Like most artworks on display, the sculptures were also barred from viewer interaction. Once, a child in the main gallery ran up to a massive (nearly 25 feet long and 5 feet wide), untitled work from 1989 and touched it. The compartmentalized box’s playground hues—bright yellows, reds, oranges, and blues—must have been attractive to the kid. One staff member scolded the errant parent and another fretted about the potential damage to the artwork from the oil on the child’s skin. I’d previously considered the piece so austere; in this moment I realized that it resembled a jungle gym.
One day, our boss alerted us that the New York press would be visiting the museum for a tour. The museum had flown them in just to see the show. I remember a wave of black infiltrating the light-filled institution. A sea of black pants and dresses. No one with much of a summer tan. At the top of the stairs, one journalist seemed genuinely awestruck. “This is incredible,” she said. Her praise reverberated around the placid, open space.