Objects Conservator Meaghan Perry with Kelly O’Connor, Head of Collections & Communications, accessing outdoor sculpture by Daniel Joseph Martinez. Photo credit Gina Gladson.

Conservation of Daniel Joseph Martinez

By Kelly O’Connor, Head of Collections & Communications

The Linda Pace Foundation collection is made up of contemporary works of art in a multitude of mediums. Some of these works are traditional in their materials, such as oil paint, graphite and marble, while others embody unconventional materials, such as duct tape, foil and hair. Regardless of the material, each object in the collection must be accessed for a long-term conservation plan to maintain their wellbeing. Many works will only need to receive treatments periodically, while others require annual maintenance.

I recently assessed and treated a Carrera marble sculpture by Daniel Joseph Martinez, titled Black Panthers Bobby Seale and Huey Newton or A meditation on the possibility… of romantic love or where you goin’ with that gun in your hand, Bobby Seale and Huey Newton discuss the relationship between expressionism and social reality in Hitler’s painting (2006). The Linda Pace Foundation contracted Objects and Variable Media Conservator Meaghan Perry to work with me on the assessment, treatment and cleaning of the sculpture. Perry, a professional in her field, works for VAULT fine art services, an organization that provides myriad conservation services to regional museums and art collections. In essence, she’s a doctor for works of art.  

Our assessment uncovered multiple signs of staining from leaves and other tree detritus continuously falling on the sculpture and producing a rust orange blemish on the marble, all of which mars the appearance of the work of art. There were two sets of stains, one caused by tannins present in the leaves and tree detritus and the other by a combination of dirt, a black cyanobacterial film and algae. We were able to treat the rust-colored stain with a poultice made from chemicals, which helped decrease the stain a great deal. The other stain was treated with a biological solution that will continue working overtime. I’m happy to say the end result was a success but we will continue to monitor the work and future treatments will be needed, as with any outdoor work, to maintain the sculpture’s appearance.