Monday, April 12, 2010

Truck, Wait, Plane, Wait, Pint

Things are never dull here at the Addison. I recently served as courier to accompany an object we are lending to the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) in Dublin, Ireland for their Vertical Thoughts: Morton Feldman and the Visual Arts exhibition. The trip was not nearly as long or complex as my adventures with our Coming of Age exhibition, but did have its challenges, and rewards, as well.

The object we lent was an ink on paper by Barnett Newman (see left). Thankfully, it needed only a small crate, a much easier package to deal with than the multitude of large crates I traveled with Coming of Age. I left with it on a truck from our art storage vault to Logan Airport's air cargo facility. I stood with our export and security representatives for hours in the cold warehouse, dodging the speeding forklifts, waiting for another shipment to come in that would share the pallet with my crate on the plane. As it turned out, that other shipment was canceled, and our wait had been in vain. However, my crate ended up traveling on its own pallet, an ideal situation for fragile artwork and a best case scenario for any museum Registrar.

Finally, the crate and I were on the plane for the red eye to Dublin. And red eye it was for I didn't sleep a wink on the flight. When I arrived just under six hours later, it was morning, and time for another wait in the cold outside Dublin Airport's air cargo facility. Well over an hour later, the crate was loaded on the truck and we made our way through the Dublin Port Tunnel, across the Liffey, and into the parking lot of the IMMA (see below).

I had yet another wait in the cold, this time in drizzle, for security to let us into the exhibition space. But finally, the crate was safe and in place within the museum. I still had one more wait, this time for 24 hours for the crate to acclimate to the IMMA's interior climate, before it could be opened and the object inspected and installed. I didn't spend that wait in the cold, however. After being awake for over 36 hours, I got a nice, long, uninterrupted night's sleep at my hotel (a true luxury for someone with an infant at home) and managed a moment to enjoy a pint of "fresh" Guinness on Irish soil.

The installation went smoothly with IMMA's fabulous crew, and then I was on a flight back home the following day. It was a fast trip, but I've gotten used to doing them once or twice a year. You have to take the good with the bad: wear warm clothes, learn to pass time, be ever vigilant, and of course, enjoy the pints when you can get them!

Posted by:

James M. Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

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