolerance, education, and culture. In addition to Boston’s reputation as an advocate of progressive goals, the city is also known for initiating challenging and controversial civic projects.

Img.12 Mark Reigelmann, The Meeting House, Boston, 2017
Img.12 Mark Reigelmann, The Meeting House, Boston, 2017
In 1951, the construction of an elevated six-lane highway began in Downtown Boston, which displaced more than 10,000 residents and demolished 1,000 buildings. Originally designed to streamline vehicular traffic, the structure quickly became one of the most congested highways in the United States. After years of deterioration, accidents, economic loss and pollution, a project commonly known as the “Big Dig” was introduced to address the problematic highway. This project proved to be one of the largest, technically difficult, and environmentally challenging infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the United States. Once the highway system was relocated underground, the remaining industrial wound that extended through the city became a linear green ribbon of contemporary parks, which are now known as the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
Img.13 Mark Reigelmann, The Meeting House, Boston, 2017
Img.13 Mark Reigelmann, The Meeting House, Boston, 2017
The Meeting House takes inspiration from the simple architecture of the area’s first colonial settlers and was fabricated using traditional materials and techniques. It manifests as a brightly painted New England Quaker-style structure sinking into the grassy lawn of the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The precariously positioned structure encourages visitors to explore the area’s built environment, consider the fluidity of Boston’s landscape and challenge notions of community while unearthing downtown’s unique past. The Meeting House was fabricated in over 20 parts and over the course of three months in Brooklyn New York and then flat-packed, transported and installed on the Boston Greenway. The sculpture was constructed using standard platform framing with traditional woodworking techniques. Mark Reigelman’s work reevaluates the everyday, reinvigorates public space, and challenges typical urban conditions. Emphasizing research and exploration, his installation is poised between abstraction and literal representation, which he meticulously integrates into civic spaces. 
Img.14 Mark Reigelmann, The Meeting House, Boston, 2017
Img.14 Mark Reigelmann, The Meeting House, Boston, 2017

through November 2017
Mark Reigelman. The Meeting House
curated by Lucas Cowan
The Rose Kennedy Greenway
Downtown Boston, MA

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