After a two-year absence, the six maquettes, or preliminary models, that were perched on the seventh-floor plant deck of the Atrium are back pointing, waving and peering after being reinstalled in their boxes.
They’ve been joined by four new figures and all are characters from The Audience sculpture by Canadian artist Michael Snow. They are about a third of the size of the final figures that are suspended above the two main entrances to Toronto’s Rogers Centre.
“Each character has such a strong personality and, after two years, it’s really good to see your friends again,” said David Smith, assistant curator/preparator with the Art Gallery.
The original six, including Pointer, Bruiser, Binoculars, Point-to-Sky, Man & Child and Waver, were taken down after a structural problem with the deck was identified in 2016. The statues were not in danger of falling but a restraining handrail was beginning to bend as a result of pressure from two steel cables attached to two of the sculptures. They were moved to the U of L’s Art Vault while reinforcements were made to the plant deck.
While they were in storage, students in Museum Studies helped to clean the sculptures usingcotton swabs and a special conservation detergent. Given to the U of L by an anonymous donor in 1995, the maquettes are made of wood, foam, burlap and plaster. They vary in size with an average weight between 75 and 85 kilograms.
“While we missed the sculptures the two years they were down, it gave our students the chance to learn about hands-on collection care, cleaning, repairing and the whole process of doing a project,” says Juliet Graham, Art Gallery registrar.
The four new maquettes installed include Ribbon Bronx Cheer, Blow-a-Kiss, Fatso and Thumbs Down. Still in storage are Heart Attack, Nose Thumber, Camera and V-for-Victory. Art Gallery staff hoped to display all 14, but the final four can’t be installed yet because their box interferes with a drop-down screen attached to a nearby concrete beam.