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Conservation Notes: Saying “so long” but not “goodbye” to Floor Burger

May 6th, 2013


AGO staff moved Floor Burger into the Conservation Department for the final phase of treatment in mid-February

If you’ve been following our Floor Burger conservation stories, you know that Sherry Phillips has a special relationship with this particular Claes Oldenburg sculpture. From October 2012 to March of this year, Sherry worked with the piece closely — sometimes very, very closely — getting it in tip-top shape for a short-term loan to the MoMA. To wrap up our Floor Burger series on a personal note, Sherry wrote about her experience accompanying the sculpture on its journey to the Big Apple.


The crate fit into the back of the truck with an inch to spare on either side. The next time I would see Floor Burger would be in the middle of the controlled chaos of exhibition installation at MoMA in New York — a slight delay in the schedule meant we installed on the weekend.

May 3 2013

The Assistant Registrar met me at the Staff entrance early Saturday morning, escorted me to the installation space and introduced me to the curators and installation crew. The crate was kept in a secure vault since its arrival and had not moved until I was there to observe and inform the crew of any specific unpacking and handling instructions.

The crates were moved to the gallery space and opened, and then Floor Burger was moved from the crate to the floor. (The crate completely disassembles to facilitate object removal.)

MoMA had preplanned the entire installation using a 3D model with tiny objects made to correct scale — the tiny Burger was presented to me as memento of my visit and now sits on my desk! The moving blanket we designed and created worked as planned, enabling us to easily position and reposition the large object until we found the best installation aspect.

I was pleased, and relieved, to see that the sculpture held up well during its journey. Floor Burger has a prominent location within the exhibition and looks great reunited with its contemporaries for the first time since the ’60s.


See Floor Burger installed at the MoMA (at 1:20)

Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store is open to the public at the MoMA from April 14 to August 05, 2013. Floor Burger is part of the AGO’s collection and will return to the Gallery later this year.

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