The 1980 Democratic National Convention was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City, August 11 through 14. During this time I rented a room further uptown in the Hotel Sherman, located on the Minnesota Strip (a stretch of 8th Avenue between the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42 St. and 52nd Street, named for the Midwest teenage prostitutes who worked this area.)
Every day I would read the New York Times and watch television coverage of the convention in the evening. I would also measure and photograph the room for the planned installation. At the close of convention coverage I would leave the day’s Times on the bed and return to my apartment.
On August 14th, the last day of the convention, I arrived at my room, which overlooked 8th Avenue, with suitcases full of needed supplies. I proceeded to install large eyehooks in the four corners of the room. I threaded twine through these hooks and tied it taut, providing line from which to hang material at ceiling height around all four walls of the room including the window wall. I draped white gauze from the twine from the ceiling to the floor. I covered the chair, the bureau, the sink, the bed and the shelving with gauze, creating a virginal environment superimposed over a seedy hotel room. I left the television set uncovered.
Prior to President Jimmy Carter’s nomination acceptance speech on the evening of the 14th, I placed that days New York Times with the previous three days Times on the bed and covered them with gauze. As Carter spoke I placed scrims of gauze horizontally across the room between the television set and the cameras on the headboard, placing as many as time allowed until the close of the President’s speech. When he finished, I turned off the lights and left, never to return.