Skip to Content

Art Gallery of Ontario

Keyword Site Search

Art Matters Blog

Conservation Notes: A return to Betty Goodwin’s studio

October 27th, 2014

This is the third post in a series on the preservation and storage of Betty Goodwin’s notebooks. See the previous posts here and here.

Marianne Williams, Digital Special Collections Assistant in the AGO Library and Archives, has finished her project of creating new preservation enclosures for the 121 sketchbooks and notebooks from the late Montreal-based artist Betty Goodwin. Read the rest of this entry »

Conservation Notes: Looking at ephemera in Betty Goodwin’s notebooks

August 11th, 2014

Click arrows to see inside the notebooks.

Betty Goodwin’s notebooks and sketchbooks are both interesting documents of the artist’s process and important objects in their own right, offering insight into her daily life and art practice. The term “ephemera” refers to documents or items that were not necessarily meant to last long and are often made of materials that deteriorate quickly. The ephemera found in Goodwin’s notes comprise a variety of materials, including sticky notes, banana stickers, instant photographs, newspaper articles and pressed flowers. Making sure the sketchbooks are preserved in the exact condition that Goodwin left them, with ephemeral items intact where Goodwin placed them, allows researchers to see the artist’s thoughts on her own works.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s Goodwin, with the help of her studio assistant, revisited a number of her sketchbooks from the earlier days of her career, using sticky notes and metal clips to mark key pages, some of which date back to the 1960s. Some sketchbooks have pages that have been removed, with photocopies pasted back in their place, and some of these copied pages even re-appear in later sketchbooks, stuck onto pages or tucked in as loose leaves in agendas or diaries. Maintaining these re-arrangements, along with clips and the sticky notes, lets researchers see which of Goodwin’s own entries, sketches or notes she considered important.

The temporary nature of various ephemeral elements presents some challenges to conservation: the low-tack glue of sticky notes makes them vulnerable to detaching and metal clips will rust. However, each of the individually created enclosures made by Digital Special Collections Assistant Marianne Williams securely contains the ephemera in each volume and ensures no materials or information will be lost. Read about those here.

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


February 5th, 2012

This blog post is part of an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario entitled IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958 – 2011. Visitors can scan QR codes in the exhibition space to see additional content relating to specific works in the show such as this image below:

N.E. Thing Co. booth at DPMA conference -archival room (407) Baxter Studio/Batch 1/X-03456

N.E. Thing Co. booth at DPMA conference -archival room (407) Baxter Studio/Batch 1/X-03456

In 1970 the N.E. Thing Co. participated in a series of professional conferences. It rented a booth in the Data Processing Managers Association International Conference and Business Exposition at the Seattle Trade Center, exhibiting alongside the likes of established technology companies AT&T, Eastman Kodak, General Electric, IBM and Xerox. The N.E. Thing Co. marketed its consultancy services at a booth populated with the artwork Go (in the shape of a stop sign) and a giant, inflated banner shaped like a computer punch card. It also dispensed branded manila folders, ingeniously sized to store other companies’ brochures.

IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958 – 2011 is open at the Art Gallery of Ontario from March 03 – August 12, 2012