It sent the public mad in 1971
The Tate Modern is to restage sculpture that sent public ‘mad’ in 1971.
Almost four decades after the Tate staged a ‘seminal’ interactive sculpture that left many women with splinters, it is to house an updated version of the structure again.
But this time health and safety has been called in to ensure nobody is injured exploring Robert Morris‘s giant work Bodyspacemotionthings.
Back in 1971 the public ‘went bloody mad’ – according to one contemporary report in The Daily Telegraph – when told that they could actually climb all over the sculpture by the pioneering American artist.
The idea of people being allowed to touch a work of art, rather than just staring at it, was completely new at the time. However, the visitors’ ‘exuberance’, as it was described, led to a number of injuries and it had to be closed after four days.
Michael Compton, Keeper of Exhibitions at the time, said staff ended up ‘picking splinters out of the backsides’ of miniskirt-wearing girls who were intent on sliding down the rough plywood used to cover the structure.
This time the safety-conscious Tate is taking no chances. Curator Kathy Noble said: ‘We are using a higher-grade ply this time.’ The revised sculpture – which people can climb on, crawl through, see-saw on and of course slide down – will be placed in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern from May 22 to 25 as part of its UBS-sponsored event, The Long Weekend.
Noble said the idea was to revisit Morris’s work and see how a modern audience would react to it. ‘It was a seminal exhibition,’ she said. ‘It was a landmark in Tate’s history.’