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CBS Sunday Morning to Feature the Miller House & Garden

If you’re a resident of Indianapolis or Columbus, it’s probably no secret that Charles Osgood and the crew of CBS Sunday Morning have spent the week looking at architecture and art in Columbus.  There’s been a lot of newspaper and television coverage of their work.

I’m looking forward to seeing the show, which airs this Sunday morning at 9:00 am.

Charles Osgood Getting Ready in the Dining Room.

As an art conservator, I was assigned to help the crew film at the recently-opened Miller House and Garden.  This work was a team effort and many from the IMA were involved in helping the CBS folks get what they needed for the show.

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Why You Should Know Hanneorla

Hanneorla has to be among the most prolific amateur art photographers of the 21st century.  With more than 40,000 Flickr images that have been sorted into 517 distinct sets—each from a different location around the world, and mostly of art, architecture, and museums – Hanneorla’s photostream is one of the most important sources for art images in the 21st century, and why so many were excited about the potentials of  “Web 2.0.”

I first became aware of Hanneorla around 2007 when I was looking for Flickr users that were photographing artworks on the grounds of the IMA.  The set made for the IMA has 61 images in it and most of the contemporary outdoor artworks are documented. Although the sheer number of photos is impressive, what also interested me is the way the photos were taken: many of the works are shown from multiple sides, demonstrating that Hanneorla is skilled at looking carefully at art.

It was also around this time when Clay Shirky was getting a lot of attention for talking about how the Internet was ideally suited for us to spend our cognitive surplus doing something productive, rather than just watching television in the evening (Shirky estimates today this cognitive surplus is around a trillion hours a year for the adult population in the developed world).  Trying to harness but a sliver of a thumbnail of this surplus, we created the Wikipedia-and-Flickr-based project Wikiproject Public Art. While this continues to slowly grow, I’m always on the lookout for museum-based projects that tap into the cognitive surplus in a meaningful way.

So, to get to know the most productive art photographer in world better, I invited Hanneorla here for a discussion.

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The Life and Ages of Robert Indiana’s “Numbers” from Cradle to Repaint

Robert Indiana, "Numbers," 1980-1982, Gift of Melvin Simon and Associates.

When you drive by Robert Indiana’s Numbers, you might think that these more-than-30 year-old sculptures look pretty good.  But if you get up close you’ll notice that the colors aren’t nearly as vibrant as they once were and the surface has lost much of its original glossy appearance.  Also, there are a few spots where the paint has chipped or fallen off.  So, even though our routine maintenance has kept them looking as good as possible, it’s clear they need attention, or since they were made by Indiana, I could say that they, ah, need some LOVE.

Numbers has been on my mind a lot recently because I’ve been researching the most intervening conservation treatment of the work’s life: this spring we’ll be completely stripping and re-painting each number to appear as they were first fabricated.

Before undertaking a conservation treatment of this scale it is important first to have all of the historic information at hand so we can be assured that we are making the right choices along the way, and ultimately that Numbers looks great.  I won’t go into all of the technical information of the treatment here, but I would like to share a bit of its story.  Thanks to the help of pre-program objects conservation intern Jessica Ford, we’ve put together a fairly complete history of Numbers.  Jessica and I have also added a lot of information to the Wikipedia article about Numbers.

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Get Yer’ Art Conservation Daily Right Here!

It seems like a long time ago that I wrote a post here about how I was going to start using Twitter even though, like many at the time, I didn’t know what I was going to actually use it for.  This was back in September of 2008 when I wrote “The Twitter in My Mind,” and while this was only a couple of years ago, in Internet time 2008 seems like a long, long time ago.

While some important uses for Twitter have developed globally—especially around politics and sports—and many cultural institutions and art folks use it in interesting ways, Twitter still seems like an insider’s club.  Said another way, if you’re not using Twitter, you probably don’t have a use for it; in fact I think those that don’t use it generally get tired of hearing about it, and all the jargon that goes along with it.  After all, who could actually like the word “tweet” or want to work out a suitable past tense for that word.

But after more than two years, I think I’ve finally found a reason for folks interested in art conservation to use Twitter without, well, actually using Twitter.  Using the web-based application, I’ve created Art Conservation Daily to summarize all the tweets about art conservation from the past 24 hours.  This online newspaper is auto-generated from my list of about 150 people that regularly tweet about art conservation.

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Jessica and Katherine Hit the Big Time

Over the years, a number of interns in the Objects & Variable Art Lab have written blog posts for the IMA.  But this week, Jessica Ford and Katherine Langdon (who, you might remember, wrote “Caring for Bronze in the Community” this summer) have moved on to the proverbial “big time” to pen a two-part post on the American Institute for Conservation’s News Blog about their recent East Coast road trip to research art conservation graduate schools: Buffalo State College, New York University (my alma mater), and the University of Delaware.

The IMA’s conservation staff included graduates from each of these training programs, and former faculty from Buffalo State and University of Delaware.  Needless to say, we take training the next generation of conservators seriously around here.  So, please go over to AIC’s News Blog and check out Jessica and Katherine’s work:

Both Jessica and Katherine are applying to conservation graduate school this year and we wish them well!


About Richard

Job Title: Conservator of Objects & Variable Art

Interests: Art conservation; How and from what art is made.

Richard has written 41 articles for us.