September Daily: Day One
I Waited Almost Three Years For This: The Genesis Trimmer

30 Seconds at MoMA

What a lovely, lovely day!  The day began here:


And now, I will go into excruciating detail.  Because I had so much fun and I can't help myself!  But, I'll do it in bullet points, so it's minorly more readable.

  • My appointment was at 10am.  When I arrived around 9:50am, the guard told me that the museum didn't open until 10:30am.  So, I was sent to wait for Thilo Hoffman (the artist/filmmaker).  It was the first time I'd ever sat in the MoMA lobby and had it be empty!
  • When Thilo arrived, he was a tall, well-spoken guy.  He told me that I was the first person to arrive on time, let alone early.  Score one for my parents, eh? 
  • Thilo offered to take me into the museum the "regular" way or the "underground" way.  It wasn't even a choice!  Of course I wanted to go the secret underground way!
  • We went through a series of corridors and elevators and through the bowels of the museum.  I have to admit that I was pretty excited by what is essentially a series of empty hallways. 
  • Thilo was chatting to me, but I was busy reading the signs on every door and peeking around to see what I could see.  He asked me what my concept for my "30 Seconds" was.  I said that I wanted to create a scrapbook page based on a painting at MoMA.  His reaction was fairly negative.  Polite.  But, fairly negative.  I have to admit that I panicked a little inside.
  • We finally arrived at our destination: the staff lounge.  Modern leather chairs gathered around glass tables, with an *amazing* view of MoMA's sculpture garden.  After a few minutes, we were joined by John Wilson, who works at MoMA.
  • There was a little bit of chatting, but I finally figured that I needed to do a show&tell to get my point across.  I pulled out a few scrapbook layouts that I had brought with me.  These ones:



(By the way, I've never shared the layout above before.  I made it last September.  Cardstock, paint, pen, and a lot of foam adhesive.)


  • I saw the lightbulbs go off.  They finally understood what I meant by scrapbooking.
  • Best compliment ever: John, who works at MoMA, asked me if I had art training.  When I replied in the negative, he said something like, "Oh, well, that makes it even more impressive."
  • I know I shouldn't geek out over a simple passing thought.  I mean, it's just some guy's opinion.  But, one does like a person who works at (arguably) the greatest modern art museum in the world to think one has art training.  Right?
  • So, now that scrapbooking was a clear idea, we talked a bit about my vision for the video.  I told them that my thesis was "see and do."  See the painting and have it inspire you to do something.  In my case, make a scrapbook page.  They liked it a lot. 
  • We headed into the empty galleries to take some video of the inspiration piece I had chosen: Hope II by Klimt.  You can see it in the photo below.  I've also pointed out Thilo and John.


  • Then, we got to take another secret journey!  This time, up to the MoMA offices.  Thilo set up an overhead camera shot on a drafting table. 
  • He told me to take out all my supplies while he filmed.  And so, I just started scrapbooking!
  • I felt a little rushed.  Couldn't find all the pieces and people were watching intently (totally creepy), but here's my Hope II inspired scrapbook page (completely made from scraps, by the way):


And a closer view of the painting for comparison:


  • Nothing is adhered to the layout particularly well, I must admit.  I was rushing to get done!  I felt pressure!
  • It was interesting to have to think about how I could recreate the painting in a way that was quick, neat (no paint or spray ink), and accurate.  I've never "prepped" a layout in quite the same way.  I spent an hour or two the night before, getting it all ready to go!
  • After the layout was finished, we went looking for a place to talk about the audio.  Thilo, John, and I chatted a bit about whether it should be music or a voice over.  In the end, I decided that I wanted to (a) add some intellectual content, and (b) put myself (it was just my hands creating the layout) and my point-of-view into the video a bit more.
  • I sat for about two minutes, made some notes, and then pitched my voice over idea.  Basically, I connected my job in the theatre with my love of art with my passion for scrapbooking.
  • They loved the idea and we took three takes to wrestle it into 30 seconds.  Wow, 30 seconds goes by fast!  First take was 36 seconds.  Second take was 48.  Ooops.  Last take hit 30 seconds on the nose!  Yay!
  • As a last step, we went into the sculpture garden to take a "portrait" of me for the front of the video.  Thilo let me choose which of the photos I liked best.  In the end, we all agreed that there was one very friendly, "smiling with the eyes" photo that worked well.
  • And then, alas, it was time to say goodbye.  What fun, though.  I loved every moment of collaborating and planning and thinking about it. 
  • The videos won't debut until November, so I'm just going to have to wait for the finished product.  Sigh.
Thanks for stopping by!