The townhouse site is primarily focused on Gross, his family and work but maintains an active role in the cultivation and promotion of downtown artists, exhibitions and other cultural programming. It also offers educational opportunities for museum studies and art history students. The rich history of the artist, collection, and building at 526 LaGuardia Place, is a unique resource within New York City and a monument to an important moment in the development of the city’s artistic legacy.
SGS has been working with the Foundation to examine and prepare condition reports on objects requested for loan as part of the exhibition. The Foundation does not have a dedicated in-house conservation department, and sought the help and advice of SGS to assess selected objects in the collection and consult during the exhibition process. The company’s Senior Conservation Specialist, Lauren Fly, has examined and prepared condition reports on many of the most significant works from the collection, including paintings by artists such as Arshile Gorky and John Graham, as well as sculptures by Gross himself.
The reports are being used in a variety of ways within the Foundation and support several activities. Primarily, condition reports provide a thorough and detailed assessment of the current state of conservation of a piece of art. By documenting extant damage and active areas of concern, the reports serve as a guideline for seeking conservation treatment to stabilize and prepare artworks for loan.
The Foundation’s newly appointed Executive Director, Sasha Davis, is also using the reports to prioritize artworks for treatment and request treatment proposals from conservators. The information contained in the condition reports can also be used to negotiate loan agreements, revise the exhibition list to mitigate the risk of displaying fragile objects, and prepare an exhibition budget. The reports establish a baseline for the condition of the works, and can be updated with condition report checks following treatment (should any be necessary) and during exhibition. Should damage occur during packing, shipping, and installation, the reports will be used to determine at what point the work was damaged and assign responsibility for the incidents of condition change. The unique level of detail and photo documentation included in an SGS condition report also means that the Foundation will be able to use the reports to support grant writing and fundraising initiatives for any necessary conservation treatments.
SGS has significant experience of undertaking comprehensive collection surveys and is pleased to support the Foundation in the development of their plans.