Well, gang, it looks like this will be my last blog post for the Portland Art Museum internship. I’m still going to be working there as a volunteer there until all the print materials are nice and wrapped up, but as for my schooling, this is it. It’s been a great run, and I thank each and everyone you who followed this blog. I do invite you to stick around as there will be many more projects I’ll be working on, and I will be going to Florence, Italy here in a half a year.
Now then. Here’s what I helped preserve today:
Upon some further research, this is Derriere le Miroir, which was a popular French art magazine that ran from 1940’s after World War II to the 1980’s. The featured artist here is none other than Alexander Calder, whom I remembered learning a bit about from Art History 206. He was actually a sculptor more so than a print maker, as this lithographs would suggest, and his sculptures were actually more along the lines of what we in the art world would call “Kinetic Art.” Having studied mechanical engineering, he incorporated what he learned into his sculptures which involved suspended sculptures and mobiles.
This work here is very reminiscent of Pop art which was big during this time period (it was published in the 1960’s).
Pop art and postmodern art never really resonated with me, but this does:
The original outside covering the book came in is falling apart at the seams. Samantha, the museum’s art conservator, wasn’t present at the time, but looking at this now, I wonder if I should have asked her to use the gum adhesive to better add to the structural integrity of the case. I’m not sure if the case itself is made from acid-free paper like what the coverings are made from, and I’m going to guess not. This could be an inherent vice that will later need to be taken care of at a later time, but for now, it’s safe in the vault.
Some final thoughts
Preventative conservation, which is what I have been doing this whole term, is just as important as “restoration” of an item. Without the knowledge or means to preserve a piece of art as it is, as the artist originally intended, then things might as well degrade or perhaps worse: be restored again and again until it’s no longer the original piece.
I’m proud to have been asked to be part of this. While I wish I could have worked with the gold or paintings conservator in addition, I believe the work I was doing at the museum was no less important.
Once again, I would like to thank those of you who have been following me this term, and I hope you stick around for more.