Object Image

William Christenberry bases most of his sculptures on structures that he has seen and photographed in his native Alabama. River House, on the other hand, recalls the artist's "evocative feeling of a childhood memory" of fishing on the Black Warrior River in West Central Alabama. After spending a lazy morning catching catfish, Christenberry and his father often docked at this riverbank restaurant to enjoy Vienna sausages, crackers, and Coca-Cola. The red soil, which Christenberry collects on his yearly trips home, draws an immediate connection between the artwork and the Alabama landscape of the artist's youth. For Christenberry, memorializing this scenery is an act of ownership. "If I can't possess the real thing," he explains, "I'm going to make something that comes pretty close." (Interview with the artist, December 20, 2005)

Credit: Gift of Benjamin P. Nicolette

1980
Wood, construction board, paperboard, metal, and dirt
60.3 x 41.9 x 35.5 cm
1994.92
Image and text: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2024

Where you'll find this

Smithsonian American Art Museum