Stephan von Huene

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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      All Hail Tiberius, Least Media-Savvy of the Roman Emperors

      Tiberius was proclaimed Roman emperor on September 17 in AD 14, exactly 2,000 years ago.

      He was also a bit wacko. “He was the least media-savvy emperor you could imagine,” says curator David Saunders, who has been in charge of this bronze portrait of Tiberius which leaves us on September 22. He point to this description found in the writings of Cassius Dio:

      Tiberius was a patrician of good education, but he had a most peculiar nature. He never let what he desired appear in his conversation, and what he said he wanted he usually did not desire at all. On the contrary, his words indicated the exact opposite of his real purpose; he denied all interest in what he longed for, and urged the claims of what he hated. He would exhibit anger over matters that were far from arousing his wrath, and make a show of affability where he was most vexed…In short, he thought it bad policy for the sovereign to reveal his thoughts; this was often the cause, he said, of great failures, whereas by the opposite course, far more and greater successes were attained.

      Moreover, David tells us, “Tiberius’s accession itself was a farrago: Tiberius sort-of feigning reluctance, the Senate bullying him, he being all, ‘Well, if-I-have-to,’ and in the end—according to Suetonius—saying he’ll do it as long as he can retire.”

      Suetonius is full of great, albeit spurious, anecdotes about poor old Tiberius, David reports. “When someone addressed him as ‘My Lord,’ it is said, Tiberius gave warning that no such insult should ever again be thrown at him.”

      Happy accession, My Lord!

      Portrait Head of Tiberius (“The Lansdowne Tiberius”), early 1st century A.D., Roman. The J. Paul Getty Museum

      Statue of Tiberius (detail), Roman, A.D. 37, Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei – Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Laboratorio di Conservazione e Restauro. Currently on view at the Getty Villa following conservation and study.

      09/17/14

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