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Friday, May 31 • 2:40pm - 3:00pm
(Contemporary Art Session 2) Conservation of Wrapped TV, 1967 by Christo and Nam June Paik

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This proposal presents the conservation of a 1967 collaborative work by Christo and Nam June Paik, Wrapped TV, which was undertaken in 2011 – 2012. The ethical and practical decisions that were required of the project both prior to and throughout the course of treatment are representative of the unique challenges that arise from the conservation of contemporary art.

Wrapped TV consists of Nam June Paik’s work—a small CRT placed inside a five-sided Plexiglas box—that is wrapped with flexible PVC sheet and tied with string and twine by Christo. The object has undergone natural deterioration of the PVC, the cordage, and the Plexi glue joints. Separately, extensive damage to the Plexiglas incurred during a move rendered the object structurally unsound to hold the CRT in place. Broken Plexi also threatened to cause further damage to the PVC wrapping as the object is shifted during handling. Furthermore, damage to the Plexi distorted the overall shape of the wrapped form.

Three options were available regarding the conservation of the object: 1) Leave the work as is while acknowledging the potential damage that the broken Plexi may cause the plastic wrapping as well as the likelihood of further alterations to the shape of the object. 2) Undertake treatment of the work, which calls for opening the plastic wrapping, examining the CRT for evidence of past treatment, stabilizing the Plexiglas box, reattaching the CRT to the Plexi, stabilizing all plastic hardware, overall cleaning, and re-wrapping of the PVC. 3) Consider Christo’s offer to re-wrap the work with new plastic and/or cordage. The last option raised concerns regarding alterations to object’s appearance and original intent, the addition of new materials, and the loss of original materials. It also raised the question of how the work would be understood and dated after such an extensive reworking.

The decision to treat Wrapped TV is guided by the object’s safety, the limited window of time available before the PVC film becomes too brittle to move, and the decision to preserve the work’s 1967 materials and date. Treatment was undertaken as described under option 2 with the aim of providing structural stability with minimal visual impact. The treatment retained original hardware and used online digital machining to fabricate mounts that allowed broken original plastic elements to be stabilized and retained.


Margo Delidow

Sculpture Conservator, Whryta Contemporary Art Conservation

Eric Meier

Contemporary Art Specialist, Whryta Contemporary Art Conservation
avatar for Jessica L Pace

Jessica L Pace

Preventive Conservator, New York University Libraries

Friday May 31, 2013 2:40pm - 3:00pm EDT
JW Marriott White River Ballroom F 10 S West St Indianapolis, IN 46204

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