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Draw the Curtain

BP Graphics makes history in the capital city.

Print Shop: BPGraphics |
Location: Washington D.C.
Tools and Supplies: Duratex Premium 9-ounce Mesh, Durst Rho 500R press, Miller Weldmaster T112 hot air welder, nylon braided rope, HP Latex 3600 press, 3M 40C self-adhesive vinyl.

TAKE A STROLL through Washington, D.C.’s National Mall and you may see sights such as the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, the Tidal Basin reservoir’s famous blossoming cherry trees, perhaps hundreds of people attending a demonstration or celebration, and Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden of international modern and contemporary art. And in the fall of 2021, passersby were also greeted by the biggest single work ever displayed at the Hirshhorn: a four-story, 861-foot-long building wrap.

As the Hirshhorn Museum began extensive exterior renovations on its unique drum-shaped facade with months of unsightly scaffolding expected, the museum commissioned Swiss artist Nicolas Party to create his largest artwork to date, “Draw the Curtain.” Phoenix-based BPGraphics was tasked with bringing the 360-degree digitally collaged pastel painting to life.

The shop printed 123 panels of Duratex Premium 9-ounce mesh using its family of Durst Rho 500R presses and then used one of their Miller Weldmaster T112 hot air welders to weld twisted nylon rope into the perimeter of each mesh, creating an embedded keder edge. A unique track system, designed by Sail Systems, was attached to the exterior of the scaffolding surrounding the entire building. The keder edges of each mesh panel were then slid into the channels of each track.

Not wanting the face of the Sail Systems bare metal track to be exposed and break up the artwork, BPGraphics printed 3M 40C self-adhesive graphics on their HP Latex 3600 presses to fill in the missing image between each mesh panel and create a seamless canvas. The graphics – all told the length of two football fields, turned a construction site into an art installation depicting faces peeking out from behind famous curtains from art history.

“Taking the artist’s image and breaking it down into variable bay widths was the most unique challenge.” says Dave Stuedemann, senior account director, BP Graphics. “It was critical that the calculations for material stretch and finishing specifications would result in the left and right sides meeting perfectly to create a continuous image. We were glad to be a part of this monumental project.”




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