Corrosion Intercept tent packing and handling system for Donald Judd’s brass and copper sculptures

Eleonora Nagy


The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s Panza Collection contains five sheet-metal sculptures by Donald Judd, which are made of brass or copper. These significant examples of 20th century minimalist sculpture with their inherently delicate, polished surfaces place extreme demands on conservators in terms of treatment, maintenance and preventive conservation.

Approximately five years ago, conservators at the Guggenheim Museum began to develop a treatment and maintenance program addressing issues of cleaning and maintenance of the Judd sculptures. Soon it was realized that preventive measures, such as exceptionally careful packing, handling, and installation, had to be considered as essential parts of any preservation program. The research for new packing materials and methods has continued since. This presentation will describe the latest results of packing and handling experiments with Judd’s brass and copper sculptures: a new Corrosion Intercept “Tent Packing and Handling System”. The system is designed to allow handling of the sculpture from storage to installation without touching the surface of the works. It avoids direct contact of any packing material with the surface of the sculpture and provides an enclosed, controlled environment for the works in storage. Although the presentation will focus on one sculpture, consisting of six large sheet brass cubes with sides made of orange Plexiglas, several other works will be discussed as examples of various stages of the design in process. The simple, effective, and economical Intercept “Tent” system can be adapted easily to other extremely sensitive minimalist sculptures. Experience with the 5-year performance of Intercept as well as the performance of the packing system will be described.

This work is part of a larger preservation project at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum focusing on minimalist art which has been funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the Getty Grants Program.

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1999 | St. Louis | Volume 6