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Exclusive: Büchel's Statement, Part 3

Posted by Geoff Edgers  May 29, 2007 11:20 AM

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Before we get to the third part of Büchel's March statement, here's Martin's post after his visits to Mass MoCA to see how the staff has handled Building 5.

Earlier:
The first part.
The second part.

By December 16th – the original opening date of the show, the house, a major element of the installation was not even moved into Building 5. Needless to say that the house, which was cut into four parts in order to enter the building, needed a significant amount of time and labor in being appropriately reassembled and the interior dressed. Here is another example where the museum did not listen to Christoph’s concerns of advice. Firstly, this is not the house that Christoph selected. North Adams is littered with abandoned homes, which are condemned and could have been donated to the museum or acquired cheaply way ahead of Christoph’s arrival. Indeed Christoph selected from the two housing options he was offered after he had to pressure the museum into finding this important element. The one house was free and had even a whole interior, which could have being used, but the museum insisted that they would not be able to move it into the museum – yet Christoph had a cheap and realistic solution to this. This house was smaller and easier to reassemble then the house that Mass MoCA bought including the lot for $63,000 – with transport and rigging the price of the house was augmented to 98,000. This final price of course does not include the addition of sprinklers and dressing the interior. The purchase of this house gauged a significant part of Büchel’s budget without any concern to Christoph’s protest. And even still the contractors who dismantled house (that Mass MoCA spent precious budget money on) still managed to ignore Christoph’s instructions, cutting the house incorrectly resulting in a more labor-intensive re-installation.

The museum, repeatedly ignored Christoph’s expertise and advice on several issues, which ended up costing the museum valuable time as well as money – thereby affecting the budget significantly. In most cases the work that the museum technicians made had to be redone several times. For example, the technique used to build the end wall of the cinema (a cinder block wall measuring 53 feet across) had to be negotiated several times resulting in the moving of a huge scaffolding four times. In addition the museum spent money on brand new security doors for the cinema, which were already dismantled from the old cinema for free. These free doors would have been fine and would have saved thousands of dollars.

Certain elements, for example, a mobile home Christoph had selected was not purchased. The museum ended up saving a few hundred dollars on a purchasing a cheaper option of mobile home that was not approved by the artist. The museum technicians spent energy and monies dismantling the structure, only to end up rendering the mobile home unusable for the installation. This mobile home ended up being sent back, since it did not even fit through the museum’s recently constructed gate. No one had bothered to measure this mobile home to see if it would even fit into the museum. In the end the original mobile home the artist selected was then purchased – only after time, money and energy had been exhausted. This is one example of several as to how the museum proved to ignore the artist and mismanage a budget.

22muse_CA1ready.jpg
Vanessa Badino

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About Exhibitionist Geoff Edgers covers arts news for The Boston Globe..
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