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Behind the Scenes: Katharina Grosse Installation

Director Joe Thompson offers the dirt on the progress of the Katharina Grosse installation.

When Katharina Grosse asked for 600 or 700 cubic yards of soil, shaped into mounds, for her upcoming work, One Floor Up More Highly, that seemed a straightforward enough request.  But then – once we engineered solutions for floor loading, and sourced the right mixture of loam and clay – the question arose, how the heck do we get the dirt into the building?  While we pride ourselves on our DIY, bootstrapping approach, anybody who’s moved a yard or two of dirt knows that this was no job for wheelbarrows.  So we swallowed our pride, cancelled the order for Advil, and called in local earthmoving experts Jim Galusha and Brian Turton, who helped devise an ingenious system which used a front end loader, three interlinked conveyor belts, and, inevitably, some strong backs and many shovels.  It worked: the earth…  moved …  under our feet, and our excellent fabrications crew is still smiling, having dodged enlistment in the wheelbarrow brigade.

Now all we have left is a little cleaning up to do, as Katharina prepares to undertake a massive painting in which she claims the entire building’s walls, windows, floors — and the dirt mountains — as her ground.

The show opens Dec 21, which, by the way, may be the worst day ever chosen for a museum opening: it’s a Tuesday (we’re normally closed on Tuesdays, just to make it worse) and this is smack dab in the middle of holiday frenzy. But there are three good things about it: Katharina’s work is going to be spectacularly beautiful and strangely eerie, like a Casper David Friedrich landscape; it’s winter solstice, the days grow longer from this day forth; and we’ll be serving hot toddies, so the 27 of you who come will have a terrific time.  Oh, and you can shop for holiday gifts at our store Hardware too.  Join us!

Posted December 9, 2010 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Exhibitions, Katharina Grosse
5 Comments »

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5 Comments on “Behind the Scenes: Katharina Grosse Installation”

  1. Chris Says:

    It’s a dirty job but somebody’s got to do it~!

  2. Nippertown! Says:

    [...] installation fills with massive Building 5 gallery with Grosse’s largest commission to date. Cool video here, showing the ingenious way the MASS MoCA folks managed to get 700 cubic yards of soil into Building [...]

  3. Nippertown! Says:

    [...] new installation fills with massive Building 5 gallery with her largest commission to date. Cool video here showing the ingenious way the MASS MoCA folks managed to get 700 cubic yards of soil into Building [...]

  4. ArtBeat: What To See | Nippertown Says:

    [...] new installation fills with massive Building 5 gallery with her largest commission to date. Cool video here showing the ingenious way the MASS MoCA folks managed to get 700 cubic yards of soil into Building [...]

  5. ArtBeat: What To See – Nippertown! | Says:

    [...] new installation fills with massive Building 5 gallery with her largest commission to date. Cool video here showing the ingenious way the MASS MoCA folks managed to get 700 cubic yards of soil into Building [...]

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