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"Brickworker and Ballplayer"

Judelson, David

Porter Square, Sculpture

Rindge Field

Title: Brickworker and Ballplayer
Date: 1983
Materials: Brick 
Dimensions: 6' x 11' x 5'
Location: Intersection of Pemberton and Haskell Streets

Seeing and experiencing

Brickworker and Ballplayer sits in front of a baseball field that once was a brickyard. This work commemorates the workers and companies of the brick-making industry that dominated North Cambridge from 1844 to1952. Inscriptions on the sculpture list the brick companies and their dates of operation, as well as the names of families who worked in the yards.


Local residents love this sculpture. Children climb on it. People drink from its water fountain. Others run their hands over the inscriptions. Touch the sculpture yourself. What does it feel like?


Look closely at the individual bricks: how do they differ from one another? Compare them with other examples of brick from the neighborhood.


Read the inscriptions. How many different brickyards were there in Cambridge? What do the names of the workers reveal about the history of immigration and labor in Cambridge?


This sculpture features two figures. Which is the ballplayer? Which is the brickworker? Look at the tools of their trade. Can you tell what the worker's tools were used for? Can you imagine a dialogue between the two figures?


The materials an artist chooses play a significant role in our understanding and experience of a particular work. David Judelson's use of brick explicitly connects this sculpture to the history of its location. He actually made his own clay bricks using wooden molds. While the bricks were still wet, he shaped the faces, hands and feet of the two figures. After the bricks were fired, he worked with a team of brick masons to assemble the final piece.


What you will need: Thin paper, charcoal, crayons or pastels.


Make rubbings of all of the inscriptions. Create a timeline using the brick companies' dates of operation. What does your timeline reveal about the boom and decline of the brickyards in this area?

What you will need: Paper, pencils or black marker.


Create a comic strip about the bricklayer and ballplayer. What is their relationship? What would they say to one another?


three dementional

What you will need: Paper, scissors, glue and paint.


How would you create a three-dimensional brick out of a piece of flat paper? For help, download the template (pdf), print it out, trace it and cut it out. Fold the template on the dotted lines and glue the flaps. Paint your brick.


Now make a few more. Create sculptures with the bricks.


Add the rubbings that you may have made in the on-site activity as collage elements. Try other collage materials like sandpaper, construction paper, images from old magazines, your own drawings and writings... anything.


What you will need: Air-drying terra cotta clay, roller, and plastic knife.


Make clay bricks. Build them from slabs (flat pieces of clay). Add texture to the surface of your bricks. What kitchen tools can you use to make different marks? When you have made a series of bricks, use them to create a bigger sculpture or structure.