I was involved with installing Coulter Fussell’s exhibition The Raw Materials of Escape, and I had a lot of fun. Katie Hirsch, the curator, carefully thought out where each quilt should be placed to make a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing exhibition. She also told me that we would usually use gloves to protect the artwork, but with Fussell’s special permission we were allowed to handle her artwork with our bare hands. I never thought that I would be allowed to touch the artwork in a gallery on my first day. Feeling the textures of each textile and seeing how she stitched her artwork was an incredible experience.
Before sending her artwork here, Fussell added pieces of Velcro to the back of her pieces to make the installation easy, or so I thought. She would have one long piece of Velcro at the top followed by smaller scattered pieces around the quilt so that each piece stays flat on the wall. Figuring out how to center these asymmetrical pieces was quite a challenge, but Andrew, the Halsey’s preparator, was able to make each piece perfectly centered. This job was so easy to him that it seemed like he did all of the math in his head.
One of my small intern jobs for this installation was attempting to hide all of the cords and wires for Butch Anthony’s exhibition. They handed me some tape and told me to cover the extension cords without using too much tape. I thought this would be an easy task, but it took me an hour to cover the section of the floor panel using an ample amount of tape. The cords were twisting in awkward ways, and I could not make the wall look aesthetically pleasing. I knew I would have to redo this job next time I came in, but to my surprise, another staff member had already made that area look amazing. At first, I felt bad, but she said it took her nearly a whole day to make it look perfect. The people who work at the Halsey are dedicated professionals who put all their effort towards perfecting every detail.
-by Gretchen Hertel, Halsey Institute intern