Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Preserving Outdoor Bronze Sculptures

Beautiful outdoor sculptures decorate parks and federal buildings and stand as memorials to those who have come before us all across this great land. Many are made of durable bronze which is meant to withstand the elements and exposure to sun, rain, wind, sleet and snow. But, over time, the harsh weather and environment can start to take its toll on the sculpture. Light and heat can fade pigments and break down protective lacquers. Dirt can build up in crevices, hard water can cause unsightly streaks and wind and rain can wear away wax coatings.

Taking proper care, including regular maintenance of your outdoor bronze sculptures will ensure they are kept in good condition. Here are a few tips to keeping your sculptures looking as beautiful as the day they were created.

  • Inspect and photograph annually.
  • Look for signs of corrosion around the base. Are there stress craps or rust? Structural issues are critical and should be addressed promptly.
  • How does the coloring look? Excluding coloring that is intentional, green or white streaks are a sign of corrosion or mineral build-up. Corrosion should be addressed immediately before it permanently damages the sculpture, and mineral build-up can be removed to improve the appearance.
  • Pay attention to surface conditions. All areas should have a consistent sheen of an even protective coating.
  • Once you’ve inspected its condition, it’s time to clean the sculpture. Use a regular pressure hose, a soft nylon bristle brush or sponge and non-ionic detergent to remove dust and debris.
  • Finally, add a layer of wax to protect the surface.
  •  If during your inspection and cleaning you found any structural damage or corrosion, it is important to contact a conservator for repairs.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Art: At the Heart of Mankind

Since the beginning of mankind, humans have attempted to demonstrate their feelings of love, life and religion by creating art. Whether it is a painting, sculpture art, architecture or cave drawings, art has been at the heart of man all along. Art has allowed us a glimpse into the life and times of those artists - viewing the world as they saw it then and as they see it now. 

As technology has progressed and techniques have been created and passed on to a new generation, art history has been divided into periods based upon those techniques and trends. Take a step back through the evolution of art through their periods, exploring their characteristics and chief artists. 

1900-1935 – Fauvism and Expressionism            
Characteristics: Harsh colors and flat surfaces (Fauvism); emotion distorting form
Chief artists:  Matisse, Kirchner, Kandinsky, Marc
Historical Event: Boxer Rebellion in China (1900); World War (1914–1918)

1905-1920 – Cubism, Futurism, Supremativism, Constructivism, De Stijl
Characteristics: Pre– and Post–World War 1 art experiments: new forms to express modern life
Chief artists:  Picasso, Braque, Leger, Boccioni, Severini, Malevich
Historical Event: Russian Revolution (1917); American women franchised (1920)

1917-1950 - Dada and Surrealism
Characteristics: Ridiculous art; painting dreams and exploring the unconscious
Chief artists:  Duchamp, DalĂ­, Ernst, Magritte, de Chirico, Kahlo
Historical Event: Disillusionment after World War I; The Great Depression (1929–1938); World War II (1939–1945) and Nazi horrors; atomic bombs dropped on Japan (1945)

1940s-1950s – Abstract Expressionism ; 1960s – Pop Art
Characteristics: Post–World War II: pure abstraction and expression without form; popular art absorbs consumerism
Chief artists:  Gorky, Pollock, de Kooning, Rothko, Warhol, Lichtenstein
Historical Event: Cold War and Vietnam War (U.S. enters 1965); U.S.S.R. suppresses Hungarian revolt (1956) Czechoslovakian revolt (1968)

1970-Present  - Postmodernism and Deconstructivism
Characteristics: Art without a center and reworking and mixing past styles
Chief artists:  Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman, Anselm Kiefer, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid
Historical Event:  Nuclear freeze movement; Cold War fizzles; Communism collapses in Eastern Europe and U.S.S.R. (1989–1991)