Having Faith: Site-Specific work
If you purchased the catalogue for HIDE: Skin as Material and Metaphor, you may have seen detailed images of the work, Dark Water, by artist, Michael Belmore whose solo installation will open in September in part two of the exhibition. The complete work, composed of 11 sheets of hammered copper balanced on steel stands, was actually only recently finished in its entirety in time for shipping to New York. It has taken Belmore over 18 months of work to complete, including time spent researching and acquiring maps of the New York waterways, design, and the arduous process of shaping the copper with a blowtorch and endless hours hammering.
An early design drawing (left) and the finished work, Promise (2007) by Jeffrey Gibson. Photo by Jeffrey Gibson.
One of the exciting, and some would say, most nerve-wracking aspects of planning exhibitions with living artists is giving them the opportunity to create new work. Design drawings, lists of materials and measurements can only tell you so much; you often don’t really know how the final product will come together until it arrives or is installed on site. For Off the Map, which I organized at the GGHC in 2007, we worked tirelessly with the artists Jeffrey Gibson and Erica Lord, to help them plan their site-specific works, respectively, Promise and Binary Selves. The results were beyond our expectations. The only drawback to this approach is that work not completed until the installation cannot photographed in time to be included in the exhibition publication. It is definitely a trade-off, but the new work we’ve seen so far has underscored, for me, the importance of encouraging new work in our galleries from these young, smart and talented artists. We await the arrival and installation of the complete work, Dark Water, with much anticipation!