Fritz Haeg


It was a cold overcast afternoon on the 15th of February. I was midway through a month long installation in the Sculpture Court of the Whitney Museum for the 2008 Biennial. I was there almost every day for a month overseeing the fabrication and installation of the first edition of Animal Estates, modest model homes for twelve native species. We were just starting work on the beaver pond and lodge that day, which you can see in the background. The bat estate is already up on a post on the left. I'm holding one of the hollow white gourds for the purple martin, and behind me is the sonotube for the bobcat. The ten-foot-diameter eagle's nest, which would be perched on the concrete canopy over Madison Avenue, hadn't been made yet. I love this Marcel Breuer museum. It feels like a sacred temple. I wanted to surrender to it. Instead of dominating it with something equally monumental, I wanted to be in communion with it through these little brutalist animal homes that responded to the architecture. Each night I would get take-out from Souen on Sixth Avenue and return to the tiny apartment I was renting in the Village. It was a charged period for me. I was living on the road most of the year. I was more excited than I had ever been about a project, but also missing Los Angeles, the sun, my home and garden.