If you happened to be near the intersection of University Avenue and Frances Street this past Saturday around 9 a.m. or so, you may have seen me and six other people carrying a long, narrow object covered in green bubble wrap. It wasn’t a battering ram or an ungainly building component, but a piece of art. UW-Madison art professor Derrick Buisch painted it as part of a series of five pieces called “Peripheral Paintings,” which are being installed in various nooks and crannies of the Chazen Museum of Art for a faculty show that opens on February 1.
Buisch assembled a group of friends and family members on that cold grey morning to move the painting from his studio in the Art Lofts building (near the Kohl Center) to the Chazen, a trip of less than half a mile on foot. Most of the people who showed up had some experience handling art in a professional capacity. I don’t, and I’d always thought of tasks like this as being strictly for the experts. There’s a reason that museums and galleries pay people to prep and install artwork. But Derrick helped me move a couch once and I helped him move a bookshelf once, so I suppose this was the next step in our rotation of moving favors. I don’t often end up socializing with people I’ve written about, but Derrick’s been one of my favorite painters for years, and over time we’ve gotten to know each other and play music together.
“I always try to get help with moving the big paintings because they are heavy and cumbersome and a lot of times at risk of becoming sails,” Buisch says. “Plus the easiest way to ruin a painting is moving it.”