Conserving Andy Warhol’s Ethel Scull 36 Times

Mar 18, 2019

Whitney associate conservator Matthew Skopek and conservation department intern Sara Kornhauser prepare Ethel Scull 36 Times for the exhibition Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again

While the work looks like one giant canvas, it is actually 36 individual smaller ones that need to be carefully mounted together. Previously, the canvases had been attached to four cleats, one for each row. However, most of the canvases are not quite a perfect square, so the resulting rows weren't perfectly straight. Installing the work resulted in a bit of a dance, requiring the removal and re-hanging of the rows multiple times to get them to fit. For this project, all 36 of the portraits were removed from their cleats and mounted on a unified strainer. This final group mounting allows for quicker installation, which reduces handling and is safer for the artwork.