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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. Read the rest of this entry »

Conservation Notes: A deep look at Floor Burger‘s surface

December 24th, 2012

Incident light image of a cross-section from the meat patty, showing a white preparation and four layers of paint.
© Canadian Conservation Institute, 2012

In recent Art Matters posts, we’ve shared why we are undertaking conservation work on Claes Oldenburg’s Floor Burger (1962), the intriguing story of what happened when the sculpture arrived at the Gallery in 1967 and, most recently, what discoveries AGO conservator Sherry Phillips has made about Floor Burger, inside and out, during her work on the piece.

Sherry gathered a few 1 to 2 mm paint samples from various parts of Floor Burger — the bottom bun, the meat patty, the top bun and the pickle — and then mailed them to the Canadian Conservation Institute. There, Elizabeth Moffat and Jennifer Poulin of CCI’s Conservation Science Division conducted various types of analysis to determine the paint and pigment chemistry and produced cross-section images, include the one you see above.

The goal of the analysis was to learn about the materials and techniques that Claes Oldenburg used to create Floor Burger. Elizabeth and Jennifer used light and fluorescence microscopy of the cross-sections to document the paint-layer structure. In some areas sampled, they discovered as many as eight paint layers, and they were also able to identify the pigments and binding media of the various paints using a combination of analytical techniques. The image above reveals (from top to bottom) a layer of red paint, then orange paint, another two layers of red and a white preparatory layer.

Visitors have been able observe conservators at work in the Irena Moore Gallery (2nd level) Tuesday to Friday, 10:30 am–noon and 1:30–4 pm. Over the holidays, staff will be present on Dec. 26, 27, 28, and Jan. 3 and 4, 2013.

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

Conservation Notes: Restoring Floor Burger, inside and out

November 12th, 2012

AGO conservator Sherry Phillips works painstakingly to consolidate the flaking paint layers on one part of Claes Oldenburg’s Floor Burger.

We’ve told you in recent Art Matters posts why we are undertaking conservation work on Claes Oldenburg’s Floor Burger (1962), as well as the intriguing story of what happened when the sculpture arrived at the Gallery in 1967.

Now that the conservation work is well underway, we wanted to let you know what steps are being taken to restore the work before it heads to the MoMA in spring 2013. AGO conservator Sherry Phillips is leading the project, and she gave us a glimpse into what discoveries and challenges she’s encountered since the conservation work began. Read the rest of this entry »

AGO history: The controversial arrival of Claes Oldenburg’s Floor Burger

October 22nd, 2012

An early photo of Floor Burger from the Sidney Janis Gallery.

In a previous post, we told you that over the coming months AGO conservator Sherry Phillips will work to restore Claes Oldenburg’s Floor Burger (1962). In upcoming Conservation Notes stories we will be following Sherry’s progress, but before that we’re looking back at the sculpture’s history. Below, AGO interpretive planner Shiralee Hudson Hill describes Floor Burger‘s dramatic arrival at the Gallery more than 45 years ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Conservation Notes: Catching up with Claes Oldenburg’s Floor Burger

September 24th, 2012

Claes Oldenburg, Floor Burger (1962), canvas filled with foam rubber and cardboard boxes, painted with acrylic paint, 132.1 x 213.4, purchase, 1967, © 2012 Claes Oldenburg.

Claes Oldenburg’s iconic sculpture Floor Burger, one of the highlights of our modern collection, is out of storage and will soon be back on view to the public. There’s a lot more to this story, though. Keep reading to find out what behind-the-scenes process AGO visitors can see up close this fall and winter. Read the rest of this entry »