“Martin Creed’s playful installation will activate the East Wing, one of the museum’s signature galleries and put the work in dialogue with the extraordinary architectural setting and the comprehensive permanent collection,” stated C. Griffith Mann, Ph.D, the museum’s deputy director and chief curator. “The timing of this acquisition is purposeful in that this installation, together with the museum’s recently reconfigured contemporary galleries has been scheduled to run in tandem with the completion of the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland’s new building, scheduled to open in October. This is a moment when Cleveland is showcasing its engagement with international contemporary artists.”
First created by Creed in 1998 with white balloons as Work No. 200 and then proposed indifferent colors in subsequent years, Work No. 965 (2008) comprises purple balloons, 11 inches in diameter. The sculpture is installed, based on the artist’s instructions, to fill half a room’s entire volume with air-inflated balloons and to let the viewers walk in. Now in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the work marks a passage in the history of this institution: it offers a stronger link than any other object between the museum’s visual arts collection and its performing arts programs. Half the air in a given space debuts in the museum’s southeast corner gallery, a tall cubic room enclosed in glass on three sides.