The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Australia’s just-closed solo exhibition of works by the South Korean artist Do Ho Suh was one of the summer’s must-see shows in Sydney, but one tipsy visitor reportedly forgot the old maxim about looking with your eyes, not your hands.
According to a report by the Daily Mail citing tips sent to networking site The Aussie Corporate, during a recent private event at the museum for employees of global media and finance firm Bloomberg, one attendee fell on and damaged works from Suh’s Hub series, full-scale replicas of the doors and entryways of the various places the artist has lived rendered in colourful fabric and steel. The fall “appeared to detach two ‘doors’”, one tipster told The Aussie Corporate. “Definitely going hard for a Monday night!”
A spokesperson for the MCA told The Art Newspaper: “A visitor to the Do Ho Suh exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia accidentally stumbled which impacted an installation on display. Museum protocol was followed, and no one was hurt. The work was assessed by a conservator before the gallery space reopened to the public. The care of artworks is of the utmost importance to MCA Australia. Accidents do happen in museums and galleries, which is why all institutions have clear procedures for these situations.”
Works in the Hub series are among the best known of Suh’s large-scale installations, which consist of incredibly detailed replicas of spaces he has inhabited, each rendered in a monochromatic fabric scrim that evokes a ghost-like replica of the original space. Their bright, ethereal interiors make them incredibly popular venues for selfies and other social media fodder, while the tight domestic spaces they replicate present real logistical and attendance challenges for presenting institutions.
Large-scale fabric and metal installations by Suh have been known to sell at auction for six-figure sums—most recently at Sotheby’s New York, where Bathroom, 348 West 22nd St., Apt A, New York, NY 10011 (2003) sold for $189,000 (including fees) during a contemporary art day sale last November.
The Bloomberg partygoer’s run-in with Suh’s work is the second blue-chip fracas to hit the art world in recent weeks. At the Art Wynwood fair in Miami in mid-February, a visitor knocked a porcelain balloon dog sculpture by Jeff Koons off its pedestal, sending it crashing into pieces.