One thing that I find interesting about writing for this blog is that I really have no idea what or even who is going to proceed or follow me. I get a date on the calendar that my post is going to go up, and that’s about it. So I was surprised to find out that Meg was so very interested in crunching numbers because today I’m writing about how I take care of our “Numbers 0-9,” by Robert Indiana. A marketing ploy, serendipity, coincidence, or the pervasiveness of numerality: you decide.
Anyway, I’m going to tell you how I help to keep our numbers clean and looking good (I get lots of help). For the past few years I’ve invited IMA summer interns working in other departments to help me and the conservation interns wash the “Numbers” (you can go here to Flickr to see a ton of images of our sculptures and Indiana’s various versions of the same sculpture on exhibit around the world).
Washing these 8 foot tall painted aluminum artworks is a fair amount of work, even when you have the good help I had. It’s a fairly straight-forward process to clean the sculptures: we simply wash them gently with soap (I use Orvus ) and water. Really, that’s it, some soap and water, a few ladders and lots of me acting like Mr. Miyagi and demanding perfect motions when doing the work.
Beyond the actual work it’s also a time when I can provide a real example of some of the maintenance we complete on the outdoor sculptures to interns in the other departments. After all (and this number is for Meg), there are over 50 artworks scattered throughout the IMA’s grounds, and soon to be a lot more over in the 100 Acres.
There are two other things that I wanted to mention, one is that you can go here and see a drawing by Robert Indiana that shows what the organization of the numbers meant to him and why we arranged them so. I’m always intrigued by this notion that just by putting two numbers together you can achieve a kind off greater meaning.
The second thing I wanted to mention is the fine Wikipedia article that Jasmine made about the numbers this spring. I have it on good word that invitations for Lunch with the IMA’s director have been sent out to the 5 that made Wikipedia articles of IMA sculptures. I’ve been digging around to see if others have been made, but haven’t found any. Speaking of that, I hope our IT department doesn’t check how many times a day I look at Wikipedia on this computer….