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A New Frontier: Trailblazing Methods to Display Ruscha Books

Forming a custom book mount

Museum Mountmaker Emily Meyer forming a custom book mount.

Heather Brown, Mellon Fellow in Paper Conservation

There are seven books in the Ed Ruscha and the Great American West exhibition, which provided paper conservators the opportunity to exercise our skills in mounting books in an invisible way. Though the techniques appear simple, they required a good amount of planning and collaboration to achieve the perfect combination of physical support, visual unity, and aesthetic beauty.

September 14, 2016

Video: Playing with Food (for Art and Science)

Ed Ruscha, Fruit - Metrecal Hollywood, 1971. Color screenprint on copperplate deluxe paper, torn and deckle edges, 14 5/8 x 42 1/4 in. FAMSF, museum purchase, Mrs. Paul L. Wattis Fund

Our latest video takes you to our conservation lab where the paper conservation team set up a screen-printing station to investigate prints that Ed Ruscha made with foods including Heinz Baked Beans and caviar. In November 2015, Heather Brown, Mellow Fellow in paper conservation, shared the latest progress on her research.

August 31, 2016

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Preserving a Giant: Treatment of a 19th-Century Photograph

Grizzly Giant with Troop F in Mariposa Big Tree Grove, California after treatment

Howard Clinton Tibbitts, Grizzly Giant with Troop F in Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Yosemite National Park, 1899. Gelatin silver print, 39 3/8 x 29 7/16 in. Gift of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company

Anisha Gupta, Graduate Intern in Paper Conservation

Wild West: Plains to the Pacific, now open at the Legion of Honor, includes a spectacularly large photograph from the Museums’ collection, taken by Howard Clinton Tibbitts (1863–1937). Tibbitts was a San Francisco–based photographer who documented the American West for the Southern Pacific Railroad’s magazine Sunset, still published today. This photograph from 1899 depicts members of the U.S. Cavalry’s Troop F, who were charged with the protection of Yosemite from 1883 until 1916.

July 21, 2016

Decoding paper: Secrets of a Renaissance Print

Works on paper often have a long history and hide many clues that tell their story. Take a closer look and the artwork might reveal some of its secrets.

In the first in a series focusing on the hidden world of works on paper, FAMSF paper conservators take a look at Ugo da Carpi’s The Surprise, on view until October 5 in The Poetry of Parmigianino's "Schiava Turca" at the Legion of Honor.

July 24, 2014

Cracking the Conservation of a Curious Contemporary Construction

In 2004 artist Matthew Picton laid a sheet of plastic over the cracks in the asphalt of a playground. He traced the cracks and painted them with black enamel paint. Then he carefully cut and burned away the plastic surrounding the cracks. What was left was a giant spidery web.

A conservator installing the web-like construction by Mattew Picton

August 6, 2013

A Trompe-l'oeil Traveler

One of the most exciting aspects of working in paper conservation at the Legion of Honor is the variety of objects encountered on a daily basis. When working on a 17th-century print, for example, conservation intern Laura Neufeld faced many traditional paper conservation challenges. Pier Gustafson’s Father’s Suitcase, on the other hand, is a one-of-a kind artwork that required unique treatment solutions.

May 10, 2013

A Devil in the Details

The special exhibition Rembrandt’s Century, currently on view alongside Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis, is striking both in its breadth and for the fact that the works on view all come from the Fine Arts Museums’ permanent collections. Preparations for this exhibition were lengthy, with some works requiring restoration treatments.

February 12, 2013

Marcel Duchamp’s World in a Box: Fixing a Famous Valise

Museum visitors currently have the opportunity to look inside a rare treasure normally kept locked in dark storage. Marcel Duchamp: The Book and the Box, currently on view in the Logan Gallery at the Legion of Honor, features Duchamp’s iconic artwork, Boîte en Valise, which was made in the late 1930s.

Victoria and the box

July 21, 2012

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