ANIMAL’s feature Artist’s Notebook asks artists to show us their original “idea sketch” next to a finished artwork or project. This week, artist Aaron Graham talks about his recent installation at Croton Point Park, forces of nature and the mobile gallery that he founded with his mom.
Last year, my mother and I bought a twelve foot step van truck and converted it into a mobile gallery space. We named it Rodi Gallery. Over the last year and a half we have put together five shows and have made stops all over New York. We created Rodi as an alternative to the traditional brick and mortar gallery. The idea grew out of our dissatisfaction with the art world and the way in which art reaches the viewer and interacts with the world. We realized that a truck would be the best way to reach a large and more diverse audience.
It was my turn to have a show in the truck. I decided to collaborate with artist and friend Christian Hincapie. We wanted to create a fluid show where pieces would be able to hang inside and outside of the truck.
We didn’t want the show to be limited by the space inside the truck. I managed to get my hands on a huge old pool cover and we decided to organize the around it and use it as the centerpiece for the show.
We wanted to paint and cut the pool cover into sections so that part of it would hang from a tree and another part would serve as a wallpaper on the gallery walls inside the truck.
We completed the piece several weeks before the opening of the show and were able to do a test run where we successfully hung the piece between two trees.
It seemed to work and we were happy with how it looked.
For the opening we drove the truck to Croton Point Park in New York. The park sits right on the Hudson River. We found two trees that were the perfect distance apart to hang the piece. We hoisted the tarp halfway up when a gust of wind came off the river and whipped the tarp upwards and nearly pulled us off the ground. We had essentially created a giant sail. Every thirty seconds another wind would come off the river and whip and tangle the tarp around the trees. We quickly realized that we could not compete with the force and strength of nature. It was too dangerous to continue with the piece. We feared the tarp would break off a large tree limb and hurt someone. We had to think on our feet and change the piece entirely.
We decided to lay the piece flat on the ground and tie two of the corners to the base of the trees. The tarp was able to catch the wind on one side and pass under the surface creating a wave that would travel across the entire piece. It was breathing. We finished hanging the rest of the pieces just in time. We got a good turnout and people enjoyed art and a beautiful day at the park. You can check out the documentation from the show here.
AARON GRAHAM AND CHRISTIAN HINCAPIE, CROTON-ON-HUDSON (2014)