Conservation: Keeping Mingering Mike's Hits Supersonic

Chris on July 5, 2015
Paper conservator, Kate Maynor works on Mingering Mike's FINGER: FRUSTRATIONS.

Mingering Mike's Supersonic Hits feature a vibrant array of images and colors. Catherine (Kate) Maynor, paper conservator, is responsible for preserving the vitality of Mike's artwork for future audiences. Kate will be presenting a gallery talk on Tuesday, July 7 at 5:30 p.m. about the array of treatments that she performed to keep the artist's works fresh. I'm not going to steal her thunder and reveal all the magic she worked for the exhibition (you should come and see for yourself). Instead, I'll tell you a little bit about one piece not featured in the installation.

This LP, FINGER: FRUSTRATIONS came to the museum in a plastic liner. Traditionally, such liners are used to protect albums from damage. Since Mike's works are far from traditional, the liner was beginning to harm its contents rather than preserve them. Grime and residue had been captured inside the liner and were beginning to damage Mike's imagery. The liner was also trapping humidity, which could warp and deteriorate the artwork.

Over the course of several hours, Kate carefully removed the liner. She took extraordinary care not to damage the plastic or the paper album it held. Heat was applied to the areas of tape that held the liner closed. This loosened the adhesive so the tape could be detached. A tiny spatula gently tugged the seal open. Then Kate's practiced and steady hands slowly coaxed the artwork out of its packaging. After it was removed, Kate surface cleaned the album cover to remove the harmful grime.

If you think this treatment teaser was interesting, you haven't seen anything yet. Be sure to join Kate on Tuesday for the real scoop on the work she did to keep Mingering Mike's Hits supersonic.