Wright's Triangle undergoing much-needed cleaning by art conservator

The sculpture Wright’s Triangle (1980) by Richard Serra is prominently located in the center of the campus and is one of the greatest treasures of Western’s outdoor sculpture collection. The sculpture is undergoing a thorough cleaning by an art conservator.

Along with occasional graffiti, scuff marks caused mostly by skateboards and BMX bikes are the main problem. But, ironically, decades’ long efforts to maintain the sculpture have also resulted in a visually uneven surface, due to old coatings that are blanching and graffiti residue left from previous graffiti removal and recoating.

The cleaning is being done by the main conservator of Serra's work, Jim Gwinner, who was specifically recommended by the artist himself for this project. Gwinner specializes in metal art repairs and works on public art restorations for the federal government and many municipalities (Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Dallas, San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles).

Richard Serra (b. 1939) is one of the most renowned artists of today, and many leading museums have hosted exhibitions of his work. Both the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Metropolitan Museum have honored him with retrospective exhibitions. Wright’s Triangle is an important artwork in Serra’s oeuvre, as an outstanding early example of his signature steel sculptures.

Recently a camera was installed on a nearby building to monitor the sculpture. This is particularly important after the cleaning, because now specific scuff marks and graffiti can be traced directly to vandals, who can be apprehended and invoiced for the correction of the damage they created.

- Hafþór Yngvason

Western Gallery director

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 11:10am