Cleaning Roy Lichtenstein's Modern Head
June 9, 2014
American Art's conservation department makes sure our collection is always in great condition, inside our galleries and outside with a several sculptures that are on our museum grounds. Last week, it was Roy Lichtenstein's Modern Head that got the royal treatment. The sculpture, originally installed in New York's Battery Park in 1996, one block from the World Trade Center, was a gift from Jeffrey H. Loria (in loving memory of his sister, Harriet Loria Popowitz) to American Art in 2008. Before cleaning, it was assessed by conservators, then it was washed with a solution using Dawn® —yes, regular Dawn dishwashing liquid— to clean off normal city dirt and grime. And then it was rinsed.
Conservator Hugh Shockey states:
Dawn® is what we would call a broad spectrum detergent and is excellent at solubilizing a wide range of soiling types, from bird droppings to diesel exhaust soot. It is also environmentally safe since our rinse water ends up in the Potomac River and therefore the Chesapeake Bay.
Our conservation department specifically chooses solutions that are effective for cleaning and are safe for the art objects, people and the environment.
If you're in town, come by the southwest corner of American Art's building on F Street and 9th Street, NW. You'll be impressed!