In an unassuming, newly built warehouse in Houston, artist Cai Guo-Qiang will be creating a gunpowder drawing, "Odyssey", at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and I will be one of his volunteer helpers.
The location is fascinating - a new warehouse, temporary air-conditioning, baseball bleachers for the audience, a speaker system, and fire extinguishers everywhere. On Saturday we had some training there, which was mostly a background of Cai (pronounced "Tsigh"), followed by a practice with one of the panels for the drawing. The panels are HUGE, 10 feet long by maybe 5 feet wide, and they must weigh about 80lbs. I know because I was lifting the bottom edge off the dolly and had half the weight on my hands. We have to be very careful not to touch the front surface or drop them. Imagine trying to move a giant, fragile panel with three strangers when you can barely touch the thing. There are 41 of them and I get the feeling we'll be laying them out this morning. Advil anyone?
I'll be posting more, maybe with location photos later. For now, here is a video of Cai at work on a gunpowder drawing in a warehouse on Long Island: