Yesterday was Day 1 proper and a great start. Within the first hour 50 people had come in. By the end of the day it was 286, well up on expectations and Jake and Ali, who had born the brunt of ceaseless animated questioning, looked shell-shocked.
At seven the second shift started. We had been asked if the show could be opened to the delegates of a conference being held at the venue: the audience were to comprise of ‘about 150 Arts Professionals’. It sounded good. We opened the doors. They came in. They gave it a stern look around. They seemed to warm to it. They seemed to like it. We started talking to people. We saw Kristy Edmunds was there from Melbourne. Kristy introduced me to Paul. Paul I recognised as DJ Spooky. DJ Spooky pointed out a Director of the Guggenheim. The Director looked intense. DJ Spooky said it’s a heavyweight room. Representatives from MOMA, The Met and all sorts were there. I thought “‘Arts Professionals’ doesn’t really cover it”.
Joe, the boss, says a few kind words and generously elicits the show’s first ever round of applause. He hands over to me. I say some ‘thank yous’, recognise less is more and get off the mic. Then its off to dinner.
Eating a smart, sit down dinner in an art gallery is a great experience. It feels both subversive and totally decadent. Handfuls of rice are scattered amongst candles at the centre of the tables, a well judged touch. Following coffee everyone was guided round a vast installation that is half way to completion. Then we were left to wander MASSMoCA’s remaining big galleries. Later, in The Mowhawk, we mulled over what we had seen and who we had met.
From Budapest there is rumour of political rallies, incendiary rice stats and armed guards on the doors. A big day for us all.