What is this thing?
The specimen in the video above, the larva of a webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella), was discovered in a cardboard box stored on top of a wool carpet in an administrative office. At only 5mm long, webbing clothes moth larvae can be very difficult to detect. The red wool fibres from the carpet — also visible in the video — provided the larva a steady source of food. At this stage in its life cycle, after hatching from an egg, the moth can cause the most damage, because larvae feed on material and produce frass (aka excrement) that will be a colour similar to the material that has been eaten (in this case the red fibre from the carpet).
What’s happening in the video?
Conservators Sherry Phillips and Maria Sullivan collected the larva and viewed it under microscope to identify the specimen, and the carpet was immediately wrapped and sealed to prevent further migration of pests, then placed in a chest freezer to eliminate any other larvae, eggs and adults in the carpet.
Where did it come from?
Moths can find their way into the Gallery on coats, clothing or on other items that staff or visitors carry. New artworks or materials are screened for pests before placement in the galleries or vaults.
So, what’s the big deal?
All galleries and museums need to be vigilant and pro-active in keeping pests under control. The goal of an effective pest-management program is to find and deal with these issues before they affect the collection, and so efforts extend to all areas of the building, not just in the galleries. Larvae can cause extensive damage to artwork made of or containing materials that have protein, such as natural fibres — particularly silk and wool — as well as hides and feathers. AGO staff monitor for pests throughout the building on a weekly basis to identify potential problems, because it is easier to prevent a problem than to deal with an infestation.
Curious about Conservation?
If you have a burning question about Conservation, leave a comment below. We’ll do our best to give you an answer in an upcoming Conservation Notes post.
Signature Partner of the AGO’s Conservation Program
On Feb. 10, AGO artists in residence Life of a Craphead presented a new edition of Doored, a monthly performance show that they have been curating and hosting since 2012. Doored features exciting new work from performance artists and comedians in Toronto. This edition’s participants were Bridget Moser, Cameron Lee, CN Tower Liquidation, Daniel Goodbaum, Fake Injury Party, Glenn Macaulay, Gwen Bieniara, Laura McCoy, Lisa Smolkin, and Neil LaPierre and David Tallis, with live music by Man Made Hill, visuals by Nikki Woolsey and door by Zoe Solomon.
Doored is part of the regular programming at the artist-run venue Double Double Land in Kensington Market.
About Life of a Craphead
Life of a Craphead is the collaborative work of Amy Lam and Jon McCurley, comprising performance, comedy, theatre and video. Established in 2006, their projects include transporting two psychopaths in a cage on the back of a truck, touring a live comedy show, giving away everything on a restaurant’s menu, and building a three-storey maze. Their first feature-length film, Bugs, is in post-production. Life of a Craphead have presented work at The Power Plant, Toronto; Gallery TPW, Toronto; Hotel MariaKapel, Hoorn, The Netherlands; Department of Safety, Anacortes, U.S.; and the Banff Centre, Banff, as well as at numerous comedy venues and music shows in Canada and the U.S.
Life of a Craphead live and work in Toronto and collaborate frequently with other artists and performers.
Bridget Moser is an interdisciplinary artist whose performances combine inanimate objects, affect, prop comedy, and escape art. She has presented work in various venues across Canada, the United States, and Europe.
Cameron Lee received his BFA in Drawing and Painting from OCAD U, the University of the Imagination. He hasn’t drawn or painted much since graduating.
CN Tower Liquidation is Sebastian Butt, Charlie Murray and Xan Hawes. They specialize in the dematerialization and reconstitution of objects into cubes. Recent shows include Free(or Best Offer), Ed Video Media Arts Centre, Guelph; THASDF FORDFBDFG CDFBLLimdbbing MEAD, Gendai Workstation; and Paul Petro’s Christmas Spice.
Daniel Goodbaum is either an artist/comedian or a comedian/artist. He’s attempting a ‘reverse Woody Allen’ by starting as a filmmaker and working his way into standup. He makes videos about food, fashion, film, and one or two things that don’t start with the letter ‘f’.
Fake Injury Party are three full grown men who know how to get the job done and have fun doing it! Experience: catering, dishwashing, serving.
Glenn Macaulay has been performing comedy in Toronto since 2005. He believes in true love and has to get to the theatre nice and early in order to fully enjoy the experience.
Gwen Bieniara is an artist from Toronto who works closely with performance.
Laura McCoy lives and works in Toronto.
Lisa Smolkin is an artist living in Toronto. Some of her creative stand-out moments include hosting a connectedness workshop, having a home-museum tailored to its visitors, and co-presenting a performative installation about the idea of emotional receptivity/industrial receiving areas.
Man Made Hill is the Solo Funk Agenda of Randy Gagne. Incubated in a crusty basement in Cambridge, ON, Man Made Hill has been steady mutilating sounds since 2004. Armed with a modest arsenal of synthesizer/sampler/drum-machine/voice/dance MMH assumes a series of transformational stage personas including Extra-Terrestrial Sex Judge, Diseased Futuristic Priest, Energy-Mayonnaise Demonstrator, Prison Disco-Enthusiast etc…
Neil LaPierre and David Tallis are prophets of the hypercassional (events you’ll be finding yourself doing everyday several times a day). This is their first performance at the AGO.
Nikki Woolsey lives in Toronto and makes mostly sculpture and photography. She collaborated with Life of a Craphead at the Hotel Maria Kapel residency in The Netherlands and contributed to CN Tower Liquidation’s performative “Theory of Condensation” event at the AGO. She was included in the recent exhibition “That’s not a run in your stocking, it’s a hand on your leg” at Narwhal Art Projects. She sometimes works as a prop maker and production designer.
Five thousand kilograms is a whole lot of cedar. That’s what the crew in this video had to contend with when they removed Giuseppe Penone’s Cedro di Versailles from the AGO on Feb. 15, 2012.
Cedro di Versailles is an awe-spiring work that stood as the centrepiece of Penone’s exhibition in the Galleria Italia, The Hidden Life Within. His tree-centric works, on loan from a private collector, were chosen to christen the Galleria when it opened after TransformationAGO in 2008. They remained in the light-filled space, lending it vitality and wonder, until February.
Listen to Penone talk about his work at an AGO Meet the Artist event here.
Ever wondered how we hang a priceless masterpiece? If so, you’re in luck. Watch this time-lapse video of our expert installers de-crating, hanging, and inspecting Willem de Kooning’s seminal Woman, I, a highlight of Abstract Expressionist New York: Masterpieces from The Museum of Modern Art.
You can catch a glimpse of Woman, I and 110 other Abstract Expressionist masterpieces through September 4, when the works head back to New York for good. Book your time and buy your tickets at www.ago.net/abex!
On April 1, 2011 the AGO invited six leading artists to participate in an online symposium in conjunction with the exhibition, Inuit Modern. Conversations with Kenojuak Ashevak, Mattiusi Iyaituk, Jimmy Manning, David Ruben Piqtoukun, Mike Massie and Tim Pitsiulak provide valuable insights into inspiration, process, and the challenges of achieving and sharing their artistic visions. Video of all three sessions is now available online:
In partnership with The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), we’ve launched The JUNO Tour of Canadian Art, bringing together great Canadian art and great Canadian music. Eight JUNO Award-winning musicians: Alpha Yaya Diallo, Buck 65, Dan Hill, Gord Downie, Hawksley Workman, Jane Bunnett, Measha Brueggergosman and Tanya Tagaq selected an artwork from the AGO’s collection and shared with us both a personal response and song that connected them to the work. Their recorded responses can be found, and heard, next to the art. In the Canadian collection and in the Henry Moore gallery until August 31.