Volunteers still being accepted
Update: Cai Guo-Qiang plays with fire and wants you to help
Update: MFAH has extended the volunteer application deadline past Sept 15. Volunteers are still encouraged to apply.
Want to work with a famed artist and try your hand at pyrotechnics?
Cai Guo-Qiang, renowned for his politically charged and literally explosive art, needs volunteers to aid in the creation of a “gunpowder drawing” to be featured at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The permanent, site-specific installation, entitled Odyssey, will cover the walls of the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Arts of China Gallery and supply a contemporary backdrop for the Chinese paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and bronzes that date from 13th century B.C. to present day. The piece is the largest and most ambitious permanent project for Cai to date and the first of five in the museum’s Arts of Asia galleries. MFAH Asian art curator Christine Starkman will oversee the installation.
Composing such an ambitious work is tricky. Volunteers will aid Cai in creating a cardboard stencil to mirror a drawing (produced by Cai and staff) on a series of panels covered in traditional Chinese calligraphy paper. The artist and his aides will then cut out the stencil and place it over of the drawing. The work will take place at a 25,000-square-foot local warehouse, one of the only places with the space to hold Cia's vision.
In all, 42 panels totaling 10 by 162 feet will be produced.
On “ignition day” Cai will combine black powder with pigment and other non-combustible materials, sprinkle it over a stencil and ignite the powder. The blast will create a series of intricate images on the panels. The finished work will be removed from the warehouse and become a permanent part of the museum.
While response for volunteers has been steady, many are still needed in order to meet the goal by the Sept. 15 deadline.
Those interested should contact MFAH volunteer coordinator Lesleigh Gilmour at (713) 639-7507 or by e-mail at email@example.com to receive an application and a liability waiver. Volunteers must be at least 18 and non-smokers to ensure that the only explosions are intentional.