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Friday, June 1 • 11:00am - 11:30am
(Architecture) Transportation, Installation, and Conservation of the 20th c. fresco 'Haitian Massacre, 1937': Challenges, solutions, and contributions

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The transportation and installation of the fresco mural Haitian Massacre, 1937, followed by its conservation, was not only challenging for the conservators but also for the engineers contracted for the project. The mural, created in 1974 by Dominican artists José Ramírez Conde and Roberto Flores, presented extensive damage from being hastily cut away from its original location and enduring three years of harsh environmental conditions after being left outdoors just covered by a tarp. Funded by the Ambassadors’ Fund for Cultural Preservation program, the project was lead by Dominican paintings conservator Hilda Abreu Utermohlen and U.S.-Argentinian Viviana Dominguez, mural conservator. The conservators took on the task of not only conserving the extensively damaged fresco, but also of advising on its preventive care, especially during its transportation from this exposed location to the Memorial Museum of the Dominican Resistance in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and subsequent installation in the museum, where it could be appreciated by the public. 
Throughout the project, the authors faced technical and logistical challenges, due to the large size and heavy weight of the fresco wall, its poor condition, the long travel route from its location to the museum, the narrow entrance to the museum, its maneuvering for affixing it to the installation base, limitations in the availability of trained professionals in mural conservation and supplies, as well as budget constrains. These challenges were ingeniously sorted out thanks to the efforts and teamwork of the conservators and engineers, resulting in the successful completion of the project. Utermohlen and Dominguez presented the examination, planning and preparation phases of the project during AIC 44th Annual Meeting in Montreal in 2015, as a work in progress. On this presentation the authors will describe the completion of the project, consisting of its transportation, installation, and conservation treatment, followed by the repair of building features and exhibit completion by the museum. Highlights include: the frame used for securing the large wall during the 14 km ride through the city and into the narrow streets of the Colonial City, and the methods used for bringing in the severely damaged wall and securing it in place. Also, they will detail the conservation treatment activities performed, including consolidation and loss compensation with local materials and techniques similar to those used by the artists. In the conclusion, they discuss and reflect on the results and benefits derived from this project, not only for the specific preservation of this artwork, but also as a tool to convey its multiple values. Moreover, the international nature of the assembled team provided not only an opportunity to collaborate hand in hand in the exchange of knowledge, but also to build bridges of understanding among the participants. 

avatar for Viviana Dominguez-[PA]

Viviana Dominguez-[PA]

Senior Conservator, Art Conservators Lab LLC
Viviana Dominguez is a specialist in the conservation of large-scale works of art on public places, wall paintings, and easel paintings. She has worked in the field since 1983, preserving national and monuments, and international works. She has broad experience in a large variety... Read More →
avatar for Hilda Abreu Utermohlen-[Fellow]

Hilda Abreu Utermohlen-[Fellow]

Executive Director, Hilab
Hilda is founder and Executive Director of Hilab, a private art conservation firm in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She has 28 years of experience working in the treatment of paintings and a wide range of art conservation services and consultations in her country and the Caribbean... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 11:00am - 11:30am MDT
Texas Ballroom C Marriott Marquis Houston
  6. Specialty Session, Architecture