Cai Guo-Qiang's Gunpowder Covered Hands

In the upcoming week, more than 100 volunteers will join artist Cai Guo-Qiang to create three gunpowder drawings in preparation for his exhibition, Cai Guo Qiang: Sky Ladder, which opens on April 8 at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. On Saturday, Cai and his studio set up camp at the museum to meet their volunteers and run tests of the gunpowder. Since this is the first time that Cai’s has made gunpowder drawings in Los Angeles, the artist needed to find out how the gunpowder would react to the local climate, particularly inside the galleries at the Geffen. The chemical composition, color, and shade (once it has been burned) of gunpowder vary slightly depending on the manufacturer and the region in which it is produced, and Cai wanted to know how the powders supplied by the fireworks company Pyro Spectaculars by Souza would fare.