Sunday, November 28, 2010

Groovy II


I like kinetic art, so this past week at the Museum of Modern Art, when I saw Zilvinas Kempinas' fan installation by the garden windows, I said, "That's cool."

"Yeah, it's groovy,"

my friend said.

I thought: She's right. Groovy is the better word here. There were two industrial fans air-hooping two loops of magnetic tape (one is 20 feet, the other 26). My friend added it was like watching a fire. I added that it would be nice to have in a large loft.

It's called "Double O".

Apparently the museum's art handlers attend to the set piece, watching for malfunctions (such as when the doors to the sculpture garden are held open just long enough to accidentally demonstrate what happens when the tape hits the fan).

I like to think that the ever-vigilant art handlers indulge in a little treat every now and then, in whatever form. On a recent Monday, they were expecting (because they had ordered and paid for) a special delivery of eight dozen oysters brought down by an oysterman from Charlestown, Rhode Island. No doubt they were anticipating the brine, the gelid yum, the New England East Coastiness of it all.

Unfortunately, something happened (what did happen?) on the way to West 53rd Street: most of the oysters wound up at a gathering on the roof of 1000 Fifth Avenue. As told by The New Yorker in the magazine's November 29 issue, the Met's art handlers happily snacked on sixteen dozen bivalves plucked from pearly shells. Five dozen of those, apparently, were MoMA's intendeds.

Three dozen oysters actually landed at MoMA. After finishing an installation at 9 p.m., the Midtown gang consumed their molluscs in a basement break room known as "the mezzanine". The oysters were declared fantastic. The handlers stanched their indignation with champagne and beer.

That week, apparently, the oyster farmer mailed eight dozen oysters (heavy shipping charges included) to MoMA's handlers. They never arrived.

E-said one art handler, "They are probably right now sitting on a shelf in some postal hub, unclaimed — and stinky."

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