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Pitt Art Gallery Hosts Exhibit on Conservation

Conservation and preservation is the theme of a new exhibition at the University of Pittsburgh’s Art Gallery.

The gallery was chosen by Heritage Preservation to take part in the 2013 Conservation Assessment Program. In June, a professional paper conservator spent two days examining the layout of the gallery as well as the site’s policies, procedures and environmental conditions.

An initial report points to issues in lighting, shelving and storage that could harm artwork over time.

Curator Isabell Chartier said the program allowed her to get a professional opinion on the state of the gallery’s conservation methods.

“Larger institutions usually have conservators on staff,” she said. “We don’t. So, we need this help from the outside.”

The gallery has more than 3,000 objects from around the world, but Chartier said it was never meant to store so many items.

Inspired by the assessment, the gallery will host an exhibition entitled, “Rediscover: The Collection Revealed.”

“It’s important to think of preventive conservation measures,” she said. “I think that’s really the very first step. It’s preventive conservation, so we take every measure possible to make sure the objects are safe in storage.”

Chartier has selected some of the gallery’s permanent collection to be displayed as part of the exhibit, including 16th and 17th century French and Italian drawings and contemporary artwork from local and international artists.

Paintings from the storage area will be displayed next to properly preserved pieces to show a “before and after” effect.

Chartier said she wants the exhibition to be a learning experience for students and the public.

“There are certain issues that we worry about, but there are ways to address the problems and find solutions,” she said. “We wanted to share this with the public.”

The exhibition will run Sept. 6 through Oct. 19 at the Frick Fine Arts Building in Oakland. The gallery is open to the public 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday by appointment.

The Erie, PA native has been a fellow in the WESA news department since May 2013. Having earned a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Duquesne University, he is now pursuing an M.A. in multi-media management. Michael describes his career aspiration as "I want to do it all in journalism."
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