I’ve received any number of off the wall, or on the wall, project proposals in support of exhibition development at the Woodson Art Museum. My coworkers visit my office in the Museum’s workshop bringing ideas and reference photos that could lead to interactives used in Art Park, or tangible items to support artworks and exhibitions. My latest project at the Museum bridges interactive and support as it is an interpretation of the historic architecture of the New York City subway stations and a functional seating object for Museum visitors.
Assistant Director and Collections Curator Amalia Wojciechowski recently visited the workshop with several reference photos and a proposal to build a subway station bench to complement the new permanent collection exhibition A Civic Wilderness, now on view through June 16. With the photos, dimension needed to fit the bench in the “oval room” of the Museum’s South Galleries, and words of encouragement, I was off and running. There was only one problem. I didn’t have the right materials.
Fortunately, I was told about an old warehouse basement that was full of an astonishing array of live-edged slabs of wood from native northern Wisconsin tree species. I knew this would be the perfect place to find the oversized lumber required for this project. On a Thursday afternoon, I selected four large pine boards and one week later, they transformed into the bench that is currently installed in A Civic Wilderness.
It’s not often when Wausau and New York come together. When it does, I’m game. However, I am thankful she didn’t ask me to make turnstiles.