Episode Two: “Gave Away the Secret”

Spring exhibitions open as preparations for a new MoMA continue.
Sean Yetter September 20, 2019

What goes through the mind of a security supervisor who patrols a gallery? What hidden details can an X-ray reveal about a century-old painting? How does a contemporary art exhibition come to life, and why is ultrasound gel involved? Episode two of At the Museum gives away the secrets.

The table of contents below outlines what you can expect to see in this episode. If you would like to see the names of speakers, titles of artworks, and running dialogue, turn on closed captioning by pressing the “cc” button at the bottom right corner of the video.

Table of Contents

0:09 - Conservators Michael Duffy and Diana Hartman X-ray Henri Rousseau’s Sleeping Gypsy (1897).

1:01 - Ana Torok, curatorial assistant in Drawings and Prints, and Nectar Knuckles, curatorial fellow in Drawings and Prints, organize a model of the upcoming Betye Saar exhibition.

1:52 - Curator Esther Adler and chief curator Christophe Cherix join Ana and Nectar to review the model.

2:42 - The canopy over MoMA’s new 53rd Street entrance is installed.

3:31 - Members of the conservation and registrar teams put the finishing touches on the spring 2019 exhibition New Order: Art and Technology in the Twenty-First Century.

3:54 - Art handlers slice open bags of ultrasound gel to fill Anicka Yi’s Shameplex (2015).

4:06 - Conservator Ellen Moody instructs the art handlers on installing pins in Shameplex.

4:45 - Diana Hartman reveals her findings after X-raying Sleeping Gypsy.

5:40 - Security supervisor Chet Gold talks about his experience standing watch over Claude Monet’s Water Lilies (1914–26).

The eight-episode video series At the Museum offers a behind-the-scenes, cross-departmental view of MoMA’s staff preparing for the Museum’s reopening in October. Watch other episodes from Season 2 here.