Thursday, March 31, 2016

Installing "Cotton" at the Textile Museum in DC

(Above:  Me ... assisting with the installation of Cotton: Triangular Trade at the Textile Museum for the upcoming exhibition, Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

It is hard to believe that a week ago found Steve and me in Washington, DC.  We delivered my installation, Cotton: Triangular Trade, to the Textile Museum on the George Washington University campus on Thursday afternoon. 

(Above:  Exhibition signage on the circular staircase at the Textile Museum.)

On Friday morning we were treated to a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the internal efforts and finely orchestrated choreography needed to bring a scholarly exhibition into existence. The staff is highly skilled, totally patient, and absolutely willing to put in the hours to make a stellar show.  Personally, I was floored by their respect.  I'm not really used to being treated like a "real, professional artist" ... someone whose opinions matter, someone with vision, someone with talent. 

I'm more accustomed to the role of "starving artist", a person "in waiting" in the wings, hoping for a chance, praying for a few seconds of time.  Well ... I got more than a few seconds.  The time was magical.  I had no idea that I'd actually get to assist! In a nutshell, Friday was glorious. 

The six 60" x 40" foam-core panels on which I'd wrapped the seventy-two strands of cotton bolls were taken out of the loading dock on the freight elevator.  They went to the second floor.  The individual strands were removed by one person ...

... and brought to me.  I handed each one up to the two-people on the Genie Lift. Each strand was draped over the eight-foot-in-diameter ring that the Textile Museum constructed for the installation and had suspended from the ceiling.

Soon, the ring was filled with cotton.

My final task was to adjust the height of the strands ... making sure they didn't drag on the floor.

The staff will set the lights later ... extenuating the shadows on the hardwood floors.

Honestly, I had no expectations to assist in the installation.  I provided information that clearly stated that the team could install in any manner.  I'm simply proud to have a piece in this international show.  It was truly a wonderful experience to be included.  By the way, Steve took all the photos ... including ...

...this one!  By the time all the strands were in place, we all wanted to sit a moment inside the private circular realm!

Steve also snapped this photo of the "master plan" ... a scale model for the exhibition layout ... complete with a photos of my installation in the location where it is now hanging.

(Above:  Grant's Memorial ... under a restoration tent.  View to one of the four lions.)

To celebrate a most magnificent day, Steve and I went to the Smithsonian Portrait gallery to see the Outwin Portrait triennial.  It was stellar ... really, really good!  The Smithsonian Portrait gallery and American Art Museum (both housed in the old Patent Office) are open late ... until 7 PM.  From there, we enjoyed a spectacular sunset while walking toward the Capitol.  I wanted to have my photo taken beside the bronze lions at Grant's Memorial.  These stately beasts appear several times during the opening credits of the Netflix series House of Cards.  Since I've had my photo taken while atop a Sir Edwin Landseer's lion in Trafalgar Square, I figured I needed a photos beside these sculptures too.  Unfortunately (or fortunately ... depending on how one looks at the situation), Grant's Memorial is entirely under restoration tents.  Acid rain, vandalism, and general aging requires treatment.

(Above:  The Capitol ... from Grant's Memorial.)

So ... I could "see" my lions but I couldn't get much nearer to them ...

... so I snapped this photo of my shadow directly underneath one of them!  From DC Steve and I went to Slippery Rock for an Easter dinner with my parents, my sisters Wanda (visiting from Munich) and Sonya (and Sonya's husband Vipin), and Mara ... our nephew's new bride.  (Tony, our nephew, was at an out-of-town bachelor party for his friend.  Family friend Waldi was also visiting.  It was a great weekend and a perfect time to share the exhibition catalog.

(Above:  Exodus.)

Since returning from the Easter weekend adventures, I've constructed several new pieces and have prepared for three deliveries.  Tomorrow The Cabinet of Curiosities will be transported to ArtFields, a nine-day competition in Lake City.   Steve and I will pick up the rental cargo van in the morning!  Yes!  The sculpture is too tall for our mini-van.  Then, we will transport the LED project I've been fabricating to it's show on Main Street.  Plus, on Monday Steve and I will be taking my solo show, Last Words, Eternal Rest, to the Georgia Agricultural Museum in Tifton, GA.  But that's not all!  Exodus has been accepted into the 2016 Decatur Arts Alliance juried show ...

(Above:  The Virgin of Gone and Forgotten Triptych.)

... and The Virgin of Gone and Forgotten Triptych has been juried into 2016 Fiber National at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA where I'll be teaching a workshop!  Yes!  I'm busy!  It is exciting!  I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber art.


Shasta Matova said...

That cotton exhibit looks great. How wonderful that you were able to install it exactly how you wanted it displayed. I wish I lived closer.

Sandy said...

Love the cotton installation! I should think it is very impressive for anyone coming into the space.

Glad for the exposure for Exodus!

Deb Hardman said...

Just awesome!!

Cathy Perlmutter said...

The cotton piece is extraordinary. I'd love to experience it.