Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Day of Lists

Today has been a day of lists. To-do lists. Board of Director's lists. Works in the Exhibition lists. Artists in the Show lists. Income and Expense lists. iPod Playlists (after all, making lists requires good tunes).

Yesterday Rachel Cook sent me a link to an amusing article by Jennifer Allen called Unsung Heroes. The article provides a snapshot of the life of a gallery assistant and illuminates the random and often absurd nature of that particular line of work. Rachel said it reminded her of her days working at DiverseWorks where every project involved a scavenger hunt for some must-have item required for the execution of a particular work of art. Anyone who has ever had the good fortune of working for an arts organization knows that there is a certain quirkiness about the work that we do. It's so much fun, I sometimes feel guilty for getting paid to do it.

During my time at DW, I've worked with hundreds of artists on countless projects and have fielded some pretty unusual requests for materials to be used in those projects. Last year as we were preparing for our 25th anniversary season, the staff thought it would be fun to assemble a list of some of this stuff. It's a fascinating and funny list--a long line of strange ingredients that, in the hands of the right person, can transcend its original function to become a fantastic work of art. So today, on this day of lists, I present the Partial Record of Random Stuff Used by Artists in Exhibitions at DiverseWorks Over the Last Ten Years list:

52 pop tarts
2000 hot dogs
a barrel of flour
100 gallons of peanut butter
2 ton cement horse
car engine
ping pong table
100 white weather balloons and 1 red one
11,000 feet of black tie wire
4 rolls of reflective tape
20,000 feet of fishing line
car airbags
paper snowflakes
10,000 plastic butterflies
a saddle
a purple monkey
toy fire engine
a working coke machine
a 10'x70' sheet of paper
a pallet of oranges
50 lbs. of onions
bales of hay
a bowl of matches
an ambulance (with a crew)
a pulpit
the contents of a small apartment
surveillance cameras
wooden fruit crates
36 tvs
7 old bedspreads
40 lbs of raw cotton
a baby pool full of jello
5 gallons of tumeric
enough crushed cigarette packs to make a 4 foot pile
disco ball
a barbershop choir
25 mixed breed dogs (it was for a video shoot so don't freak out)
a kindergarten class with teacher
a garage band
a mariachi band
gallon of ketchup
yoga instructor
6 members of falon gong
a block of butter measuring 2'x2'
8 4'x8' sheets of steel
bubble machine
red, orange, yellow and brown duct tape
40' table covered with newspaper stacked 2" thick
3 rottweilers (which we couldn't find so we used dobermans instead)
cowboy costumes for said dogs
a 10' stack of pillows
garbage bag of stuffed animals
polar bear costume (serious, not smiling)
old wooden boats - real ones
a wall-mounted water fountain
toy machine guns
tree trunk
cake icing
25' boomerang shaped rug made of black astroturf
bull horn
dog food cans

And yes, as a matter of fact we DO call that art. I love my job!

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