New Project for the Environmental Artist Michel Singer
My team and I, joined by our newest member, my son William, just embarked on a challenging project.
Michael Singer commissioned my company Arts Management Services LLC to remove several of his sculptures that are currently installed in his private gallery, and replace them with new ones. This is in preparation for a special visit next month by representatives of the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art). They are visiting his studio to possibly include his work in an upcoming exhibition of western and middle eastern art. They may also purchase something.
The work began at the end of April, 2016 and is expected to take several weeks.
The first sculpture pictured above, First Gate Ritual Series 1985, is over a hundred pieces and many are very easy to break. Adding to the challenge, every time the next piece is placed, the ash pieces bend under the additional weight, causing the entire piece to change, meaning that everything previously placed needs to be adjusted all over again. The key to this and every Singer sculpture is that horizontal and vertical pieces are level and plumb.
First Sculpture Complete
Not as fun a project as one might think but – hey – could be worse! After a couple weeks now my son and I have it all up. We are letting it ‘settle’ so that whatever bending the ash will do under the weight of it all, takes it’s course so that we can finish leveling it. Now we are leveling all the vertical and horizontal pieces for a final time which makes the entire work feel like it’s floating! We’re just happy it all hasn’t fallen down!
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Sculpture Number Two
Now we’re on to the next piece, Ritual Series Retellings 1999-2010, made of pine, cast concrete, bronze, copper, and stone. It measures 158′ x 209′ x 65”. Lots of heavy and fragile thick pine as you can see in the picture below. The grey walls are a stunningly beautiful, sand basted, then painted white, and finally dirt is rubbed into the nearly dried paint. The effect is a textured antique-looking surface with white and patinaed copper leaf sparkling thru.
Here is a fascinating video of Michael and his assistant Paul creating the patterns in the concrete.
This is a very different sculpture – no settling here. But as with the previous sculpture, horizontal levels and vertical plumbs are critical to the overall effect of quiet and other-worldliness which this work of art evokes.
The final days of the project are spent carefully inspecting both pieces and the entire gallery with last minute details such as light sanding of the marble surface to clean it of all dirt and finger prints, repairing wood surfaces that are slightly damaged in storage, and cleaning the gallery space.
The project was completed on time with a few days to spare. We always put a lot of long days in at the beginning in case of emergencies and to avoid crises at the end. When projects like this are completed without any surprises, it’s so enjoyable.
Here is an time lapse video of the installation of another Michael Singer sculpture, First Gate Ritual Series 10/78, by the staff of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in 1978. This gives you an idea of the effort involved.