CHARLES SIMONDS

BIOGRAPHY
1945
Born in New York. Youngest son of two Vienna-trained doctors and psychoanalysts. Father is a Freudian and mother is a renegade Freudian. (see Anita I. Bell Papers, above).
1951
Runs away for the first time while on family vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Makes "Indian fire pit" in Frijoles Canyon.
1952
Makes Rabbit Reading Newspaper.
1952-1963
Attends New Lincoln School.
1955
Spends winter in Lake Placid, New York. Runs away, digs pit in snow and hides.
1955-1961
Attends summer camp and partakes in mountain climbing and sailboat racing. Becomes Adirondack Mountain Club "46er. "
Commences belief in Oboe Skiwatindatin, god of the wind. Shows promise in mathematics, studies symbolic logic, number theory, and statistics.
1962
Makes sculpture of a wrestler. Drops mathematics and begins study of traditional religious sculpture with Claire Fasano and Jean de Marco. Climbs in Front Range of Rocky Mountains in U.S. and Canada. Solidifies belief in Oboe.
1963
Goes to Europe with best friend and chaperon. Runs away from chaperon in the middle of the second night. Travels alone to French Riviera, Rome, Florence, Venice, Vienna, Salzburg, lnnsbruck, and Zurich.
1963-1967
Attends The University of California at Berkeley Meets and later marries Joanne Maude Oakes. Participates in Free Speech movement. Works as teamster on assembly line.
Studies with James Melchert who showed that clay can be anything, even a zipper. Also studies with Harold Paris who made eroticized rubber sculpture. Discovers with Stanley Fish his new way of reading "Paradise Lost" by John Milton.
1967
Receives Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of California, Berkeley
1967-1969
Attends Rutgers University graduate school. Plays ping-pong, pours wax and water on the floor, and writes thesis of 22 questions beginning with, "What is art... ?" Receives Master of Fine Arts degree.
1969-1971
Teaches Sculpture and Art History at Newark State College.
Refurbishes a loft at 131 Chrystie Street with Gordon Matta-Ciark and Harriet Korman. Works on sculpture, "Fragments of the Colossal Dream", using hair, bodily fluids, fantasy, and traditional art historical imagery. Works in the streets of New York and environs with Gordon Matta-Clark helping each other with projects.
Creates tarot cards, some of which develop from working in clay pits of Sayreville, New Jersey Films Birth and Landscape-Body-Dwelling. Meets Christo, Holly Solomon, and Jeffrey Lew.
Works at 98 Greene Street and 112 Greene Street alternative spaces with George Trakis, Suzanne Harris, Keith Sonnier, and Philip Glass. Begins migration of Little People dwellings northwards on Greene Street in New York.
Travels to Stonehenge, Rome, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Vesuvius. Also travels to Jerba, Mattmatta, Dougga, Sfax, and Tozeur in Tunisia.
Leaves teaching one Friday afternoon. Rents delivery bicycle to hold clay and begins making dwellings full time in streets of New York, concentrating on The Lower East Side.
Separates from Joanne Maude Oakes. Sells 131 Chrystie Street and moves to 28th Street. Lives in the wholesale Flower District with rock bands above and below him, who were managed by his brother. Meets Lucy Lippard who asks for a tour of dwellings.
1972
Begins living with Lucy Lippard on Prince Street. Watches the evolution of art-world feminism through Lucy's eyes. Writes 'Three Peoples" a fictive ethnography and creates Life Architectures/Living Structures: Linear, Circular and Spiral Dwellings.
Becomes friends with Sol Lewitt, Nancy Holt, Robert Smithson and feels antagonism of Cart Andre and his bricks. Exchanges professional roles for a day with President of Oberlin College, Robert Fuller, as an experiment. Summer: Sails up and down the coast of Maine with Lucy Lippard.
Does community work on The Lower East Side and becomes member of the Lower East Side Coalition for Human Housing. Creates Playlot "La Placita" with Association of Community Service Centers and the Young New Yorkers.
1974
Film of Dwellings by Rudy Burkhardt shown at the Museum of Modem Art, New York. Excavated and Inhabited Railroad Tunnel Remains constructed at Art Park, Lewiston, New York.
1975
