Installing John Scott's Trans Am Apocalypse No 2

The National Gallery’s Technical Services team received a request to install the “Trans Am” – as we call it. It is a simple request. Yet, John Scott’s Trans Am Apocalypse No 2., was no ordinary installation. This artwork presented us with one of those rare occasions when the entire Technical Services team had to work together on a single task. We also got to spend little time outside, which was a nice change.

The first step in moving Scott’s work was to ensure it was in the right condition to move. Once the car was ready to roll, we had to check the forecast and plan for a sunny day because this vehicle cannot travel in the rain; the writing carved into the car exposes the bare steel beneath and water would likely cause rust or other damage to the work.

When all the stars were aligned, we rolled the car out of storage and, using another car, towed it out of the underground parking garage and onto the street. The passage into the front door of the Gallery was tight which meant this part of the operation had to be accomplished by manpower alone. Once inside the front doors, we hooked the Trans Am up to our electric orange tow-cart and pulled it up the ramp into the great hall and then back towards the contemporary galleries.

Seeing a Trans Am drive through the Great Hall is quite a sight. It’s also a big job that requires a lot of planning and teamwork, but it’s the kind of task I really enjoy and one that certainly helps me get out of bed in the morning.

Video by Peter Zimonjic

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