Rats!

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While working on an a-list preview of the ICA’s Big Nothing, for today’s PW (that’s the new branding of the Weekly by the way), I contacted Curator Ingrid Schaffner to get a little morsel of news about the show. Schaffner, whose idea the show was, emailed me excitedly about this last minute entry, “Knot,” a component of Katarina Fritsch’s “The Rat King” which made a splash at DIA in 1993-94. (When I looked it up in Dia’s archives, I was shocked to see the dates of the exhibit. The big piece (the rats towered above you in the white space — must have left a big impression. I thought I had seen it much more recently.)

Schaffner said “Knot” (the knot of tails which is inside the circle of rats) is owned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and it hasn’t been seen since its showing at DIA. In case you’re wondering, the rats won’t be at the ICA. Just the “Knot.” (sorry, I couldn’t find an image of “Knot.”)

In a follow-up email, Schaffner told me they had just uncrated the work and weighed it, and the five-foot in diameter piece weighs 700 pounds!

All this rat news reminded me I heard a wonderful interview on Fresh Air on April 5 in which Terry Gross talks with author Robert Sullivan about his new book “Rats.”

Sullivan, whose forte is those long, digressionary pieces in the New Yorker, previously wrote about whales, human-kind’s best-loved animal. As a follow-up he said he thought he’d study our most detested and feared mammal the rat. You can listen to his interview here at Fresh Air’s website.

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