Art in the Public Eye: Treating the Fascinating Collection of Modern Art Sculptures at The Kentucky Center

Art in the Public Eye: Treating the Fascinating Collection of Modern Art Sculptures at The Kentucky Center

This past August, two conservators from The Conservation Center traveled  to Louisville, KY to conserve the vibrant collection of public art on display at The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.

The Kentucky Center seeks to cultivate the artistic scene in Louisville by providing programming ranging from music and theater performances to numerous outreach and education services, The permanent artworks displayed throughout The Kentucky Center feature a number of notable artists including Alexander Calder, John Chamberlain, Edgar Degas, and Joan Miro.

Send In The Conservators: Saving Circus Memorabilia

Send In The Conservators: Saving Circus Memorabilia

This spring at The Center, the circus was in town and you won't believe your eyes at the amazing transformation of one client's very special family heirlooms.  The client's maternal grandfather, along with his father and grandfather, were part of the Galetti’s Circus, a circus that toured Europe and America in the late 19th century.  The client's relatives were responsible for feeding and caring for the famous performing monkeys as the circus traveled.

The Preservation of Words: Conserving a Collection of Historical Books

The Preservation of Words: Conserving a Collection of Historical Books

At The Conservation Center, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to learn about the personal histories and meanings of the pieces and collections that are brought to us for treatment. Each piece that comes to us has a unique story to tell. When we recently received a collection of rare books damaged in a violent storm and learned about their importance to our client, we were honored to assist with the conservation of the pieces and preservation of the history and meaning they held.

Our client, an avid book collector, sought out a five-volume collection, Norman Conquest of England, after learning more about his ancestry through DNA testing. He found that he had Celtic, Scandinavian, and Viking origins. This spurred his deep interest in learning about the history of these cultures, and encouraged him to add to his book collection with rare, historical books on these subjects.

Robert Motherwell: Float Washing, Hinging, and New Housing

Robert Motherwell: Float Washing, Hinging, and New Housing

Untitled was brought to The Center to address age-related issues and improper housing.  The sheet had been hinged directly to a linen mount and there was select off-gassing onto the glazing from printed passages of the black ink. The overall sheet exhibited darkening due to age-related discoloration caused by the presence of the linen-lined support.

Marisol Escobar: Harold Washington Library's Women Leaning

Marisol Escobar: Harold Washington Library's Women Leaning

Marisol was a Venezuelan-American active in the New York art scene in the 1960s. Influenced by both her contemporaries and Pre-Colombian figures, Marisol was known for assembling figurative wooden sculptures using a variety of media.   

Due to the unique media in Women Leaning, these figures were treated by The Center’s Objects, Furniture, and Paintings Departments.  The figures exhibited areas of loss, and assorted condition issues such as gouges and shrinkage splits.  

Roy Lichtenstein: Cleaning Early Works

Roy Lichtenstein: Cleaning Early Works

Currently, the painting is undergoing surface cleaning to remove grime and accretions that have built up on the piece over time, with the right half having been cleaned, and the left half still awaiting treatment. The reverse of the painting will also be cleaned, using a soft brush and vacuum.  To complete treatment, conservators will continue to locally consolidate areas of flaking paint, and to fill and texture losses in the painted surface.  Inpainting will also be carried out in areas of loss and abrasion, using reversible conservation paints.

Conserving the Canon: A Biblical Scene Revealed

Conserving the Canon: A Biblical Scene Revealed

The process of conservation can often yield dramatic results, revealing images that have been hidden behind dust and grime or aging varnish for years. This is certainly the case with a painting that we recently treated here at The Center. When the piece first arrived, it was not completely clear exactly what the painted image portrayed. Though the painting depicts the well-known Biblical scene of the Visitation, showing Mary greeting her cousin Elizabeth, as Joseph shakes hands with Zachariah, the image had been obscured by age-related issues.

To learn more about the conservation of the piece and the dramatic results, we sat down to discuss the process in greater detail with our Senior Paintings Conservator, Amber Schabdach. Read our interview with Amber here, and watch the video at the bottom of the interview to see the conservation process from start to finish.

To Preserve and Protect: The Framing of an Edward Curtis Photogravure

To Preserve and Protect: The Framing of an Edward Curtis Photogravure

Earlier this year, we had the privilege of framing an Edward Curtis photogravure, Two Strike. Little did we know, the piece would end up being featured in the Muskegon Museum of Art’s exhibition Edward S. Curtis: The North American Indian. Described as “an event of national significance celebrating the artistic genius and lasting cultural legacy of Edward Curtis,” the exhibition covers the work of a man “who sacrificed everything for is art, died in obscurity, but left behind one of the greatest artistic collaborations and photographed achievements in history.”

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