Growth House is constructed at Art Park, Lewiston, New York. Invited to take part in the Whitney Biennial. Refuses to put work in Museum but builds a dwelling in the street indicated by a sign in the museum.
Cries over Smithson's death while holding small spiral shells in mud flats in Maine (where he had visited). Has first one-person exhibition in Paris curated by Daniel Abadie at the Centre National d'Art Contemporain.
Works in the streets of Belleville making dwellings. Meets Josefa, who is 10 years old and believes in "little people" of her own and that food turns to poison in their mouths if they don't share it.
"Three Peoples" is published by Ida Gianelli coinciding with an exhibition at Samangallery, Genoa. Works in streets of port area of Genoa making dwellings.
1976
1976 Invited for "projects" series at the Museum of Modem Art, New York where he creates Picaresque Landscape, later exhibited at the Tompkins Square Library on the Lower East Side. Proposal for Stanley Tanke/ Memorial Hanging Gardens. Invited to exhibit at the Venice Biennale. Works in the streets of Venice.
Creates a linear people dwelling at The American Museum of Natural History, New York as part of Earth Day festival.
1977
1977 Participates in a housing project called City Project Cleveland. One-person exhibition entitled, "Temenos" at the Albright Knox Museum, Buffalo. Participates in Documenta 6. Goes to Berlin for one year with DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschsdienst). Produces Circles and Towers Growing series. Biennial at Whitney Museum.
1978
"Floating Cities and other Architectures" exhibited at Westfalischer Kunstverein, Munster, curated by Herbert Molderings. Visits Leningrad.
Jurgen Schweinebraden organizes a clandestine individual exhibition in East Berlin. Birthscape is constructed for the exhibition "Door beeldhouwers gemaakt" (Made By Sculptors) at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Work shares room with Gordon Matta-Clark's and Simonds dedicates work to him upon learning of his death.
Travels to Orkneys and Isle of Skye, Scotland.
1978
"Cracking" a fiction by Lucy Lippard based on Simond's work is published by Walter Konig, Cologne. It is used as a catalogue for an exhibition at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne and Nationalgalerie in Berlin.
Meets Franz Meyer, future father in law, when exhibiting at Documenta
Harry Torczyner campaigns as first "surrealist" candidate for New York State congress and rents Times Square Billboard, without Simonds' knowledge to claim that " Charles Simonds endorses Harry Torczyner for congress."
1980
"Instant House," created in Iowa. Inflated spiral structure of cloth is sprayed with water and freezes overnight. Moves to loft on 22nd Street, New York. Camps out in New Mexico desert to see flora bloom.
Invited to participate in the Rosc exhibition and builds dwellings in the streets of Dublin. Goes to China with Lucy Lippard, Sol Lewitt and others. Works in streets of Shanghai and Guillin.
1981
Constructs permanent installations of dwellings at the Whitney Museum, New York, Kunsthaus Zurich, Zurich, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Begins cutting niches for dwellings as opposed to working with already existing spaces. Invited by Hans Haacke to teach advanced sculpture at Cooper Union, New York.
First retrospective is organized by John Hallmark Neff, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Catalogue contains essays by John Neff, John Beardsley, and Daniel Abadie.
Exhibition travels to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Califomia; the Fort Worth Art Museum, Texas; the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas; the Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona; the Brooks Memorial Art Museum, Memphis, Tennessee and concludes at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Visits Glomar Challenger oil platform in Gulf of Mexico.
Cross country skies in Banff and Yellowstone National Parks. Canoes boundary waters of Minnesota and watches Northern lights.Visits Death Valley
Invited to make dwellings for the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Spends time working in the streets of Jerusalem.
1982
Meets Bella Meyer whom he marries in 1985.
1983
Installs Age in the rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum. Rents "bare boat" and sails the Virgin Islands, Caribbean.

