John Gaughan

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Art with an On-Off Switch: Restoring Stephan von Heune’s Tap Dancer

Tap Dancer by Stephan van Huene, with base panels removed to reveal components inside base

This is the first in a series of conservator’s reflections on artworks in Pacific Standard Time. Stephan van Huene is recognized for his acoustical sculptures—which he called “machines”—that combine movement and sound. With the flip of a switch, the sculpture… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Exhibitions and Installations

How Do You Conserve a Dancing Sculpture? Magic.

tap_dancer
Collection of Nancy Reddin Kienholz. Artwork © Petra von Huene, Hamburg

Recently, we needed a little magic to get a sculpture in working order. Stephan von Huene’s Tap Dancer—which springs to life every half hour in the first room of our Crosscurrents exhibit—hadn’t danced since 2003, when it was on display… More»

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      ROSE

      This milky pink boomed into popularity because of a marketing ploy, a mistress, and its ambiguous origins.

      In an effort to compete with the renowned Meissen porcelain factory, the French Sèvres manufactory recruited the glamorous Madame de Pompadour (mistress to King Louis XV). Like a smart sponsorship deal, Sèvres gave her all the porcelain she requested. 

      Introduced in 1757, this rich pink exploded on the scene thanks to favoritism by Madame Pompadour herself. 

      The glaze itself had a weird history. To the Europeans it looked Chinese, and to the Chinese it was European. It was made based on a secret 17th-century glassmaker’s technique, involving mixing glass with flecks of gold.

      For more on colors and their often surprising histories, check out The Brilliant History of Color in Art.

      12/19/14

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