What to expect when you’re expecting (an exhibition).
Two weeks ago, Crux (as seen from those who sleep on the surface of the earth under the night sky) was installed in the Potomac, the main rotunda at NMAI. It now hangs and rotates, as a result of a multitude of hours and of hands planning and weighing and balancing and adjusting. Five large plastic animals nearly perfectly balanced and counter-balanced from an inverted rowboat suspended from the ceiling. Engineering!
The morning of the installation: the emu, the possum, the sea eagle, and the shark, loaded onto carts, took the freight elevator up from the basement collections area where they had been corralled for the past several months. Then the elevator broke. The crocodile took the more scenic route: up from the loading dock to the mean streets of DC, through the staff entrance (allowed access despite lack of appropriate identification), and to the Potomac.
Three scissor lifts were employed simultaneously to lift the pieces in appropriate sequence. When the lifts descended, Crux was left to turn at will.
A curator delights.
And elsewhere? Garbage cans.
The piece above, Carapace, was originally made by Mr. Jungen at Frac des Pays de la Loire, in France, out of French plastic garbage bins. Les poubelles. When the piece was dismantled, the bins were systematically stacked, and shipped over the Atlantic by sea freight. Land ho, the port of Baltimore and thence to Smithsonian storage and finally NMAI. So many bins, so many bins.
Thorough inspection. Photo by Gail Joice.
And now, with the cleaner garbage bins, Mr. Jungen works on the reconstruction of the piece. Expect some changes. Jigsaws are currently being employed. There are plastic crumbs everywhere.
Many hands to raise them both. Luckily the artist is here to give his input.
Be ready. The 16th is right around the corner.
A very different installation. Leave the pins at home.