Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Time Between Shows -- Part III
The Preparator's View

Last week, we heard from seven art and culture museum and gallery curators and directors about how they feel about and experience the time between shows -- the period following the public end of one exhibition and the public opening of the next.

Today, we present a preparator's view of that same period.

Here's the link back to what the curators and directors said.

And here's what Matt Driggs, an L.A.-based artist, curator, and accomplished preparator, says:

"As most of the people that have written on this subject are on the curating side
of the "between exhibitions," I will speak to my experience as Chief Prepartor
and Exhibition Designer at the USC Fisher Museum of Art.

"The Fisher is a small-to-medium sized institution perhaps a little bit bigger than the Torrance Museum. At the Museum, between shows it was all hands on deck - the preparators, curator, educator, receptionist and even the director could be called on to perform a task (though the director was usually the last person you would ask
for help).

"An exhibit would end -- the old artwork was taken down, placed in crates, packed
and shipped out -- walls were torn down, new walls put up - mudded and painted,
and new crates were shipped in for the upcoming exhibition.

"Curators became registrars - white gloves placed on hands to remove the artwork from the crates (as not to mark up the object) and every nook and cranny of the artwork checked for scratches, nicks or marks. If there was an aberration on the painting or sculpture, it is marked down on the condition report to provide proof that the Museum was not liable for its damage.

"When there was a small exhibit at the Fisher, I would perform 90% percent of the
installation work. If there was an elaborate installation for an exhibit, I
could be in need for up to seven [additional] preparators to install and handle artwork. During these busy times I would act more as facilitator than workhorse, moving with each of the workers and stopping to help them when a difficult task would come up.

"During my time at the Museum I could had scrubbed the floor with little more than a toothbrush and the next minute (after a hand wash and some white gloves) moved and installed a painting well worth over a million dollars."

-- Matt Driggs, former Exhibition Designer and Chief Preparator at the USC Fisher Museum and former Curator at Edward Giardina Contemporary Art and Raid Projects.


Here's the link back to what the curators and directors said.

And here are a few photos from the time currently at TAM between shows.