The Stonebreakers (All The Objects Needed To Install A Work of Art), 2004-2006 / 2011, trash from jobsite, 96” x 60” x 90”. Part 1/6 of The Realist Manifesto series.

Exhibited at: Murray Guy Gallery, 453 West 17th Street, New York, NY (January 7 - February 11, 2006)

"The Workers", MASS MoCA, 1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA (May 29, 2011 - April 14, 2012) show link

"Hi Jack!", Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th Street, New York, NY (August 2 - September 1, 2012) show link

Detailed material list:

Hammer: wooden closet rod covered in navy paint, gray silicone caulk, yellow dust mask straps, nails, black dryer belt
Nails and hooks: gold metal carpet threshold
Floor protector: cardboard toilet box, cardboard sink box, brown paper tape
Installer’s gloves: white Tyvek, pink thread
Pencil: yellow tent pole, black electric wire, orange earplug, wood glue
Level: oak, aluminum, thermostat thermometer, small glass vials, olive oil, yellow paint, wood glue
Tape measure: yellow plastic cup, white and orange plastic bottles, aluminum, black marker, wood glue
Spackle container: cardboard tape roll, cardboard caulk tube, silver foil duct tape, red duct tape, white plastic bag, clear tape, white Styrofoam, purple plastic strips, super glue
Spackle lid: clear plastic packing material, purple paper, silver foil duct tape, red duct tape, white plastic bag, purple plastic strips, found price tag, super glue
Putty knives: metal strapping, black packing foam, silver foil duct tape, silver plastic, white Styrofoam, glue
Sandpaper scraps: sheet metal, sawdust, wood glue
Sanding block: corrugated cardboard packing material, sheet metal, sawdust, wood glue
Painter’s tape: cardboard toilet box, blue faucet installation manual, clear tape
Paint stirrer: oak, white paper receipts, white paint, wood glue
Paint can: sheet metal, wooden closet rod, black plastic caps, white Tyvek, aluminum, cream air duct connector, metal hose clamp
Paint can lid: wire, white plastic bag, silver foil duct tape
Paint brush: broken broom bristles, sheet metal, nails, Douglas fir, white paint
Paint rag: white Tyvek
Ladder: Ipe, oak, Douglas fir, birch plywood, aluminum, screws, nails, nuts, bolts, wood glue
Wall label: white Tyvek, cardboard, black ink

The text for the hand written label is:

Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet, French (1819-77) The Stonebreakers, 1849-50, oil on canvas, 1.59 x 2.56 m, Gemäldegalerie Dresden (missing; presumed destroyed).

There is no more eloquent description of The Stonebreakers than Gustave Courbet’s own written in 1850 in a letter to his friend the art critic, Champfleury:

[It] is composed of two very pitiable figures: one is an old man, an old machine grown stiff with service and age. His sunburned head is covered with a straw hat blackened by dust and rain. His arms, which look sprung, are dressed in a coarse linen shirt. In his striped vest you can see a tobacco box made of horn and copper edges. At the knee, resting on a straw mat, his heavy woolen pants, which could stand by themselves, show a large patch; through his worn blue socks one sees his heels in his cracked wooden clogs. The one behind him is a younger man about fifteen years old, suffering from scurvy. Some dirty linen tatters are his shirt, exposing his arms and sides. His pants are held up by a leather suspender and on his feet he has his father’s old shoes, which have long since developed gaping holes on all sides. Here and there the tools of their work are scattered on the ground: a basket with leather straps, a stretcher, a hoe, a rustic pot in which they carry their midday soup, and a piece of black bread wrapped in paper. All this takes place in full sunlight, by a ditch alongside a road. The figures are seen against the green background of a great mountain that fills the canvas and across which move the shadows of clouds. Only in the right-hand corner, where the mountain slopes, can one see a bit of blue sky.

I made up none of it, dear friend. I saw these people every day on my walk. Besides, in that station one ends up the same way as one begins. The vine growers and the farmers, who are much taken with the painting, claim that, were I to do a hundred more, none would be more true to life.