Before encountering Carol Bove and Gordon Terry’s walk-in vault with singed edges in their studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn, I met with them each privately. In Bove’s studio, I spotted something unusual in her overhead storage, “What’s that?” “Oh that,” she laughed and pulled it down. “It’s a piece of foam I found on the waterfront. I take walks along the river to collect things for my work. You see them floating around from time to time. I think they fall off those freight ships.” It reclined before us like a beached whale with a rust-marked spine. Also collected from the waterfront was a carefully-curated pile of driftwood.

“And then there are these,” Bove pointed to a stack of exquisitely crafted foam core boxes. “Our assistant designed them. He recycled the protective padding from our disposable aprons,” she said, pointing to hers, which looked to be of Tyvek material. Each box was a custom-made ‘suitcase’ to transport parts of her extremely fragile works made of—in the case of the one I was viewing—shells and seaweed. On the inside flap was an identification photo for each object.