Did you know that sandpaper technology has improved over the past 40 years? Neither did I until I spoke with objects conservator Hugh Shockey about Frederick Eversley's Untitled, a sculpture he was treating in his lab.
Have you ever looked at a work of art and wished you could ask the artist how they made it? For our conservators, speaking to artists about their works is an important part of their jobs. Conservators want to know exactly what an artwork is made of and how it was constructed before cleaning or treating it.
I've always wondered why one of the figures in this sculpture, The Wounded Scout, a Friend in the Swamp, by John Rogers has a missing hand. It almost appears to be intentional, given the nature of the artwork's theme. But after attending a joint presentation by Helen Ingalls, objects conservator, and Ann Wagner, art historian, I found out that the sculpture suffered this loss of limb before it was acquired by the museum.
One of our current exhibitions, African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, will be visiting five other museums across the country once it closes here in September, and our conservation staff have been hard at work ensuring that the pieces on display are "road ready."
Do you know that some of the materials used in art conservation are similar to those you might find listed on the back of your hair gel or face lotion bottle?
Conservators must use a variety of techniques when treating mixed media artworks, each suited to a particular material in that piece. Read on to learn about the different treatments that Paintings Conservator Amber Kerr-Allison used to prepare Löis Mailou Jones's mixed media painting Moon Masque for display in our exhibition African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, now on display through September 3.
Sometimes loss is not a bad thing. In the case of art conservation, a tiny paint loss can be used to aid the conservators in their examination process. Here, objects conservator, Hugh Shockey, has the Hirox 3-D digital microscope focused on the edge of a small paint loss of the John Scott sculpture, Thornbush Blues Totem.
Have you ever taken a poster off a wall and found some pieces of foamy tape left behind? That's similar to what is stuck to the base of the John Scott sculpture, Thornbush Blues Totem.
American Art holds monthly conservation clinics in its Lunder Conservation Center, during which conservators evaluate the condition of and provide care recommendations for visitor-owned artworks.
Thornbush Blues Totem by John Scott will be featured in our upcoming exhibition, African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond. In pr