Tuesday, July 03, 2012

What’s in that crate?

This time it’s a work by Picasso (Buste de femme 1943) on the occasion of the first display of the artist’s work on the West Bank around this time last year. But who made the crate we hear you ask. It was fabricated by the German firms Hasenkamp Holdings and the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics, and weighed 200k as it happens. 

It turned out that the biggest hurdles to bringing the painting from its home in the Van Abbemuseum in the Netherlands to the West Bank wasn't museum politics but ‘Palestine’s ambiguous legal status as an occupied nation’. Try that as the starting point for negotiations with your insurers some time. 

The painting was seen by 4000 people over three weeks (only two people were allowed to view the work at a time) in the International Academy of Art Palestine (IAAP) in Ramallah. The crate was exhibited in an adjacent room for people to pass as they queued to see the painting. The whole event was organised by the Academy's artistic director, artist Khaled Hourani. At Kassel Hourani presented a short video documenting the painting being prepared for its trip to Palestine with the news coverage. 

Last words to Hourani the expert negotiator, "Picasso in Palestine is an art project that aims to probe mechanisms, procedures, obstacles and requirements in getting a painting of this kind to Palestine. By doing so it sheds light on [Palestine’s] contemporary reality."

Images: Top the crate in Holland and Palestine. Middle hanging Buste de femme and a billboard ad for the exhibition. Bottom Buste de femme on display. You can read the full story here (part 1) and here (part 2), an account of museum negotiations here and a short clip of the painting being hung and displayed here.