So what exactly was I DOING in Santa Fe last week, you ask?
The designer Todd Oldham was Honorary Chairman of this year’s auction. There’s really nothing Todd DOESN’T design: clothing, housewares, interiors… In a way, it made perfect sense that he should create an art event. In any case, Laura wanted a designer on hand to assist him in the days leading up to the auction.
That’s where I came in.
Todd had already come up with the concept, of course, which involved shots of neon color within SITE’s gigantic white and black galleries. My job was to help him do whatever needed to be done: wrapping cocktail tables in neon fabric, painting the rims of the serving trays he’d designed…you know, the usual stuff :)
But nothing came close to what I shall call, affectionately, “Vials A Go Go.”
Todd had ordered roughly a gazillion pink, green and yellow test-tube-like vials to make centerpieces and whatever else he came up with on site. At SITE’s entrance, Todd had placed three eye-searing, pinkish-orange, box-like check-in desks.* (Tyler, the poor guy spray-painting them in the parking lot, was caught in a crosswind and ended up looking like he fell asleep at the beach.)
But something was lacking.
I’d created some medium-sized centerpieces out of the vials just in case we needed them. Todd fiddled around with those for a while, and then we embarked upon a glue-gunning odyssey the likes of which the world has never seen.
Using the centerpieces as the starting point, we glued many, MANY more vials to the top and sides of each desk. The idea was to make them appear as though they were tumbling down, leading you into the galleries. (That’s Todd’s partner Tony in the picture, one of the sweetest men you’ll ever meet.)
Then, as though that weren’t enough, we used a squirt bottle to fill each vial with water and put orchid-like flowers in them. I believe they were Cymbidium…Todd knows a lot more about flowers than I do.
There was, however, one foe lurking in the wings, just waiting for the right moment to sabotage our beautiful, edgy installation.
That foe was gravity.
During the preview on Friday evening, the vials slowly started coming loose and clattering to the ground. They were plastic, so they didn’t break, but they did spill water everywhere and create quite a mess. SITE’s quick-thinking staff just kept picking up the vials and flowers and putting them in a water-filled bucket behind the desk, but it was a real pain.
So Saturday a.m. found me back at the gallery, more powerful glue gun in hand. If the one I used before was a derringer, this was a bazooka. No messing around. And we decided to nix the water; the flowers could go without for 15 hours.
I’m delighted to report that not a single vial came loose on Saturday. Not one. That victory, plus I got to work with a super talented, super cool, super lovely designer AND the funky fresh staff of SITE.
All in all, a successful trip.
*Today’s blog entry has been brought to you by the hyphen.