Gerald and Sara Murphy on La Garoupe beach, Antibes, Summer 1926. Gerald and Sara Murphy Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Behind the Scenes, Part 1

I was fortunate enough to play a small role in helping Katy Schimert install her wall drawing, Oedipal Blind Spot, at WCMA. It was a fascinating experience to get to know a working artist and not only learn about, but literally take part in, her creative process. When Katie Price, co-curator of Landscapes of the Mind, asked me if I would be interested in helping Katy install her piece, I was incredibly flattered but also unsure if I had heard correctly. Why would a famous artist or well-established museum trust a lowly undergraduate art history and studio major to help with such an important task? I naturally came to the conclusion that I would be sharpening pencils or pouring out jars of paint. Boy was I wrong. Who knew that installing a “wall drawing” could involve using a hammer and threading needles?

After a nice introductory dinner at the 6 House Pub with Katie and Katy the previous night, I arrived at the Museum on Tuesday morning, unsure of what was going to be asked of me. I found the project “task force”—Katie, Hideyo, Betty, and Richard—grouped around Katy and her large brain piece, A Woman’s Brain, that was to be situated on the floor of the gallery near Oedipal Blind Spot. I did not have long to admire the work before I was off to Aubuchon Hardware in search of a replacement light bulb that was to be attached near the edge of the brain. Eager to complete my first official duty as Installer with efficient professionalism, I came back as fast as I could with two bulbs, each a slightly different shape than Katy’s original. While there were not many bulbs to choose from at Aubuchon, I picked the two I thought would best fit into the piece. My fear that Katy would disapprove of my choices vanished as I watched her miraculously take the larger bulb and screw it directly into the brain. It’s still there, too!

To be continued. . .

- Ethan Buchsbaum, Williams ’10

Comments are closed.