While most people are busy packing their holiday decorations away for the season, Tom Piche, director of art at the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art at State Fair Community College and Matt Clouse, registrar at the Daum, spent most of the day last Friday unwrapping gifts for the college and the community.
“These are the last two pieces to be donated from Dr. Daum,” said Piche, Director of the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art. “There is so much that is involved in acquiring a piece and Dr. Daum understood that so well.”
Dr. Harold Daum, who donated his personal collection of more than 200 works of art as well as the funding for much of the museum that bears his name, died Dec. 28
The focus of Friday’s work revolved around the physical aspect of obtaining and placing a piece of art in the museum.
“I don’t think that most people think about how the artwork gets here,” Piche said. “It is a complicated process that requires a great deal of planning, time and effort from many individuals who both work and volunteer at the museum.”
Perhaps one of the most difficult components is the shipping and unpacking of a work.
“The Rosen work for example had to be shipped from the artist’s studio in Davis, California,” Piche said. “Although it a large work, it is a very intricate piece of glazed earthenware.
“This type of material is not as strong as other ceramics; as a result the unpacking may take several hours if not days to complete,” he added. “Rosin even has publicly said that she recycles pieces of some works that may not have made as parts of other works.”
The piece arrived in Sedalia on Friday in a 6-foot by 4-foot wooden crate.
Nestled inside the box was the piece itself, wrapped in layers of padding insulation and high-density Styrofoam.
“The first step will be to remove the five sides of the box and then a ramp will be made from the front lid,” Piche said. “The piece itself is on casters and so we will roll it down the ramp before we start the process of removing the layers of protective covering.”
Piche said some artists would provide detailed instructions on how to remove and unpack the sculpture or work of art.
“Rosen oversaw the packing of this piece herself and was very concerned about its safety,” Piche said. “Unfortunately she didn’t provide any directions for how to unwrap the sculpture.
“Once we get it out of the crate we will peel away the layers like an onion,” Piche said. “It will be a time consuming process but it is something that we are familiar with and are trained to do.”
The actual moving of the piece requires a great deal of planning as well.
“For Rosen’s piece ‘Plunder,’ because her studio is located in a very remote part of California, we contracted a mover to go to her house to actually pick the piece up,” Piche said. “Then Ditzfeld Transfer took possession of the piece and got it here to us.”
Both Piche and SFCC President Dr. Joanna Anderson commended Ditzfeld Transfer for the generous donation of time and financial support provided to the college.
“Ditzfeld’s have supported the Daum in so many ways by transporting and shipping works for us,” Anderson said. “Without the support they offer by moving these pieces for us, many of our exhibits would not be possible.”
Once the piece is finally uncovered, it will be moved to the gallery space chosen by Piche.
One thing Piche must consider before placement of the work is made is how the pieces housed in the gallery will interact.
“The flow and spacing of the pieces is very important,” Piche said. “They have to work together visually and ascetically.
“Some artists are very specific and exact about the placement and set up of the work,” he said. “They will provide detailed instructions including measurements between spacing of the pieces; others trust our judgment and allow us to set the work as we see best.”
The three pieces that Piche and Matt were unpacking Friday are part of an eight-piece acquisition that is now part of the Daum’s permanent collection.
“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the NCECA Ceramics showing,” Piche said. “It will be held in Kansas City during the third week in March and thousands of artists and collectors will be there for the event.
“We have made arrangements for many of those individuals to travel to the Daum to view these pieces as well as a portion of the entire collection and the new exhibits that will be on display,” Piche added. “It is an honor to have Dr. Daum’s final two donations to be a part of that event and to be housed here as part of the permanent collection.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484