materials science

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Voices

Getty Voices: The Stones of Rome

Detail of a stone fountain in Rome, Italy, showing damage caused by weathering
Rome is defined by its beautiful stone buildings, bridges, and sculptures. But stone isn't eternal, even in the Eternal City. Photo: Scott S. Warren

Conservators from around the world have gathered in Rome to learn techniques for preserving stone artworks and monuments. More»

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Posted in Antiquities, Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum, Research, Voices

Getty Voices: Attic Pots and Atomic Particles

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How did the ancient Greeks make their characteristic red-and-black pottery? Modern science may finally yield the answer. More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Looking Under Judy Chicago’s Car Hood

The back (wall) side of Judy Chicago's Car Hood

This is the second in a series of conservators’ reflections on artworks in Pacific Standard Time. In 1964 Judy Chicago created this wall-mounted sculpture, Car Hood, from a steel car hood and traditional automotive paint. The work was on loan… More»

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Posted in Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

What Does Plastic Have to Do with Art?

Vestito Blu, Enrica Borghi, 2005. Mineral water bottles, plastic bags, and plexiglas, 85.8 x 85.8 x 263.3 in. (220 x 220 x 675 cm). Collection Mamac, Nice. Photo: Muriel Anssens. © Enrica Borghi

Many types of plastic used in artworks are now beginning to exhibit serious signs of deterioration – discoloration, crazing and cracking, warping, becoming sticky, and in extreme cases, turning completely to powder. The sheer number of plastics available constitutes a huge challenge for the conservation profession. More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Research

Accelerated Aging Lab: The Scariest Place at the Getty?

Inside the Accelerated Aging Lab: tools for studying rock and mortar. The machine that looks like an industrial Kitchenaid is, in fact, a Kitchenaid—it’s used for mixing lime putty and mortars.

For those of us over 21, the idea of premature aging is definitely not attractive. Every time I pass the Getty Conservation Institute’s Accelerated Aging Lab, I get somewhat apprehensive. But the lab is not intent on hastening wrinkles and… More»

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      #ThyCaptionBe: Warnings to the Rich & Powerful

      You captioned this detail. And we’re revealing the full story now.

      It would be awesome if this was Medieval hangman, or a really awkward frat party, but it’s actually the result of a one-letter swap gone wrong in a book about the fates of the rich. 

      Here’s the full story:

      You sometimes regret what pops out unexpectedly when you open your mouth, but in this case, even the fish must have been quite surprised when a wooly lamb burst forth. 

      The stories in this text by Giovanni Boccaccio warn of the terrible fate that often awaits the rich and powerful. He uses here the example of King Polycrates, who tossed a ring into a river, hoping for good luck, and found it later in the mouth of a fish. 

      Someone got confused, though, and instead of a ring (in French, annel), what came out instead was a lamb (agnel). Apparently, neither the ring nor the lamb worked because the king was later hanged (background).

      #ThyCaptionBe is a celebration of modern interpretations of medieval aesthetics. You guess what the heck is going on, then we myth-bust.

      08/31/15

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