Collection 1940s–1970s

Jackie Winsor. Burnt Piece. 1977-78 452

Cement, burnt wood, and wire mesh, 33 7/8 x 34 x 34" (86.1 x 86.4 x 86.4 cm). Gift of Agnes Gund. © 2022 Jackie Winsor

Artist, Jackie Winsor: My name is Jackie Winsor, and the piece we're talking about is called Burnt Piece. I had watched the Trade towers go up in the early 1970s, I lived in the area. And I was very worried about them falling over.

And as a matter of fact, I was so worried that I had dreams of buildings falling in slow motion, buildings burning. So, I woke up one morning from a dream of making a piece that had fire in it.

The structure was made initially out of wood. The concrete was poured like a cast. I wanted the concrete to be strong enough to maintain itself through the intensity of the moment, of the fire, right?

All you could see is concrete, wood, on all sides, with an aperture in the center. And we set it on four bricks, and we made a fire underneath it. And so, it worked, you might say, the way a chimney works. And it would poof out smoke or fire much like somebody who would smoke a cigarette and blow circles. So, the piece in its completion, of course, has the markings of what it went through, both in my making it and that five-hour fire that it went through.

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