Giovedì, 20 Settembre 2018

Venice Guggenheim polishes up Pollock gems


(By Christopher Livesay)
Venice, June 6 - The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in
Venice is embarking on a historic scientific analysis of 11
works by the founding father of abstract expressionism, Jackson
"There's never been such an important project for an
international artist's work in Italy," Luciano Pensabene Buemi,
Guggenheim conservator, told ANSA.
The works, which span 1942 to 1947, consist of 10 'oils' on
canvas and one on paper, although the Wyoming native used
debris, industrial enamel paint and unknown materials as well in
his rejection of the painter's easel.
Nail polish, for instance, is listed as a possible
ingredient in 'Alchemy' (1947), one of Pollock's earliest poured
paintings, the revolutionary technique that made up his most
significant contribution to 20th-century art.
Whether he used nail polish or other cosmetics is one of
the many questions the museum hopes to answer with a scientific
analysis aimed at testing how these works are standing up over
time and if restoration is imminent.
"Technical analysis of a painting always sheds new light on
the work of an artist, on his or her intentions," said
Guggenheim Director Philip Rylands, who credits the group of
institutions backing the project for making it possible.
Joining the Guggenheim in the endeavor are the Getty
Conservation Institute in Los Angeles and the Seattle Art
Museum, as well as Italy's top restoration and research centers:
the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence; the Institute of
Science and Molecular Technologies, which is part of the
National Research Center; and the Smaart Center in Perugia.
"This project is possible because we're in Italy, where
there are public entities that perform pure research," said
Pensabene Buemi.
For instance the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, the world's
leading laboratory for the restoration of Renaissance art, is
known for bringing back to life Michelangelo's David, Lorenzo
Ghiberti's Gate of Paradise, and currently Leonardo da Vinci's
Adoration of the Magi at Florence's Uffizi Gallery.
It is not, however, known for restoring paintings so young.
"As for me, I'm very interested in opening up the Opificio
to modern and contemporary art," said Opificio Superintendent
Marco Ciatti. "These are areas in which we have worked very
little, but the times are changing".
Unlike much of 20th-century art, Ciatti said, Renaissance
works "were made to last. Restoring contemporary art will pose
huge problems. But Italian institutions are among the best in
the world".
The analysis is slated to begin inside the Guggenheim along
the Grand Canal next week thanks to a mobile laboratory known as
Molab, the only one of its kind in Europe.
"Visitors will be able to see us at work," said Costanza
Miliani, Molab coordinator.
Fittingly, Pollock himself was always more interested in
the process of creation than the final product itself, hence his
coining of the term "action painting" to describe his technique
in which the finished work became merely an artifact of
something greater, evidence of something that once took place.
Peggy Guggenheim, American doyenne of the modern art world,
was perhaps the most significant person in Pollock's life to
catch on to his unorthodox approach.
Fleeing the Nazis while living in Paris in the runup to
World War II, Guggenheim returned home to New York where she
discovered Pollock in the city's bubbling art scene.
After the war she returned to Europe, this time with
Pollocks that she showed at the 1948 Venice Biennale, thus
introducing Europe to the American avant-garde, precipitating
her move to Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, the future home of the
Guggenheim, where she lived until her death in 1979.

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