A public garden & cultural center

David McQueen

Field Notes
Glyndor Gallery | September 15–November 29, 2015

Pictured above: David McQueen, Double Wired Chandelier (work in progress) for Wave Hill installation, 2015. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. 

David McQueen delved into Wave Hill’s history as a departure point for his site specific project. Looking for traces of past residents to re-imagine and reveal, he was taken by the relationship between the Clemenses. During the time that Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and his wife Olivia lived at Wave Hill House (1901-03), Olivia was ill and required "quiet seclusion" to regain her health. Their separation galvanized his interest and inspired a series objects and drawings that McQueen is presenting as “found field notes." These belong to an imagined narrative in which husband and wife construct elaborate mechanisms to communicate, thereby maintaining their intimacy despite Olivia's prescribed isolation. 

Among the unlikely components McQueen imagines are gramophone horns installed into a favorite chestnut tree, so that writing outdoors, in the afternoons, Clemens would still be able to hear his beloved's daily singing. He envisions telescopes and mirrors installed at angles so that husband and wife might catch glimpses of one another throughout the day. In McQueen’s narrative, the use of a double-wired chandelier and sconces in Olivia’s sickroom would enable Samuel to know exactly where he was on the property. The artist’s narrative will unfold inside Glyndor Gallery, while gramophone horns will be installed around the property to transmit the sounds heard in the gardens. The installation includes a rewired chandelier and sconces, as well as “recovered” telescopes and mirrors. Visitors can explore this story by walking the same grounds the Clemens’ so loved and discovering fragments of their long-ago story.

David McQueen is a sculptor and installation artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. He is represented by Kim Foster Gallery in New York. His work has been shown at Wayfarers, DUMBO Arts Center and at Parker’s Box in Brooklyn, NY; Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, Wilmington, DE; and The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY. He is a 2011 NYFA Fellow in sculpture, and received an MFA in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University and a BA from Oberlin College. He is also the Arts director for Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK), an impact organization that provides feeding programs, scholarships and arts education for children in rural provinces of the Philippines.

David McQueen, “…it is bright and beautiful, and I love you most deeply,” 2015. Gramophone installation. Image credit Stefan Hagan

David McQueen, “…it is bright and beautiful, and I love you most deeply,” 2015. Mirror installation. Image credit Stefan Hagan

David McQueen, 2015. 

David McQueen“…the flooding sunshine, the fire of big logs, the white expanse of cushioned snow and the incomparable river,” 2015. Image courtesy of the artist and Kim Foster Gallery, New York, NY

Click here for more information about the artist


The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Michael J. Shannon; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.