Betty Woodman art installation in Beijing

Betty Woodman installs her pieces in the new US Embassy in Beijing.

Full Transcript

0:21 WOODMAN: So I started on this project two years ago, right?
0:25 OTHER 1: It seems that way.
0:28 OTHER 2: It’s only 150
0:34 OTHER 3: Oh, that’s not bad
0:42 OTHER 4: How many of these?
0:49 WOODMAN: There’s 6.
0:52 OTHER 3: 4 shows.
0:57 WOODMAN: No, 8. 8 of these.
1:04 OTHER 3: 4 shows.
1:09 OTHER 4: There’s 8 of these.
1:16 WOODMAN: 8 shows(?).
1:20 OTHER 4: 1, 2, 3, 4.
1:27 OTHER 3: 1, 2, 3, 4.
1:34 WOODMAN: Oh, they’re going …
1:38 GEORGE: It’s level.
1:39 WOODMAN: It’s level?
1:40 GEORGE: Yes.
1:41 WOODMAN: Okay, Gordie?
1:42 GORDIE: Yes?
1:43 WOODMAN: Watch out, George. Okay, it’s level here, so you pull it up so it seems straight
1:48 to you.
1:54 WOODMAN: We let this hang for a day so that the fabric can kind of find its home here
2:12 and move.
2:14 WOODMAN: It’s very different … experiencing this place than it was trying to imagine it
2:23 in my studio so I’m pretty nervous about how is this going to look, how is looking
2:35 as we’re actually installing it, seeing it. It never occurred to me to put something
2:41 small on that wall, but I could have. The ceiling to the very peak is 30-some feet.
2:53 And then I guess the piece is 27 feet, or 30, and 11 feet wide, and that’s very high
3:05 (laughs). If you look down, it seems like a long ways up here. So I think the actual
3:13 physical building is about 37 feet high and so I suppose my piece is actually about 30
3:23 feet high, I’m not quite sure what the height of the piece is but this is the first time
3:31 I’ve ever made anything of that scale vertically. And I was concerned to have it read from a
3:42 distance and have it still have a feeling of lightness and openness and not have it
3:49 feel too heavy with the ceramic elements mounted on the paint. So they’re sort of blown up
3:58 in scale and yet I hope there’s still enough openness around them.