Extra olives with a light dusting of acetone, please: Gabriel Orozco’s pizza crust, part of Working Tables, 2000-2005. See the piece in context here. (Photo courtesy of MoMA.)
If there is something that absolutely inspires the art nerd in me, it’s the totally whacked out materials used by some artists. Blood. PeaRoeFoam. A stuffed angora goat. Which is why I was quite excited to find a pizza crust in the Gabriel Orozco retrospective when I visited MoMA last week. The above crust, part of the piece Working Tables, resides in the museum’s stately permanent collection. (It is very important crust.) Which got me wondering: what exactly does a museum do with crust? Is it Orozco’s original crust? Or is it replaced regularly with fresh crust? And what about crust munchers like roaches and mice?
For answers to these burning questions, we turned to MoMA’s associate sculpture conservator Roger Griffith, who has worked in the museum’s conservation lab for more than a decade. Griffith, it turns out, has some experience dealing with art objects made of food. Among them, Janine Antoni’s Gnaw , an installation that consists of 600 lbs. each of chocolate and lard that has been gnawed by the artist. (No doubt a joy to maintain). He was also the man in charge of caring for a small block of artist-made cheese fabricated from human breast milk at a temporary MoMA exhibit several years ago. (“My job was to make sure it didn’t mold,” says Griffith. “I would just take it out of the fridge, pat it down, salt it and put it back.”) He was kind enough to give us the lowdown on pizza à la Orozco:
- The Crust is O.G.: This is Orozco’s original crust which has been with the museum since MoMA acquired it in 2005 from the Marian Goodman Gallery.
- It’s Part Plastic: Part of the reason this crust (which is at least five years old) still looks good — and hasn’t been attacked by critters — is because it was treated by the museum’s staff upon arrival. When MoMA acquired Working Tables, the crust was a normal, everyday crust. But once it entered the museum’s conservation lab, it was bathed in acetone (“to remove the fatty acids, the parts that cause degradation,” explains Griffith) and then soaked in a solution of acrylic known as B-72. The acetone dissolves the fat; the acrylic replaces it. To keep it looking natural (acrylic has a tendency to shine), the conservation department spritzed it with an acetone mist to eliminate unnatural sheen. Voilà! Plasticized pizza dough that looks totally real, yet barely ages. (Like some Upper East Side ladies I know…)
- It’s Stored in Highly Secure Packaging: When the crust isn’t on display, it’s put away in marva-seal, which according to this website, is the same packaging that the U.S. military uses to wrap its MREs (or Meals Ready to Eat). Which strikes me as incredibly handy, because if all hells break loose, we can always drop Orozco’s crust somewhere over Afghanistan — solving all manner of foreign policy woes.
The Big Wheel, 1979, by Chris Burden. Part of the group show, Collection: MoCA’s First Thirty Years, at MoCA in Los Angeles, through May 3rd. (Image courtesy of MoCA, via Art Observed.)
- In L.A.: Nathaniel de Large at Cirrus Gallery in downtown, through Jan. 30.
- In Huntington, N.Y.: Contemporary Mark Making: Blurring the Line Between Drawing and Writing at Alpan Gallery, through Jan. 23.
- In Madrid: Palladio, the Architect (1508-1580) at CaixaForum, through Jan. 17.
- In Luxembourg: Tomás Saraceno, Dans le cadre du cycle Habiter, at MUDAM, through Jan. 3.
- In Santiago, Chile: Gordon Matta-Clark at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, through Jan. 24.
Product Packaging (Garrison Household 12/08 — 3/09), by Rich Garrison. (Image courtesy of Rich Garrison.)
A sculpture crafted from bomb fragments, by Angel Recino, in Perquin, El Salvador, an area that was once the de facto capital of FMLN-held territory during the Salvadoran Civil War. (Photo by Paige R. Penland.)
Cry/Fix by Exene Cervenka at Western Project in L.A. (Image courtesy of Western Project.)
- In L.A.: Exene Cervenka and Wayne White, We’re Not the Jet Set, at Western Project in Culver City, through Sept. 5. (LAT.)
- In L.A.: The first annual Malibu Art Fair kicks off on Saturday 12pm at the Malibu Country Mart.
- In Seattle: A one-day only show of tiny art in an alley 1618 10th Ave W. Queen Anne, this Saturday, beginning at 2 p.m.
- In Denver: Jim Green at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art, through Aug. 30. This looks like a must-see.
- In NYC: Self-Portraits at the Skarstedt Gallery, through Sept. 4.
- In Osaka: Yayoi Kusama at Six, inside the Comme des Garçons store, through Nov. 8.
- Love these murals. So L.A.
- Attention, Photography Types: Conscientious is having a portfolio competition.
Persepolis Part II by Sadegh Tirafkan at LACMA. (Photo by C-M.)
There is something about the crunch of boots on gravel that I find indescribably appealing. It’s something I associate with being a kid, when, every evening, I’d hear the sound of my dad’s pick-up pulling up outside our house, followed by the percussion of his boots all the way up our gravel driveway — and I knew that it was time to eat. (I was born hungry.) Which is why I was so excited to run into Sadegh Tirafkan‘s video piece, Persepolis Part II in the Ancient Iran galleries at the L.A. County Museum of Art.
The piece consists of two monitors, each with video of Tirafkan walking silently through the ruins of Persepolis, the ancient Persian capital. The video is rather dreamlike: the two images of the artist continually walk deliberately towards each other, but never meet. And all that is audible is the scraping sound of his feet on dry rock. It transforms the gallery, which is filled with lifeless shards of ancient pottery, into something more dynamic (if nostalgic).
If you happen to be popping into the museum to check out Art of Two Germanys, a detour to the Ahmanson building to check this out is totally worthwhile. The installation will be up through March.
In other news: I’ve got a lot going on workwise, so I’m cutting The Digest back to four days a week, Monday through Thursday. Thanks for reading, xox, C.
“Dude, you were supposed to bring a dish.” (Photo by Yvonne Connasse.)
- Congrats to Amy from Seattle for winning the C-Mon Holiday Giveaway Extravaganza! The glittery brutalism is all yours!
- 100 cereal boxes. Love that there were once cereals called Corn Crackos and Wackies. (Coudal.)
- MOCA Mess-a-palooza, Unnamed Sources Edition: Museum director Jeremy Strick allegedly resigns, Mayor Tony wants this to be a public process and the NYT reports that the museum is leaning towards accepting the Broad deal, but the LACMA offer has not been completely discarded.
- Late addition: Interview Magazine‘s Dec./Jan issue is devoted to art and features Q&As with, among other high profile ah-tists, William Eggleston, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince and Raymond Pettibon, who says that Gumby appealed to him as a subject because “he could go into books and become part of the story.”
- The International Asian Art Fair, which was scheduled for March in NYC, has been cancelled.
- Sketches may be Leonardo Da Vinci’s.
- Blagojevich’s hair inspires ironic tee.
- Richard Dorment at the Telegraph lists his top 10 favorite exhibits.
- And Damion Hayes lists 5 artists he likes.
- Art on billboards, Moscow edition.
- Today’s Graff, Trailer Style: Elfo in Italy.
- Holiday Street Art. (Hrag Vartanian.)
- Looking Around lists the worthwhile architecture books of the season.
- Your moment of Please, Please, Please.