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ARTicle

Your Homework this Weekend

zurburan

You’re an art handler. You come into work one day and find your assignment on your desk. It involves moving four works of art from Gallery 1 next door to Gallery 2. However, the works come with various curatorial, conservation, and bequest restrictions, and a member of the museum’s legal department has left you a long and cumbersome document detailing all of the restrictions. But because time is short and you have to have the works moved by the time the museum opens to the public, you ignore the legalese and lay out the conditions for yourself.

- Gallery 1 contains four artworks: X, Y, Z, and Q. All four artworks must be moved to Gallery 2, which is presently empty.
- You are only able to move one work at a time between the galleries.
- The museum can show neither Y and Z, nor X and Z, as the only two works together in any gallery at any time. Thus, when Z is in the same gallery as X and/or Y, Q must always be present.
- X can never be the only artwork in Gallery 1, and it must be the first work removed from Gallery 1 during any deinstallation.
- The museum lawyer discovered a loophole that permits X to be moved back to Gallery 1 during the course of a deinstallation, as long as X was moved out first and was never the only artwork in Gallery 1 at any point in time.
- Gallery 2 may never be devoted solely to artwork Y at any time.
- Artwork Y may be installed in Gallery 2 as long as it is the final one installed.
- The museum lawyer notes that artwork Y can be moved in and out of the gallery during the reinstallation process as long as it was never the only artwork in Gallery 2, and as long as Y was the final work moved into the final state of Gallery 2.
- Artwork Q is a conceptual piece that explores the conjunction of historical modes of mark-making by uniting physically distinct artworks. In other words, in order to avoid losing all its meaning and ceasing to exist, Q must never be the only artwork in a gallery, however briefly.

You must devise a sequence of moves to transfer all four artworks from Gallery 1 to Gallery 2, without causing the museum to breach any of its agreements, or worse, enter a conceptually unacceptable state. Can you do it?