Monday, October 3, 2011

Long Island City reprise

Some months ago I blogged about my trip to Long Island City for work. Here i will show the complete project that i assisted artist Keith Edmier to create. This work of public art was fabricated at the studio of Matthew Barney. Because of Keith Edmier's long standing friendship and work relationship with Matthew Barney he was given access to the dockside part of the studio which was required because of the scale of Edmier's work.

The entire process started with a lifeboat from a great lakes freighter. The first job i had was to strip the lifeboat of all seating, hardware and anything else that would interfere visually with Keith's new sculpture.
Next was the long process of stripping away as much of safety orange lead based paint as we could on the interior and exterior of the shell.
Here is an image of all the hardware and rotted wood stripped from the boat. Including some very cool metal floatation seats (stacked in the background) and a bunch of nifty hardware.
All holes in the bottom of the structure were then patched and the wood structure shored up with new pieces.
The floor planks were then replaced and the new finish began. The entire inner surface was to be coated with taconite. Taconite is a low grade iron ore that resembles large rust colored marbles. The work that Keith Edmier had conceived of is a meditation on the Edmund Fitzgerald disaster in the Great Lakes crossed with Viking ship burials. The Edmund Fitzgerald was carrying a cargo of taconite when it went down in Lake Superior in 1975. The final destination for the work was to be Pilan, Sweden where Keith had researched many aspects of Viking burial ritual and metal forging techniques.
Gravity was our friend during this process so the shell was rocked from side to side with a fork lift while we worked on the coating process.

Below is Andy who is an expert rigging man among other numerous talents. We worked together for about 8 days or so. Andy is very involved in Dietl International which is the most professional and well established art shipping company in the world. Suffice to say that Andy is used to problem solving on a grand scale.
The taconite creates a strange and beautiful surface with varied surface color.
One of the final parts of the sculpture was a stripped down anchor which was to be placed in the shell resting on the newly shored up platform.
Below are images of the final install in Sweden including the burial aspect and mound that is part of the work. The work titled "You gotta go out, you don't have to come back," is meant to change over time in its environment- grass will grow over the mounds, the anchor and shell will oxidize and finally the entire sculpture will be covered with a man made lake.

Here are a few links with more info on this great work of art.

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