Emerging Conservation Professionals take a closer look at Tony Smith’s Playground 3/3

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Lily Doan, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Objects Conservation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Jacinta Johnson, pre-program intern at Balboa Art Conservation Center. Both are Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) co-liaisons for Southern California.

ECPN members basking in the LA sun in front of Tony Smith’s Playground 3/3, which is located in Beverly Gardens Park, Beverly Hills, CA. From left to right: Lily Doan, Carolyn Roberts, Jacinta Johnson, Eloise Owens, and Jacklyn Chi.

In August of 2012, VoCA launched their Artist Research Project, for which Tony Smith was selected as the inaugural artist. Following VoCA’s call to the international community for contributions, Lily Doan and Jacinta Johnson, co-liaisons for the Southern California region of the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN), identified that Playground 3/3, a Tony Smith sculpture located at Beverly Gardens Park in Beverly Hills, CA required documentation and research.

A date was chosen to visit the sculpture, and a good mix of both pre-program and professional conservators volunteered their time and resources to examine Playground 3/3. In addition to Lily and Jacinta, the volunteers included Jacklyn Chi, pre-program intern at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Eloise Owens, pre-program student, and Carolyn Roberts, Graduate Intern in Antiquities Conservation at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Jacklyn Chi conducting photo-documentation of Tony Smith’s Playground 3/3 in Beverly Hills, CA.

The group was organized into two teams – one team tackled photo-documentation while the other took notes on condition. A digital SLR camera was used to capture images in raw format, which were later processed and color corrected to create high-quality images of all accessible angles of the sculpture. For documentation of condition, a point-and-shoot digital camera took quick snapshots of the sculpture, which were immediately uploaded to an iPad. A quick lesson was given to the group on graphic documentation of condition using ArtStudio, an iPad application that “enables users to quickly sketch over digital photos,” taught Lily, who had experience working with the program at LACMA. Graphic documentation was annotated with a color-coded legend and correlated with written notes.

Eloise Owens is using her iPad to document the condition of Playground 3/3 by Tony Smith in Beverly Hills, CA

In the weeks to follow, all photos and condition notes were compiled into one shared folder using DropBox. The team has been busy researching Playground 3/3 and a draft of the wiki article is underway. The City of Beverly Hills is in support of the project, and correspondence with a representative from the City will hopefully produce information on the history of the sculpture, as well as previous preservation measures. Once the article is complete, we will post it on Wikipedia, so stay tuned for the future announcement!

As young conservators, we were happy to contribute our time and skills to the Artist Research Project, and hope that our efforts will play a role in the long-term preservation of Tony Smith’s sculptures.

 **Read the finished Wikipedia article on Tony Smith’s Playground (3/3

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