On July 1st, I took a trip to NYC with Leila to tour a couple conservation labs, at the MoMA and Morgan to be exact. We didn’t plan it this way, but it was like a paper conservation reunion from the NYU class of 19…well, they all graduated from the same class (you can figure it out if you really want to); Karl Buchberg at MoMA, Peggy Ellis at the Morgan and Nancy Ash at PMA were 3 of 5 students to graduate that year and all went into paper. It’s such a small world this profession!
Anyway, it was great to see the paper lab at MoMA for the first time and take a look at some things they’re working on, like a paper guitar sculpture by Picasso and large cut-outs by Matisse, both a part of upcoming exhibitions. I love that each conservator has their own workspace looking out toward the sculpture garden; the light is beautiful! It was also fun to visit the objects/paintings lab where Oldenburg’s floor cake is in treatment (read the blog at Inside/Out). As a contemporary art enthusiast, MoMA is one of my favorite museums and I was thrilled to be there after the opening of Contemporary Art from the Collection. I highly recommend going to see it!
From the conservation labs at MoMA to the Thaw Conservation Center, we witnessed a large contrast in architecture, strange considering that both spaces were designed by Sam Anderson Architects. What I love about both labs is that they really do fit with the surrounding architecture and function well for their intended purposes; MoMA is modern and artistic, glass and steel, the Thaw is much more like a library, wood and brick. They both feature every possible luxury for the paper conservator: large sinks, moveable tables, plenty of storage. And neither one of them is in the basement!
After a quick tour through the Thaw, Peggy Ellis was kind enough to bring us into the museum to talk a little about the Renzo Piano architecture. I love learning little behind-the-scenes facts, like how Piano wanted the entire museum encased in glass and visible to the public, even the storage areas! Even though he had to make some concessions, Piano’s bright space beautifully showcases the di Suvero sculptures currently in the atrium. As much as I appreciated the Durer exhibition, I cannot wait to see Lichtenstein at the Morgan in September!
Thanks to Karl Buchberg and Peggy Ellis for begin such gracious hosts. Hopefully I’ll be back soon!