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Public Art Tour | Cambridge Arts Council
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"Gateway"

Harries, Mags

Lechmere/East Cambridge, Sculpture

158 Spring St.

Cambridge, MA 02139

Location Description: Kennedy-Longfellow School, hallway installation

Date: 1983

Materials: Wood, enamel, lights

Dimensions: 9' 8" x 10' x 5'

Mags Harries's Alice in Wonderland-style desk forms a whimsical portal in one of the school's hallways. The desk, built to triple scale, supports an equally oversized cup, bowl, and pile of books - all seemingly left behind by a giant schoolchild. Adding to the mystery are an open drawer and the pink glow from a hidden electric light. In designing this fairy-tale sculpture, Harries chose to work in wood, as opposed to cheaper materials like plastic, and had the piece crafted by a cabinetmaker using traditional techniques. Harries then covered the desk in six coats of different colored paint - providing an element of surprised delight when students scratch their initials into the "magic desk."


Harries's public art projects range from indoor installations like Gateway to large-scale outdoor structures that grace museums, parks, and institutions around the U.S. and Great Britain. Many of these works can be found in the Boston/Cambridge area, the most familiar being the Asaroton '76 cross walk at Haymarket and Glove Cycle at the Porter Square MBTA subway station. Harries has taught at the Boston's School of the Museum of Fine Arts and frequently gives lectures and workshops on public art around the country.

City of Cambridge, Public Art Collection