Work of the Week: Tobi Kahn, “Patuach Sagur Patuach”

Tobi Kahn (American, b. 1952), Patuach Sagur Patuach, 2012, acrylic on wood, 9 3/4 x 12 3/8 x 8 3/4 in., A Gift from the Acorn Foundation, funded by Barbara and Theodore Alfond, in honor of Bruce A. Beal Director Ena Heller. 2015.8.1 © Tobi

Work of the Week: Willem de Kooning, “Two Women”

Willem de Kooning (American, 1904-1997), Two Women, 1973, Lithograph on paper, 18 x 15 in. Museum Purchase from the Wally Findlay Acquisition Fund, 1997.13 A monolith in American Abstract Expressionism, Dutch-born artist Willem de Kooning had a diverse artistic career lasting for over five decades.

Work of the Work: Tom Peterson, “The Divine Comedy”

This painting references the titular narrative poem by Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), a work of Italian literature originally published in 1320. Dante’s Divine Comedy chronicles the author’s supposed visit to the realms of the afterlife, narrated in first person. Towards the right of the composition, Dante the Pilgrim—the figure holding a book—traverses through Hell, indicated by the fiery orange background. Specifically, Peterson referenced the thirteenth canto of the Inferno, where Dante and his spiritual guide Virgil journey through the forest of the suicides in the seventh circle of Hell. In the Inferno, violence against oneself is punished by the transformation of the body into a tree where the mythical harpies nest. In the narrative, Dante plucks a twig from a gnarled branch, only to witness blood gush from the wound and the trunk angrily yelp at him.

Conservation Connections: Mushrooms Plug Tray 100 by Brian Burkhardt

Recently, there has been an explosion of scholarship into the conservation of contemporary works of art. Historically a field limited to traditional art forms, with conservators painstakingly dissolving individual layers of varnish or carefully inpainting a damaged square centimeter of