Who said masking tape was only good for putting up old Dylan posters? Artist Sun Kwak uses that prosaic household material as her prime medium of self-expression.
Over the next two weeks, Kwak will finish covering the Brooklyn Museum’s fifth-floor gallery with her sticky new piece, “Enfolding 280 Hours,” a swirling mural made out of three miles of black masking tape.
So much tape is a big investment. One 60-yard roll, two inches wide, sells for $2.99 at American Housewares on Court Street in Downtown Brooklyn, which says it typically sells the rolls one or two at a time, not eight dozen at a time.
“Three miles of tape? I couldn’t even guess how much that could cost,” said store employee Dwayne Dumont. “I don’t even want to try doing that math!”
As a service, The Brooklyn Paper took out the abacus and did the calculation: Kwak’s mural would require 88 rolls and cost $263. Dumont said he’s never had a customer buy so much at one time — or use it in the manner of Kwak.
The artwork is unique for the Museum, too.
“This is our first masking tape piece,” said Judy Kim, a Brooklyn Museum curator. “It will give museum visitors an experience they’ve never had before — they can walk through and see what a transformative power an everyday material like masking tape can have on the space.”
There’s more to the piece than just putting down tape; Kwak, who began in early February, uses computer models and drawings as a guide.
“Visitors to the museum are very excited — [they] watch the progress every day,” said Kwak, whose prior works can be seen at the Ch’i Contemporary gallery in Williamsburg.
“Enfolding 280 Hours” will be on display from March 27–July 5 at the Brooklyn Museum [2000 Eastern Pkwy. at Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 638-5000]. Kwak’s other work is at Ch’i Contemporary Fine Art Gallery [293 Grand St. at Roebling Street in Williamsburg, (718) 218-8939].