YI Arts Careers meet with Conservation
Jul 19, 2016

bright lights shine in dark room on a man talking

YI Arts Careers with Associate Conservator, Matthew Skopek, in the Whitney’s Conservation studio. Photograph by Alec, YI Participant

On July 19, YI Arts Careers met with Heather Cox, Executive Coordinator of Conservation and Matthew Skopek, Associate Conservator. Cox was a part of the original Conservation team at the Whitney Museum. Over time, Cox has experienced new challenges and is constantly learning on her job. She would describe the Conservation team  as “dynamic and fun.”

The Conservation studio has large floor-to-ceiling windows, which enables light to constantly enter the room throughout the day. The studio is a mix of art and science. Through the use of modern technology, the Conservation team can understand different types of art and make the correct adjustments. For example, we were shown photographs of Edward Hopper’s painting, A Woman in the Sun1961 that were taken by Skopek with an infrared camera. From these images, Skopek could see beneath the paint layers to the charcoal outline that Hopper created as the original sketch for this painting. From these images, the Conservation team could understand the intent of the artist and repair it to its original state. The conservation team does make changes to the art, but their changes must always be reversible, as Cox says “it is the golden rule of all conservation teams.”

By Alec, YI Participant