Villa Living at a Price You Can Afford

Gifford Myers
Villa Living at a Price You Can Afford
Ceramic, c. 1980
3 x 5 x 2 1/2 inches
Gift of the Richard H. Mumper Trust
1994.140

Part of a 1980s series of tiny, often wall-mounted ceramic houses, Gifford Myers’ Villa Living immediately wins over the viewer with its jewel-like presence, its cunning attention to detail, and its sophisticated integration of spatial illusion in the reflected landscape visible in the windows and sliding-glass patio doors of these luxury suburban homesteads. Myers leaves it to the viewer to recognize the absurdity of the exaggerated row-housing aesthetic that crams its “units” so tightly together that there is no room for privacy, even though each plot must have its own separate, color-coded swimming pool. It’s a scene that brings to mind the folk song “Little Boxes”—“There’s a green one and a pink one / And a blue one and a yellow one . . . .” The only fence in sight is visible in the reflected landscape, cutting off the “Villa” dwellers from the as-yet-undeveloped mountain landscape in the distance.