1983-84
Visits Meyer Shapiro and wife Lillian on West 4th Street for “teas.” Discusses political and social role of artist, streets of Lower East Side, the scatological in Romanesque sculpture capitals along with Bella Meyer, reincarnation, resurrection and eschatological issues in art and life. Later receives the tea set from Shapiros as a wedding present
1984
"House Plants and Rocks" exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York.
Visits Marc Chagall, future grandfather in law, at Les Collines, St. Paul de Vence.
Visits Jacqueline Picasso at Mougins.
1985
Exhibition "The Three Trees" at Architekturmuseum, Basel, Switzerland.
1986
Exhibition at Galerie Lelong, Paris. Invited to be a Fellow of Art at the American Academy in Rome.
1987
Exhibition at Baudoin Lebon, Paris. Large scale "cracked" fired tile floor and walls of progressively changing sizes of bricks exhibited as components of a future planned house Simonds wants to build. Daughter Lia is born.
1988
Exhibition at Corcoran Gallery, Washington D. C. Refuge model for permanent project for Seoul Korea Olympics and one "room" of project created full scale. Travels to Seoul to construct Refuge in Olympic Park.
1989
Exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York. Son Timothy is born.
1991
Exhibits installations at Baudoin Lebon Gallery in Paris.
1992
Exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York.
1993
Exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York.
1994
Retrospective exhibition organized by Tom Messer and curated by Daniel Abadie. Inaugurated at "La Caixa" in Barcelona, and then presented at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume.
1995
Works with patients at Centre d'Etude de l'Expression, Clinique des Maladies Mentales et de l'Encephale, Centre Hospitalier Sainte-Anne, Paris on communal sculpture.
Begins working at Manufacturer Nationale de Sevres . Creates "Tumbleweed" which is exhibited in retrospective exhibition at Je de Paume.
1996
Lectures at Centre Hospitalier Sainte-Anne to therapists on work with patients the previous year.
1997
Works on transforming grotto for Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.
1998
Exhibition "Houseplants" at the Joseph Helman Gallery, New York.
1999
Exhibition "Charles Simonds" at the Denver Art Museum, Colorado.
2001
Exhibition "is was" at the Joseph Helman Gallery, New York.
2002
Invited to Valencia to consider doing retrospective exhibition at IVAM.
Wanders the streets of Valencia during "La Crema," last evening of the Fallas festival. Becomes honorary "Fallero" for Na Jordana Barrio, and ends evening receiving a welcoming kiss from Rita Barbara Nolla, mayor, at Ayuntamiento (town hall) while watching burning of largest Fallas Statue.
2003
Retrospective exhibition at IVAM
Travels to Asturias Galicia, Zaragoza, Cordoba, Bilbao in Spain.
2004
Goes to India with John Beardsley.
2007
Becomes second American since 1492 to carry the Virgin for Cofradia de la Santa Vera Cruz Bilbao in Semana Santa procession.
Travels to Sevilla for Semana Santa.
2009
Exhibition LandscapeBodyDwelling at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington D.C.
2011
Book LandscapeBodyDwelling published.
Sleeps on sailboat Maltese Falcon.
Exhibition at Knoedler Gallery. It becomes swan song exhibition for the gallery which closes amidst a scandal and lawsuit originated four years previously about questionable authenticity and provenance of art works sold by former gallery director.
2013
“Lectures at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, at the invitation of Stephanie Weber for the “Modern Mondays” series. Monday, April 15, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
2016
Travels throughout southern India. Creates Dwellings with school children at G.H.P.S. Mulenahally Colony, Hassan Distict School, Karnataka, India.

Institute of Fine Arts, New York University exhibits “Mental Earth” and holds a symposium about Simonds’ work, entitled: “Dwellings: Charles Simonds and 1970s New York. Participants include Richard Shiff, in dialogue with Simonds, Lucy Lippard, Ksenia Soboleva, Martin Hartung, Patterson Sims, Chris Lyon and Herbert Molderings, among others.
Charles Simonds in conversation with Richard Shiff

Symposium Talks





Participates as part of a panel at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, entitled “Big Questions about Small Things, Minaturization in the Arts of Africa, Ocenia and the Americas" in conjunction with the exhibition “Design for Eternity” curated by Joanne Pillsbury at the museum. Panelists include curators Yaelle Biro, Maia Nuku, Joanne Pillsbury and Andrew Hamilton






"Cracking" published in English. Edition by Verlag Der Buchhandlung, Walther Konig, Koln, 2016