Drawing Michael Craig-Martin’s Book Glasses Ironing Board Table

March 5, 2014
Michael Craig-Martin’s Book Glasses Ironing Board Table (1978) in the Barker Center. © Michael Craig-Martin.

In recent weeks, Harvard Art Museums’ Collections Management staff have been installing Book Glasses Ironing Board Table (c. 1978) by Michael Craig-Martin in Harvard University’s Barker Center. This was no ordinary installation, however. Using a digital projection of the artist’s preparatory drawing and the artist’s written instructions as a guide, the staff traced the image by sticking black adhesive tape on the wall to produce the final wall drawing.

This work, which is part of the Harvard Art Museums’ collections, is one of a series of the artist’s wall drawings—installations that depict everyday objects and raise questions about medium, physical existence, and space. Book Glasses Ironing Board Table was shown in Craig-Martin’s inaugural wall drawing exhibition in 1978. He describes the drawing as “a key work . . . it was one of the first drawings I did of common objects, which remain to this day the cornerstone of my work.”

To properly install the drawing, the team not only followed the artist’s written instructions but also had conversations with Craig-Martin, who advised staff about what tape to use and gave tips on how to correctly produce the image’s curves. The photo above shows the process of the installation.