Art Insider, posted April 15, 2007 at 01:01 PM
I had a glimmer of art world glamor yesterday--an all too rare occurrence these days. I had visited Tibor de Nagy Gallery to see their Joe Brainard show (it was wonderful), and then was heading down Fifth Avenue. I thought I'd pop into MoMA to see the Jeff Wall show. As I turned onto 54th Street I saw that the street was closed to traffic and that a few flatbed trucks were parked there. Dangling above one of the trucks from an enormous crane was a huge curved steel plate. This is how Richard Serra sculptures are installed: carefully, one plate at a time.
Serra has a big show opening on June 3 at MoMA. A couple works will take over the famed sculpture garden for the duration, and that's what they were installing yesterday. (See more images in technekai's Flickr photostream and This Week In New York's Flickr photostream). My company has designed the 400+ page catalog for the show, fulfilling a long-time dream of adding MoMA to my client list. We worked very closely with Richard Serra and, though we were rather pressed for time and the months working on it were rather stressful, it was one of the most fulfilling working processes I've yet had on any book.
So I watched from the street for a while as the large steel pieces were hoisted over the garden wall, then I made my way into the museum to watch from the inside. Standing at the crowded window, peering intently as Serra, his wife Clara, their assistants, and the MoMA curators and staff moved about or just sat and watched, I longed to be part of the family that had insider access to the garden. Well, as soon as I had that thought one of the curatorial staff recognized me positioned there like a puppy in a window, pointed me out to Clara, and next thing I know Clara was picking me out of the crowd and escorting me into the garden. Clara as nightclub doorman, and me as supermodel.
Richard is a real showman, and the nature of such large scale sculptures allows their installations to be performances of grace, great ballets of steel and cranes, precise steps of nimble workmen in hardhats. A table was set up with the installation's architectural plans laid out on it. Richard had placed our big heavy book on one corner to hold it down. I was gratified to be complimented on the book by the show's curator, by one of the museum's deputy directors, and by Richard. I watched one plate being positioned, adjusted, set down as simply and carefully as a cherry on a sundae, and then, not wanting to overstay my welcome, I took off into the museum to see the Jeff Wall show. I hated it. Totally boring.