For this temporary public art project, the artist bundled 10-foot boards near the wavy retaining wall on the south side of the Meredith Corporation lawn, along the Locust Street sidewalk. It stood about 16 inches tall, like a bench or a low table. In a 6 September 2012 article by The Des Moines Register art critic Michael Morain wrote that “It’s OK if you think Peter Goché’s project looks more like a stack of lumber than a piece of art. That’s part of the point.” The article quoted the artist: “Lovers can hang out there,” Goché said. “People can use it as a platform to speak from or play chess or just sit down and eat their curds and whey, you know?” Goché said the project was inspired by the people who hang out near the retaining wall, often early in the morning or late at night. Skateboarders roll by sometimes, and older guys gather to chat. The project, like much of his other work, explores the blurry divide between space that is public and private. And at Meredith, which publishes magazines like Better Homes and Gardens, that pile of cedar lumber might mean something more.
As participant in Artstop 2012, a public art installation sponsored by Artstop in partnership with the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, I developed a staging titled “Culture Carriage” on Meredith Corporation’s campus in the Western Gateway district. My interest in this site and particular set of spaces had to do with the nature of edges and thresholds as it relates to property rights and its associated social configuration. The intention here was to blur the threshold between the public space of the sidewalk and the private grounds of Meredith Corporation. In an effort to do so, my work occupied the space of a niche (the area between the serpentine retaining wall and the edge of the public walk) with a constructed a temporary carriage whereby passersby might situate themselves. The work consists of an accumulation of dimensional lumber and an artifact associated with observed uses of the site by the local homeless communityPete P. Goché