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Seeing in Different Ways: A Liz Magor Backpack Project
Seeing in Different Ways:
A Liz Magor Backpack Project

Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)

Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)

Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum
Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)
Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 2)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 1)

After treatment
Oscar Cahén: Innovative Conservation
for an Innovative Artist

Rigid Water Gels: New Treatment Options for Paper Conservators

Structural Remedies for Canvas Paintings

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 4: Digital-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 3: Photo-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 2: Paper-based Material

First Steps
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 1: The First Steps

Natural Dyes
The Use of Natural Dyes in Textile Conservation

A Relocation Project

Challenges of Preserving Contemporary Artwork

Preserve Your Investment through Art Conservation

A Project Completed: Heritage Preserved

Old and New Methods for Cleaning Paintings

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I? Part 2

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I?

The E.J. Hughes Mural: An Expanded Project

Is She or Is She Not an Emily

Treating Art with Sensitive Media

Malaspina Mural: An Update

For the Artist: Testing Your Materials

Conservator as Art Historian

Alum Sizing and the Art of W.J. Phillips

Treatment of an Elizabeth Keith Wood Block Print

Structural Treatment of an Emily Carr

The Treatment of a Monumental Wall Hanging

Changing Images

Preserving a Rare Record

Gold Leaf: Imitation and Genuine

The Case Against Canvas Backings

Heritage Colours: Research Discovers Original Colours

Lighting Your Art: Balancing Seeing and Protecting

The Double-Sided Emily Carr Painting

Choosing a Period Picture Frame

How to Identify a Picture Frame

Stretching Canvas and Restretching Artwork

Mounting Textiles

Aging Paintings:
Some Causes and Effects

Chine Collé Prints

What's Your Favourite Color?

Backing Removals

Rips, Holes and Tears

Filling in the Gaps

DIY – Preventative Care of Paintings

Frame it Right

Fire, Water and Smoke-Damaged Paintings

Inherent Vice

Saturated Problems:
A Water-Damaged Painting

Moldy Paper

Conserving Time

Conserving Paper: Dos and Don'ts

Repair of Textiles

Conserving Wood

Rescuing Endangered Murals

Repairing Acid-Matte Burn

Art Services & Materials
Exhibition Openings & Events

Conservation Corner Back June/July/August 2017

Concerto – A Public Art Remediation

by Cheryle Harrison

Concerto with bent and missing areas (before treatment)

Concerto with bent and missing areas (before treatment)

Public art enhances our environments and daily lives. Its influence is felt in a passing moment as you catch a glimpse of a mural while en route, or allow yourself the time to linger and appreciate public art in a plaza on a sunny day.

Concerto is a part of the University of British Columbia’s Outdoor Art Collection. It is a welded copper sheet sculpture, installed on an exterior wall of the Buchanan Building when Concerto was created in 1961. The artist Gerhard Class worked in stone and steel, and many of his artworks are distributed throughout the Vancouver area, Canada, and Europe.

What can happen to art in public places?

Fifty-five years of a salty outdoor environment, direct sunlight and heat, cold, and Northwest Coast rainy conditions – have all contributed to the evolution of Concerto’s original grey-white finish. Its present-day patina is a striking collection of drips, colour variances and visually active patterns.

This sculpture’s installation with a bench situated beneath it permitted close encounters with the public in the past. Over time, welded seams along the joints of its structure were detached and separated. Its pipe and metal armature were weakened. Birds nested on its back-side framework and spider webs, mud wasps’ nests, rust marks from Coke cans, splatters of bird guano, dead bugs, scrapes, surface grime, and drips reveal the physical history of this piece.

Earlier repairs included grinding the surface with power tools and failed welding that resulted in the loss of patina and areas of the sculpture being compromised. This most recent collaborative preservation project combined two specialists, myself as conservator and onsite project manager, and Carl Schlichting, a sculptor and museum mount expert, in partnership with the Belkin Art Gallery and UBC.

The process for repairing Concerto included studying the sculpture to evaluate its design, materials, construction, and varying conditions. Archival images were indispensable in determining correct angles and shapes of missing sections, for creating mock-ups, and preparing for the sculpture’s structural reconstruction work.

After testing and planning, the sculpture’s missing sections were reconstructed in new copper sheeting. The bent areas were straightened and the armature reinforced. Welding along joints secured unstable areas and separated seams were rejoined into place. Once the structural work was completed, the front and back of the sculpture was cleaned. The new copper sections were degreased and prepared for patina reconstruction.

Comprehensive research and testing of materials, evaluation of patina formulas, and sample production were required to recreate an acceptable patina for the new copper, and for tthe repaired or selected areas missing the original patina. The reconstructed patina needed to be compatible and enduring to visually evolve with the sculpture’s original patina in its outdoor environment.

Concerto has now been re-installed in its original location and will continue to be monitored in this new stage of its lifecycle as public art. This sculpture becomes more inspiring with the exploration of its design – come visit and experience UBC’s Public Art Tour.

Previously: Seeing in Different Ways: A Liz Magor backpack project

Concerto installed at UBC (after treatment)

Concerto installed at UBC (after treatment)


 Mon, May 29, 2017