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De Wain Valentine's "Gray Column" and the Getty Conservation Institute

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- The Getty Conservation Institute is the program at the Getty that is really set up to advance conservation practice. Within our modern and contemporary art research projects, a lot of the work is very scientific. We're looking very closely at resins and plastics, trying to understand certain aging mechanisms and how they change. One of the other really tricky parts of conservation of modern and contemporary art is sort of the ethical, philosophical discussions from start to finish, that we are taking a lot of the issues we grapple with out to the public. The initial idea was to showcase De Wain and talk about the story behind the materials he was using and how he used them, and how he created these monumental works, Gray Column being about as monumental as they get. Was I nervous when we for the first time took this 3,500 pound delicate object out with all these massive cranes and forklifts? No, when you're moving any artwork, it's a dangerous time and you have to be very, very careful and very skilled, and when you're moving a piece like this, it just adds to the tension completely. - I think it's important as we go forward and we interact with artists working today to encourage artists to think in terms of how do they envision their piece surviving. - To me the most important aspect is that the work is honest, the investigations are serious, and each piece stands as evidence of a particular moment. - It's very special that Los Angeles and the art that came out of it has these protectors of the knowledge, so to speak, and it's happened at a time when it wasn't too late. - I suspect it's gonna have a staggering impact, more than he realizes maybe.