Iceland from the Outside: A Collaboration with Barbara Hines & Alexander McQueen Duncan

The beauty and grandeur of Icelandic glaciers captivated artist Barbara Hines. She wanted to share her vision of this dramatic natural wonder, so she snapped some photos. The photos would inspire a years-long journey culminating in an exhibit of large-scale sculpture inside a high rise apartment building in New York City.


How many collaborators would Barbara Hines need to realize her vision? As it turns out, not that many.


The  Challenge


Iceland from the Outside, an exhibit of painted works and sculptures by artists Barbara Hines, Alexander McQueen Duncan and Roger Winter, in collaboration with Staging Solutions, would require a particular combination of skills not usually found under a single roof: artistic design, skilled fabrication, strategic virtual communication, freight management, and logistics, to name a few.  As Hines’ artistic expression morphed from photography to painting to sculpture, she relied on Staging Solutions to be a partner every step of the way.  


Staging’s Kellee St.Clair adapted Hines’ vision to three dimensions with a focus on fabrication, travel, installation, and coordinated communication with Alex and Barbara, who were living and working around the world throughout the design process.


The exhibit space was an unfinished apartment on the 65th floor of a building in New York, so the sculptures had to break down for transport and be re-assembled in the space.  It was also up to Kellee to design and build the exhibit space to include gallery walls and lighting for the numerous works of art.


How did this small group navigate such enormous challenges?

The Solution


Everything begins with good communication. Kellee leveraged Staging’s production expertise to manage global communication throughout the design and planning stages to keep the vision crystal clear.


Internally, Kellee communicated the artistic direction to our fabrication team, and chose innovative techniques – melting sheets of plastic with blow torches and using heated glue to assemble and disassemble pieces – to bring the design to fruition. The finished 12’ x 8’ sculpture was disassembled in Houston for transport to NYC, delivered in pieces to the 65th floor of the building in a small elevator and through narrow corridors, and reassembled in the gallery space.


Design and installation of on-site activations and lighting is one of Staging’s specialties, so Kellee and his production team constructed false walls and hung lighting in the apartment; the lighting was then focused to ensure each piece in the exhibit was properly featured.

The Conclusion


Big ideas require big vision, but not necessarily a big team. Staging Solutions offers a unique scope of capabilities that allows our clients to achieve great things, while being able to fit both the team and the finished product inside a small NYC apartment.


Iceland from the Outside drew a lively crowd of luminaries, including the exhibiting artists Hines, Duncan, Winter, Staging’s own Kellee St. Clair, and the former president of Iceland, President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson.  But the 53W53 MOMA Tower show was just the tip of the iceberg: The exhibit moved on to Chelsea, where there are plans for additional post-COVID tour dates.