John CederquistGhost Boy
various woods, copper leaf, and pigments
88 1/4 x 44 1/2 x 15 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the James Renwick Alliance, Ronald and Anne Abramson and museum purchase
John Cederquist uses furniture forms, such as chests, desks, tables, benches, and chairs, as points of departure to explore imagery. A John Townsend high chest from Newport, Rhode Island, of about 1760 in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, inspired the piece, although Ghost Boy is more the semblance of a high chest than an actual chest. Using visual tricks and perspective to create the illusion of furniture, Cederquist combines an august Colonial American high chest with cheap shipping crates. Like a cubist master, the artist fractures and reassembles his high chest as if to understand its components.