Art Conservation: Stretching a Very Large Gene Davis Painting
March 21, 2017
As often as art conservators do a standard treatment on a work of art in our collection, there is always an opportunity to learn a new approach to solving a challenging task. In the case of Gene Davis: Hot Beat (closing April 2, 2017), paintings conservator Amber Kerr coordinated with staff members from our design and registrar teams to manage the conservation treatments for several extremely large canvas paintings. Each had been rolled in storage for years.
From the construction of a "secret room" in the gallery in which they treated these oversized canvases, to designing a custom-built portable, yet lightweight "table" to treat them on, to calling sail makers for tips on stitching canvases, Amber found there was a lot to consider. And she had to come up with some new approaches for cleaning, stretching, and displaying Davis' canvases. In the video above, you can see Amber along with an intern, a fellow, and a contractor sewing new edge-lining strips to the tacking margins of Davis' painting so the canvas could be stretched.