Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Great Extraction/drawn and QUARTERED!

In the midst of the current economic roller coaster ride, certain businesses are likely to disappear, and it's something anyone would expect. 4 years ago, when I forced a giant junk sculpture of a George Washington Quarter through a door far too small, into the backyard garden of a lounge in Brooklyn with a 5 year lease, I created a difficult dilemma which I've dreaded having to deal with ever since.
At the end of last month, the 5 year period abruptly ended, new lease unsigned, and I was forced to confront the problem I'd been worrying about for years. I figured that since I'd gotten it in, I could get it out. Piece of cake.
So on a sunny spring day in Brooklyn, me and a group of my friends set out to accomplish the impossible.
At first it seemed simple. I enlisted one of my roommates, who'd recently built the set for the Jimmy Fallon show, to help. I thought we could roll it through together. We'd take it back out the same way as it had been inserted. Momentum would be our ally. Yes we can! The door was tight, but surely it would fit. It had, after all, fit before. I just had to remember how.
On the count of 3, we gave it a massive shove. It stuck tight. Immediately, I remembered that the door needed to come off its hinges.
I was confident that this final adjustment would make our day a success.
I removed the hinges with a great feeling of relief, looking forward to being free from the stress that worrying about moving this artwork had been causing me.
George Washington, propped for the final time in his outdoor courtyard, would gaze his final glance, upside down, at his home of 4 years. During this time, thanks to the elements, the coin had become increasingly tarnished. Time for another transaction.
We dragged it out again...
...and spun it around.
At some point Shawn James, director of the Greenpoint Gallery, musician, actor and painter showed up to lend some leverage. He and I were the ones responsible for forcing it through this tiny door back in 2005. It was a crazy, dangerous move, and he told me then not to call him when I wanted it out, but I did, and he came. A true friend.
The three of us tried forcing it through the now doorless slot. After getting hopelessly stuck once again, we came to realize the building had settled. There was no way this giant coin was going to exit easily. It was man vs money, and money had this round.
Muttering expletives under his breath, Shawn called one of his special effects friends.
The nice thing about knowing people who work in movies is that they have the right tools and training to make impossible things occur.
The situation was reassessed, and a plan was developed involving power tools and a hydraulic jack. We would manipulate whatever variables necessary to extract this sculpture.
Several hours, many sparks, and a few beers later the time for the next attempt arrived.
With 2 guys pushing, 2 guys pulling, a couple of prybars, and a bit of coordination, the goddamn thing began to inch through!
Before I knew it, the outside world was gazing upon my rusty artwork for the first time in many years. Like a dubloon pulled from a sunken ship, it met the light of day to the astonishment of all lucky enough to chance by. A special thanks for the success of this grueling feat to Chris Jordan, who's used to flinging automobiles for Spiderman, and whose trailer paraded quite a spectacle across Williamsburg that day.
The sculpture is now on display at Papacitos in Greenpoint, in their outdoor garden, and will be throughout the summer.
I recommend the fish tacos. Buenisimo!
999 Manhattan Avenue, at Huron Street, Brooklyn

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