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A sticky situation at the Brooklyn Museum

Sticky situation: Artist Sun K. Kwak — who works exclusively in masking tape — is covering a gallery in the Brooklyn Museum. Her piece will be open to viewers from March 29 through July 5.
for The Brooklyn Paper
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Who said masking tape was only good for putting up old Dylan posters? Artist Sun Kwak uses that prosaic household material as her prime medium of self-expression.

Over the next two weeks, Kwak will finish covering the Brooklyn Museum’s fifth-floor gallery with her sticky new piece, “Enfolding 280 Hours,” a swirling mural made out of three miles of black masking tape.

So much tape is a big investment. One 60-yard roll, two inches wide, sells for $2.99 at American Housewares on Court Street in Downtown Brooklyn, which says it typically sells the rolls one or two at a time, not eight dozen at a time.

“Three miles of tape? I couldn’t even guess how much that could cost,” said store employee Dwayne Dumont. “I don’t even want to try doing that math!”

As a service, The Brooklyn Paper took out the abacus and did the calculation: Kwak’s mural would require 88 rolls and cost $263. Dumont said he’s never had a customer buy so much at one time — or use it in the manner of Kwak.

The artwork is unique for the Museum, too.

“This is our first masking tape piece,” said Judy Kim, a Brooklyn Museum curator. “It will give museum visitors an experience they’ve never had before — they can walk through and see what a transformative power an everyday material like masking tape can have on the space.”

There’s more to the piece than just putting down tape; Kwak, who began in early February, uses computer models and drawings as a guide.

“Visitors to the museum are very excited — [they] watch the progress every day,” said Kwak, whose prior works can be seen at the Ch’i Contemporary gallery in Williamsburg.

“Enfolding 280 Hours” will be on display from March 27–July 5 at the Brooklyn Museum [2000 Eastern Pkwy. at Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 638-5000]. Kwak’s other work is at Ch’i Contemporary Fine Art Gallery [293 Grand St. at Roebling Street in Williamsburg, (718) 218-8939].

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Reader Feedback

meanstreet from Manhattan says:
I wonder if she actually went to the store and bought the tape all at once, or perhaps she bought it wholesale. Or maybe she didn't buy at all and some generous benefactor spent the dough for her to support the arts.
March 11, 2009, 10:27 pm

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