Bringing Science to Your Doorstep: Northwestern University / Art Institute of Chicago
Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts Find out more at our website http://www.nuaccess.northwestern.edu;
@NU_ACCESS; Contact us: [email protected]
Co-Directors: Francesca Casadio & Katherine Faber; Senior Scientist: Marc Walton; Postdoctoral Fellows: Monica Ganio & Johanna Salvant
Who are we and what do we do? •
We conduct object-based and object-inspired research devoted to questions of interest to museums and cultural institutions through collaboration between museum professionals and university science and engineering researchers.
We extend research opportunities to museums and cultural institutions that do not currently have scientific support. Although the Center does not award third-party grants, project-related costs and expertise are supported. Julie Barten, Senior Conservator at the Guggenheim Museum, and Dr. Francesca Casadio examining Moholy-Nagy’s Sil 2 (1933).
How do you submit proposals? •
Proposals to initiate joint research can be submitted by cultural heritage institutions or individuals twice a year. This includes proposals for brief residencies (up to 3 months) to work collaboratively on-site with the Center staff and faculty.
Proposals are peer-reviewed by an international team of experts.
The next deadlines for submissions are October 15, 2015 and April 15, 2016. 33 proposals submitted from around the world since 2013; 8 projects funded to date.
What have we been working on?
Moholy-Nagy / Construction of Space and Light
Technical Study of Bronze Sculptures Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
B-10 Space Modulator, 1942. Oil on incised and hand-shaped Plexiglas, mounted with chromium clamps on painted plywood, Plexiglas: 17 3/4 x 12 inches, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection. © 2014 Artists Rights Society, New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
The influential Bauhaus artist László Moholy-Nagy (18951946) experimented in his artworks with a variety of unconventional materials such as industrial plastic and metallic substrates. Scientific analysis of the Guggenheim’s collection, combined with archival research, is shedding new light on Moholy-Nagy’s artistic processes and choices of materials, and is providing a foundation to inform treatment and produce new content for an upcoming exhibition.
Technical Study Egyptian Paintings
Elemental composition of copper alloys from a group of 20th century bronze sculptures, including works by artists such as Auguste Rodin, Jacques Lipchitz and Edgar Degas, were investigated. The analytical results were interpreted side by side with archival information to shed light on the casting, patination and production technology of these masterpieces assisting with attribution of some sculptures. Jacques Lipchitz, Pierrot with Clarinet, 1919. Cast bronze. Height 29 ½ inches. The Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago
Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
Surface-Shape Studies of Gauguin's Monotypes, Prints and Drawings Art Institute of Chicago Computational imaging was used to evaluate the surface structure of Paul Gauguin’s (1848-1903) graphic production with the aim of better understanding his printmaking and transfer processes. The data are providing new and unprecedented visual documentation and insight Nativity, c. 1902. into how Gauguin formed, layered, Transfer drawing in brown and black inks on cream wove paper, 24.3 x 22.0 cm. The Art Institute of Chicago and re-used imagery to make these works. The information will be included in an upcoming online collection catalog and 2017 exhibition.
A systematic technical study of 15 Roman Egyptian paintings and mummy portraits, excavated in 1899-1900 at the site of Tebtunis in the Fayum region of Egypt, is underway at the Phoebe Hearst Museum. Investigation of this collection, one of the largest known to originate from a single site, will shed light on the artistic techniques and cultural practices involved in producing these paintings. Acknowledgements: This collaborative initiative (20132018) is part of NU-ACCESS’s broad portfolio of activities, made possible by generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as well as supplemental support provided by the Materials Research Center, the Office of the Vice President for Research, the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University.
Origin and Production of a Glass Mosque Lamp Brooklyn Museum, New York This glass mosque lamp from the Brooklyn Museum collection exhibits stylistic elements that complicate its attribution to either 13th-14th century Mamluk production or 19th century European manufacture. Microstructure and composition of the lamp materials were investigated, providing a better understanding of the sequence of production and origin of the lamp’s different components.
Northwestern University_ Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts