Lights, Camera…and Research
We get a lot of questions about the preparation that goes into an exhibition. Truth be told, it’s endless. First, of course, is the conception of the show and the research. For Sensual/ Mechanical, the research has been going on for over 18 months. I’ve wanted to organize a show that demonstrates the origins of Kauffman’s work, ever since reading several articles published at the beginning of 2010. Critics and authors seemed unaware of Kauffman’s beginnings as a painter, and his intentions as an artist. Equally, the critics seemed to be misinformed about the sensual content of the work.
Our research into oral histories, correspondence, and notebooks revealed a direct connection to Marcel Duchamp’s Large Glass, as well as to Frederick’s of Hollywood advertisements. Like Kauffman said, his sources included Dada, Duchamp, Mondrian, Abstract Expressionism and a “sexual biomorphic mixture with mechanical things.”
When the content is developed, we go about communicating the work—by photography as well as words. Moving these paintings around and setting up the photo shoot is a job for expert art handlers—and our photographer, Anthony Cuñha. We spend a lot of time and effort in setting up the shoot to create the pictures, but here’s a little peek behind the curtain—to show how the magic is made.
Art handlers are also called in when it’s time to hang the show. Carefully moving around these irreplaceable works of art, they place the pieces throughout the gallery. By the time their white-gloved hands are holding the work, a fully conceived layout has been made by the gallery director. All the works have been inspected and cleaned. The result is something that has been a big revelation for all viewers so far. Our show’s meaning and historical importance wasn’t lost on Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, who talked about the link to Marcel Duchamp on KCRW yesterday.