Alexander Liberman, The Way, 1972-80. Photo by Kevin J. Miyazaki..jpg

Artsy.net / How Conservators Keep Masterworks of Outdoor Sculpture Safe

Outdoor sculptures seem to incite an instinctive invitation to climb, swing, slide, touch. (Playground nostalgia?) As protector of the sculptures, it’s never pleasant to have to ruin the fun by reminding our patrons to look, not touch. We know you adore our sculptures as much as we do, and that the temptation to interact is strong! Which is why we love this piece by artsy.net, in which Laumeier Curator, Dana Turkovic was recently interviewed for, relating to this very topic.

“Beyond the vicissitudes of the weather, external sources of deterioration come from materials both synthetic and natural. Rubbed-off sunscreen from a visitor’s curious hand is a nightmare for conservators; it’s especially difficult to remove. Dana Turkovic, curator at Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis, Missouri, mentioned that bird poop requires a nonionic cleanser (gentler than everyday soaps).”  

“Sometimes, however, a certain amount of material corruption is actually integral to a sculpture. At Laumeier, sculpture-artist, Mary Miss incorporated an abandoned 1929 swimming pool into a larger wood, stone, steel, and concrete structure that functions as a meeting place comprised of stairs, a raised platform, and a shaded pavilion.

The functional sculpture, Pool Complex: Orchard Valley (1983–85), hosts poetry readings, cocktails, and special events. Such use has weakened the architecture over the decades, and the park must be cognizant of safety hazards. Miss has visited Laumeier to consult on strategies for upkeep, and the discussion is ongoing. “She really feels strongly about it maintaining its natural life,” said Turkovic. The park may yet have to compromise on aesthetics to ensure visitor safety.”

It’s true, indefinitely preserving, maintaining and restoring outdoor art that may or may not be functional presents a level of challenge unique to most modern art museums, where the “No Touching” rule is dually understood and enforced. Evolution and upkeep of the piece must be constant considerations. However, the hard work pays off through joy and satisfaction of the visitor experience!

https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-conservators-masterworks-outdoor-sculpture-safe

 LAUMEIER SCULPTURE PARK NAMES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR  After an extensive nationwide search, Laumeier Sculpture Park has named Lauren Ross, previously the curator of Virginia Commonwealth University's Institute for Contemporary Art and curator/director of arts programs at New York City High Line, as its new executive director. Ross will assume her new role at the St. Louis County Park in August.        “We are thrilled to welcome Lauren Ross as our new executive director,” said Matt Harvey, Laumeier’s board president. “With her background as a curator, educator, strategic planner and fundraiser, Lauren will guide Laumeier Sculpture Park as we enter our fifth decade of nurturing the community through Art and Nature.”        Ross comes to St. Louis from Richmond, Virginia, where she served as the inaugural curator and a faculty member of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) from 2014 to 2017. As part of the senior leadership team at the ICA she helped conceptualize and establish the identity, infrastructure, and protocols necessary for a nascent institution, participated in staff recruitment and selection, planned exhibitions and programs, and organized a wide range of exhibitions, public programs, and visiting artists to build interest and awareness.        "I am thrilled to be leading Laumeier Sculpture Park, an institution with a 40-year history, into the next chapter of its existence,” Ross said. “With its impressive collection, stunning grounds, and wonderful facilities, Laumeier is uniquely positioned to explore the intersections between art, culture, nature, health, education, and public space. I look forward to exploring these possibilities in concert with artists, community partners, and visitors.”        Previously, Ross served as the Nancy E. Meinig Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa from 2011 to 2014 and the Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Curator and Director of Arts Programs, for the   Friends of the High Line in New York City from 2009 to 2011. Over the past two decades, she has curated numerous exhibitions and public art projects, and has published more than three dozen catalogs, essays, features and reviews on modern and contemporary art.        At Laumeier, Ross will be responsible for engaging diverse audiences and advancing the Park’s position as a leading cultural institution within the St. Louis region and nationally among outdoor sculpture parks. She will steward the Park’s facilities, sculpture grounds, and other resources, overseeing the art collection, exhibitions, educational programs and collaborative partnerships, as well as serving as the lead fundraiser responsible for cultivating donor relationships, securing financial grants, and seeking other revenue streams to strengthen Laumeier’s financial position and long-term sustainability. In addition, she will help forge a new vision of how Laumeier can play a significant role locally and nationally in advancing public debate and providing meaningful learning experiences and encounters in the area of the human culture-nature relationship.        Ross holds a bachelor‘s degree from Cornell University, a master of arts degree in the History of Art from Hunter College at the City University of New York, and worked towards a doctor of philosophy in the History of Art at the Graduate School and University Center at the   City University of New York. She also completed a Certificate of Nonprofit Management at Duke University earlier this year.   Learn More

LAUMEIER SCULPTURE PARK NAMES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

After an extensive nationwide search, Laumeier Sculpture Park has named Lauren Ross, previously the curator of Virginia Commonwealth University's Institute for Contemporary Art and curator/director of arts programs at New York City High Line, as its new executive director. Ross will assume her new role at the St. Louis County Park in August.

      “We are thrilled to welcome Lauren Ross as our new executive director,” said Matt Harvey, Laumeier’s board president. “With her background as a curator, educator, strategic planner and fundraiser, Lauren will guide Laumeier Sculpture Park as we enter our fifth decade of nurturing the community through Art and Nature.”

      Ross comes to St. Louis from Richmond, Virginia, where she served as the inaugural curator and a faculty member of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) from 2014 to 2017. As part of the senior leadership team at the ICA she helped conceptualize and establish the identity, infrastructure, and protocols necessary for a nascent institution, participated in staff recruitment and selection, planned exhibitions and programs, and organized a wide range of exhibitions, public programs, and visiting artists to build interest and awareness.

      "I am thrilled to be leading Laumeier Sculpture Park, an institution with a 40-year history, into the next chapter of its existence,” Ross said. “With its impressive collection, stunning grounds, and wonderful facilities, Laumeier is uniquely positioned to explore the intersections between art, culture, nature, health, education, and public space. I look forward to exploring these possibilities in concert with artists, community partners, and visitors.”

      Previously, Ross served as the Nancy E. Meinig Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa from 2011 to 2014 and the Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Curator and Director of Arts Programs, for the Friends of the High Line in New York City from 2009 to 2011. Over the past two decades, she has curated numerous exhibitions and public art projects, and has published more than three dozen catalogs, essays, features and reviews on modern and contemporary art.

      At Laumeier, Ross will be responsible for engaging diverse audiences and advancing the Park’s position as a leading cultural institution within the St. Louis region and nationally among outdoor sculpture parks. She will steward the Park’s facilities, sculpture grounds, and other resources, overseeing the art collection, exhibitions, educational programs and collaborative partnerships, as well as serving as the lead fundraiser responsible for cultivating donor relationships, securing financial grants, and seeking other revenue streams to strengthen Laumeier’s financial position and long-term sustainability. In addition, she will help forge a new vision of how Laumeier can play a significant role locally and nationally in advancing public debate and providing meaningful learning experiences and encounters in the area of the human culture-nature relationship.

      Ross holds a bachelor‘s degree from Cornell University, a master of arts degree in the History of Art from Hunter College at the City University of New York, and worked towards a doctor of philosophy in the History of Art at the Graduate School and University Center at the City University of New York. She also completed a Certificate of Nonprofit Management at Duke University earlier this year.

Learn More