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Calling all present and future Wikipedians!

I’m glad to have Irvin’s report that clearly shows spring is on its way and to know that in a matter of weeks the sky won’t be that low, oppressive grey. This means soon I’ll be working on the outdoor sculpture – from washing, cleaning, and waxing to the occasional, necessary repair. You may have seen some of the conservation work we’ve done on the IMA’s famous LOVE sculpture in this youtube video.

LOVE by Robert Indiana, Creation date: 1970, Materials: gelatin silver print, Credit line: Gift of Robert Indiana, Accession number: 72.78.7

But this year I’d like to ask you to lend me a hand in taking care of the IMA’s outdoor sculpture. No, no, I’m not talking about actually getting you to join me in doing the labor, but I’d like to ask you to participate in a kind of experiment in documenting some of the sculpture on the grounds – that is to say make Wikipedia entries and upload some pictures of the IMA’s sculptures. If you don’t’ already know, anyone can make Wikipedia entries!


This idea came out of the fact that I’ve been interested in the number of existing Wikipedia entrances written about individual works of art: for example Van Gogh’s Potato Eaters and Damien Hirst’s, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. Also there are good entries about two artists who have sculptures on our grounds, Barbara Hepworth and Mark di Suvero (including a note that di Suvero’s Snowplow is at the IMA), but I can’t find an entry for any individual works in the museum’s collection; so let’s start with the outdoor sculpture.

Maybe at this point you’re asking yourself why someone here just doesn’t make entries for the IMA collection. Well, I’ve thought about it some and decided against doing it myself because I work here and it might be a conflict of interest. See this article in the New York Times for a bit of rational, Seeing Corporate Fingerprints in Wikipedia Edits.

Or maybe you’re thinking to yourself that there’s got to be something in it for you before you consider taking the job. And maybe there is. Certainly, I’m going to be stoked to see even one entry in Wikipedia about our outdoor sculptures. So as far as payment, I can offer to announce your work on this blog. Admittedly, the payment is minor but the work is great.

So, what do you think? With individual entries of the sculptures and pictures uploaded into the galleries, we could begin gathering information about our sculptures. And if you had pictures to upload, they uploaded to the IMA’s Flickr Pool. Not only would I think this is just plain cool, but it would be helpful because we could start keeping a kind of public record of our pieces with notes to their condition.

I think this could be the cleverest thing going on this summer, but perhaps I’m out on a limb here and no one will even do one.

What do you think, you want to help?

Filed under: Conservation

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