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Material Choice:
Conservation, Science & Public Art

April 9 – May 4, 2007
Opening Reception: April 11, 2007, 5:30 - 7:30 P.M.

For more information about Material Choice please view the Case Studies featured in this exhibition.

CAC Gallery presents Material Choice: Conservation, Science & Public Art in conjunction with the citywide Cambridge Science Festival, April 21-29. Inspired by the increasing dialogue between artists and conservators, this exhibition explores the use of science when making “material choices” to create and conserve contemporary site-specific public art in Cambridge and other urban settings.

Curated by Rika Smith McNally, CAC Conservator of Public Art, and Lillian Hsu, CAC Director of Public Art, Material Choice demonstrates how artists and art conservators collaborate on such questions as: Which materials should be used for durability? What factors determine an artwork’s lifespan? Is longevity and maintenance always a paramount consideration in the creation of public art? The exhibition illustrates why an ongoing dialogue between artists, public art administrators, and art conservators is critical in order to best foresee what future care public artworks and their materials will require.

Material Choices are revealed for the following six artist:

Choice of Steel = Change of Scale: Nancy Selvage
To ensure the longevity of her artwork, artist Nancy Selvage must find the balance between the durability of steel and the scale of her artistic vision. Nancy Selvage’s
Water Wall, Trolley Square

Performance in Black and White: Toshihiro Katayama
Find out why CAC’s Conservator recommended that a high-tech paint, typically used for airplanes, be applied for the first time in Cambridge on Katayama’s public art in the highly trafficked Porter Square. Toshihiro Katayama’s
Porter Square Design Project.

When "Polished" Isn't Hard: Wall Choice for Randal Thurston
Gallery-goers are invited to test tile walls for washability to demonstrate that not all factory surface treatments are equal. Randal Thurston’s Yerxa Road Underpass project.

The Quest for the Golden Ball: Mags Harries and Lajos Hédèr
When a gold-plated stainless steel ball floating in water shows signs of corrosion, an MIT metallurgist and CAC’s Conservator join forces to suggest a submersed solution. Mags Harries’ and Lajos Hédèr’s
Drawn Water, Walter J. Sullivan Water Purification Facility.

Patina and the Watchful Eye: A Dialogue with David Phillips
Outdoor patinas used for bronze sculpture are considered by artist David Phillips and CAC's Conservator to see how their aging processes alter color and surface and affect maintenance.
Sample work.

Exploration in Rubber and Polymer: Mierle Laderman Ukeles
Experimenting with rubber granules and a water-based adhesive more commonly found in outdoor running tracks, Mierle Laderman Ukeles challenges the boundaries of her materials. Mierle Laderman Ukeles’
Galaxy, Danehy Park.

CAC Gallery exhibitions are free and open to the public.

Press Photos: 300 dpi photos are available for download
Click "Download large version."

Photo Credit: Rika Smith McNally