Behind the Scenes: Installation of “New Artifacts”

By: Danielle Meeker, Curatorial Assistant

Does looking at these photographs of the exhibition New Artifacts: Works by Brent Kee Young and Sungsoo Kim make you curious about the installation process?

We started planning the installation of New Artifacts over the summer. At the time, several works in the show were still in progress, so we had to base our layout on the artists’ estimates for the works’ dimensions. We made several studio visits to check on the progress of the artwork and then came up with a list of what to include in the show. We tried to keep the amount of work by both artists roughly equal. Although Sungsoo Kim has more individual pieces, Brent Kee Young’s sculptures are larger. Similarly, when we were designing the show’s layout, we tried to intermix the artworks so that viewers could compare the two artists’ work.

Installation view, New Artifacts: Works by Brent Kee Young and Sungsoo Kim, Courtesy of the Akron Art Museum, Photo by Joe Levack

Installation view, New Artifacts: Works by Brent Kee Young and Sungsoo Kim, Courtesy of the Akron Art Museum, Photo by Joe Levack

This was one of those exhibitions where we weren’t sure what it would look like until we had all the art unpacked and placed on the pedestals (which we had been building for weeks). Artworks that we felt should be framed by doorways for maximum impact ended up occupying too much space in the center of the room, restricting visitors’ movement around the gallery. We either had to rearrange the layout, or include fewer works in the show!  On top of that, security personnel were very nervous about damage to the artwork because of the tight quarters. In the end, we figured out that by placing more works along the walls of the gallery, we could accommodate all the artwork we had planned to use and keep the work safe.

Installation view, New Artifacts: Works by Brent Kee Young and Sungsoo Kim, Courtesy of the Akron Art Museum, Photo by Joe Levack

Installation view, New Artifacts: Works by Brent Kee Young and Sungsoo Kim, Courtesy of the Akron Art Museum, Photo by Joe Levack

While the Akron Art Museum’s show change team mounted all 150 shelves used in artist Sungsoo Kim’s wall compositions, the artist wanted to arrange the glass pieces himself. So Kim figured out where he wanted each piece to go, sometimes stepping back to get a better view of the entire composition. After Kim had placed all the work, museum staff carefully secured each piece to its shelf.

Installation view, New Artifacts: Works by Brent Kee Young and Sungsoo Kim, Courtesy of the Akron Art Museum, Photos by Joe Levack

Installation view, New Artifacts: Works by Brent Kee Young and Sungsoo Kim, Courtesy of the Akron Art Museum, Photo by Joe Levack

Did you know that we built a new pedestal for Kim’s three towers after this photo was taken? The height of the first pedestal just didn’t feel right with the rest of the works in the room, and we wanted the towers to be experienced at eye-level. Come visit the exhibition in person and see if you notice the difference!

Installation view, New Artifacts: Works by Brent Kee Young and Sungsoo Kim, Courtesy of the Akron Art Museum, Photos by Joe Levack

Installation view, New Artifacts: Works by Brent Kee Young and Sungsoo Kim, Courtesy of the Akron Art Museum, Photo by Joe Levack

Artist Brent Kee Young has specified that his monumental Cubism, Contiguous Lineage… Interrupted can be shown many different ways. We hope to rearrange the eight pieces halfway through the exhibition. Do you have any ideas?

"Cubism, Contiguous Lineage...Interrupted" in Brent Kee Young's Studio, Courtesy of the Akron Art Museum

“Cubism, Contiguous Lineage…Interrupted” in Brent Kee Young’s Studio, Courtesy of the Akron Art Museum

Did this summary of the installation process raise any questions for you? Post your questions for the curator in the comments section below.

 

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