Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works Objects Specialty Group
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Kiss and Tell: The Conservation of Lipstick-Coated Art by Rachel Lachowicz
Elizabeth Homberger, Assistant Conservator, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA
Carl Patterson, Carl Patterson, Director of Conservation, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
The recent reinstallation of two lipstick-based sculptural works by artist Rachel Lachowicz, One Month Late and Untitled (Lipstick Urinals), provided conservators at the Denver Art Museum a unique opportunity to develop a holistic approach to the works’ preservation and installation. This included collaboration with the artist in order to document her techniques and intent, as well as research and materials analysis in order to understand lipstick deterioration mechanisms. This paper will describe the research, treatment, and preventive conservation recommendations for preserving an actively deteriorating and ultimately ephemeral material, and, in doing so, provide information to further the study of the conservation of contemporary art composed of non-art materials.

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