2016 Monolith production notes

The production of monolith casting boxes is currently in active mode.  11 boxes lie waiting for final touches before casting in concrete.  These are the chosen monoliths out of the couple-dozen sketch ideas.   Two boxes remain – big ones – that are potentially part of this casting series.  These will need some thought about their nature.  For one thing, the size will create great weight.  For another, it will make these more likely to crack.

Glass continues in a motif of the monolith.  Our postmodern, unprivate existence is characterized by wide expanses of glass.  In the monolith, bits of glass will be visible.


The  monoliths suggest components of a city.

  • A studio, for a writer of neither fiction nor nonfiction.
  • A Baltic ship mechanic’s office near the gray-green wharf.
  • A temple from a lost mexo-polynesian culture, with an associated petroglyph.
  • A loft space, converted into a cottage industry, only partially successful.
  • A retired ski waxer’s shed.
  • Village of the Third Incan rebellion.

And so on.  Each monolith is created from concrete, and is decidedly twenty-first century.  These items could not be of any other time, of course.  There will be more:

  • An industrial mandala
  • Skyscraper tombs
  • Terra cotta street intersections.

I did a few extemporaenously – that is, there was no predecessor sketch.  These remain in a Heisenberg-like uncertainty state until they are uncorked from their forms, and then the names will come.




The Evolution of the monolith

History:  Since the completion of the first series (11 cement works) the monolith has two separate study cases:  Field monoliths (beehives) and tabletop monolithic structures.

Field Monoliths (numbers 1-6)

Field monoliths in situ

The field monoliths are weathering in the field.  About the size of beehives, these each have an individual character and form a series of interlocking spaces that suggest a larger unit.

Tabletop monoliths (Numbers 7 plus)

8 new monoliths

Some of these are more experimental in nature.  One is a pedestal piece and the remainder is 30 lbs. or less with wires for wall hanging.  These monoliths are slightly more specific in nature with references to scale and use.  None of these could satisfactorily remain outdoors due to the accretion of other materials upon their surfaces.

Accidental breakthroughs, terminated experiments, and general observations.

Plaster on cement achieves the exact materiality of the monolith.  Both are very dead materials sculpturally, and both have very live surfaces to be explored.

Do not put lights into artwork again ever.

–first failure, in Dreams of Escape – light did not work at all.

–Second failure, in Darkly Trusting – light worked but was ineffective.

The monolith as a dead thing is the exact opposite of the form, which is the living thing.  The form is the mystery, in that it is the solid into which the cement is cast.  The exact nature of the void is conceptually elusive and therefore a mystery worth pursuing.

The monolith expresses this dead thing eloquently.  The relationship of the monolith to other similar structures – interstates, sidewalks, and the other hardware of modernity – is one to continue as an exploratory series.

May 20, 1942

May 20, 1942

May 20, 1942


Medium:  balsa wood, old letters, Vmail, and envelope.


1.  Front and back of envelope contains an outline of a novel apparently written by the letter-writer; it starts May 20, 1942 hence the title of the piece.

2.  Vmail correspondence is actual Vmail from 1944 and 1945.

3.  Other paper used in this piece are from the same vintage.

4.  Harvard Club letter was too smarmy to include; envelope was included mostly for its postage graphic.