Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bring It

Once again: from the top. A Set Decorator for a big movie needs bunch of frames in an impossibly short period of time.

This script writes itself. As it turns out, it's an industry cliche. We didn't even bother with extraneous dialogue.

Movie lady: "Can you do it?"
Me: "Yep."

Short & sweet. Cut & dry. Standard sizes, non-glare glass. 24 hours.

I endure my usual protagonist's struggles: problems with supplies, late delivery of materials to the shop, and sudden change of pick-up time to an hour earlier.

This shot was snapped as I was running by with 2 frames under one arm and my camera in my free hand as I helped the Set Decorator load her van. For real.

But I did pull it off once more (and on time)!
Framer raises arms in triumph. Music swells.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Quis faci?

A Classical-Modern Framing Conundrum

FACT: the Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the greatest museums in the world. Its period rooms and incredible special exhibits always command international attention, but its modern collection, in my opinion, is unparalleled. I felt this way even during all the years I lived nearer to NYC, and was a member of the Met (whose 20th – 21st Century collection still remains inexplicably lackluster). It has been my pleasure to be a member of "The Art Museum" since the minute I moved to Philly.

Some stand-outs: (Left) Sol LeWitt, On A Blue Ceiling, Eight Geometric Figures: Circle, Trapezoid, Parallelogram, Rectangle, Square, Triangle, Right Triangle, X. And (Right) Marcel Duchamp, Etant Donnes (see the retrospective exhibit NOW!)

Occasionally, the Museum hosts tours of its frames (yay!), and I attend with bells on. A few years ago, during a tour of contemporary frames, my small group stood in the Cy Twombly gallery. The guide pointed out something that should have been obvious to me: most of the canvases in the room were too large to fit through the door. She offered no concrete explanation, but left it to us to silently ponder.

I have thought about it some: the canvases were certainly stretched in the room. I do not accept that the door was finished after canvases were in.

Canvas stretching is one of the services we offer at the shop. Usually, a client will come in with a rolled canvas and want it stretched on wooden stretcher bars and then framed. A traditional look will include a linen liner, and a more contemporary look will put the frame directly on the canvas. An ultramodern look might involve a floating frame OR a gallery-wrapped canvas.

A gallery wrap means the canvas is stretched and stapled to the back of the stretcher bars, rather than stapled to the sides, which is typical when the piece is going into a regular frame. When the canvas is stapled to the back of the bars, and the image extends onto the sides of the bars, then there is a clean, finished edge and suitable for display sans frame.

Here's a proper gallery wrap done at the shop.

Then back to these Twomblys: to my horror I discover they have EXPOSED side staples! (?!?) Furthermore, they’re not even stretched neatly—the staples are not evenly spaced or angled the same way. Huh? What framer would do this and defy their sworn oath? Quis Faci?!

My theory: Perhaps this was in the artist’s instructions….to have the stretch be as visceral (a crazy scribbly mess) as the art. However you feel about Twombly’s work, he may actually be quite thoughtful and consistent.

PS. I am fond of Twombly’s work, particularly this gallery in the museum. However his stuff really annoys most everyone I love and admire.