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Part Five

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Note: The background photos show the installation of the artwork by the framer, Steve Craig.

For years I didn’t know what to do about the dilemma of my enormous fragile artworks that remained marooned abroad, precariously stored in the crates that were never meant to be used for a long journey overseas. Then one day, in the summer of 2017, I received a notice that they had to be urgently moved from storage or they would be dumped onto the street. Thanks to the referral of a longtime friend who had worked for years in LA for companies that specialize in packing, shipping and installing precious artworks, an arrangement was made with a similar company in Barcelona to construct the sort of safe, sturdy crates that I had paid for in LA but were never made about 25 years earlier. I sighed with relief when the glass artworks arrived to my door in the same condition that I remembered them the last time I had seen them, way back in 2004. However, there was still an incredible problem: that the enormous modular wooden frame that held together 12 individual square panels of “Les routes de La Grande Odalisque (The Large Brain)” had not been returned to me.

The twelve square panels had been received, without the frame, in two crates, six panels in each. The frame had been brilliantly conceived way back in 1981 by my cousin, who was a cabinet maker and building contractor, in such a way that the twelve panels were held together with a tongue-in-groove assembly wooden frame that could easily be taken apart and put back together like a giant Erector Set. Once again the artworks remained in storage, for more than a year, as it took time to find someone to build a similar frame. Most fortunately, the assembled artwork with the new frame just barely fits inside of my new private art gallery from floor to ceiling, though minus legs that previously had perched the entire huge stained glass screen about 18 inches from the floor. New legs were made to be attached to the artwork should it be transferred to another space with a higher ceiling

What a crazy story, I thought to myself, that I ever created this monster artwork out of such fragile materials, that it was sent across the ocean under such an unimaginably high risk scenario and that it remained abroad for a quarter of a century, seemingly for almost no purpose at all.

Nevertheless, while rarely seen by the public since my fatal presentation of the artwork to the Parisian art world in 1987, visual and written depictions of it have been documented in numerous publications, including books commemorating historical events in both Paris and London, concerning the relationship between art and two of the major urban underground transportation systems of the world.

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