Behind-the-Scenes at the Gibbes
Hi there. It’s me again, Zinnia Willits, the Collections Manager at the Gibbes. In my previous post I shared an insider’s look at transporting artwork in crates and soft-pack materials. However, sometimes it is impossible to pack artwork in a crate or slip case. Here is an example:
This sculpture, titled Foundation, 2004, by North Carolina artist Juan Logan, was featured in the 2008 exhibition, Landscape of Slavery: The Plantation in American Art. It consists of 42 blocks made of cast ductile iron (the same iron used for railroad ties). Each block weighs 90lbs for a combined total weight of 3780lbs! Packing and shipping this piece presented an unusual challenge. Thankfully, Juan had shipped the sculpture before and put my mind at ease that movement was actually possible. The sculpture arrived on three pallets with fourteen blocks on each pallet. The blocks were interleaved with cardboard to prevent scratching and each pallet was enclosed in shrink-wrap.
Pallets were moved off the art truck at our loading dock and transported through the museum on pallet jacks. This was probably the most difficult part of the process given the weight of each pallet. Did I mention you have to be strong to work here? Once in the Rotunda Gallery, the sculpture was unwrapped and rebuilt.
Teamwork is a huge part of moving and installing artwork. Each member of the installation crew must be perfectly in sync to ensure the safety of the artwork and the art handlers. We are fortunate to have such a great team at the Gibbes!
Check back soon for the next installment of Behind-the-Scenes at the Gibbes. And as always, feel free to post a comment or email me with questions or suggestions.
Published December 21, 2009