This workshop series aims to provide conservators with the practical and theoretical tools to design effective treatment strategies for outdoor painted sculpture. Through its Outdoor Sculpture project, the GCI has developed strong relationships with conservators specialized in the treatment of outdoor painted sculpture, as well as paint industry professionals, paint applicators, and artists' estates and foundations. The curriculum for this series of workshops results from the combined expertise and interaction of this diverse range of professionals.
Conservators entrusted with the maintenance and conservation of outdoor painted sculpture are confronted with acute challenges. Such sculptures are inherently exposed to harsh and uncontrolled environments and thus are highly prone to rapid deterioration and a wide range of paint coat failures. Being outdoors, often without any barrier, they are also subject to public interaction in the form of climbing, touching, leaning or sitting, or even skateboarding or vandalism. Paint coat failures are not only highly disfiguring and unsightly, but also no longer serve their protective role for the substrate.
Conservation treatments on outdoor painted sculpture often involve the full repainting of the sculpture, frequently preceded by the removal of all earlier coats of paint or stripping. Such treatments are large scale endeavors, which can be extremely costly. Faced with such treatments, conservators have to answer questions, such as:
- How to choose the most durable paint systems, and understand their application properties?
- How to decide whether stripping is necessary and what are the most appropriate methods for stripping and repainting?
- When can local treatment be deemed an alternative to a full repainting to prolong the life of an existing coating?
In order to help conservators answer these questions, the GCI developed Surface Treatment Strategies for Outdoor Painted Sculptures. The treatment strategies are a direct result of the GCI's ongoing Outdoor Sculpture project, which is a component of the Modern and Contemporary Art Research Initiative.
The workshop aims to provide conservators with the practical and theoretical tools to design effective treatment strategies for outdoor painted sculpture, including:
- diagnose coatings failure,
- understand and select paint systems,
- understand the pros and cons of different application methods,
- treatment logistics and planning,
- practical skills for local retouching when applicable,
- working with the paint industry, paint applicators, and artists' estates and foundations,
- approaches to maintenance.
Surface Treatment Strategies for Outdoor Painted Sculpture is part of the Research into Practice Initiative which seeks to facilitate the practical application of new research to conservation problems.
Page updated: August 2017