OBERLIN, OHIO – MidWest Fine Art Service and Transportation Co. recently re-installed the Allen Memorial Art Museum’s treasured Claes Oldenburg "Three Way Plug". The monumental Cor-Ten steel and bronze sculpture is a favorite landmark on the campus of Oberlin College and had been off view for over a year while undergoing conservation treatment at the Intermuseum Conservation Association in Cleveland.
You can review the article about Midwest FIne Arts de-installation of this work by clicking here.
The restoration of the 39 year old sculpture was performed by conservator Mark Erdmann and his colleague Jason Byers. The treatment included removing a deteriorated fabric coating that had been applied during previous restoration in 1980 and thoroughly cleaning the entire surface. A corrosion inhibiting coating was applied overall and addition drainage holes were made to prevent pooling within the piece. The bronze prongs were stripped to remove graffiti and polished and lacquered. Prior to reinstallation a French drainage system was installed where the sculpture rests to prevent pooling water beneath the piece.
MidWest’s staff for the installation included Tim Carney, Chris Castro, Charles Eiben and his son James and Andy Rock. The team prepared the approach to the sculpture’s location with sheets of plywood to prevent the heavy equipment from damaging the grounds and brick walkways. The sculpture was blanket-wrapped protecting the surface of the art work from the lifting straps. Extensive photo documentation was used to position the work to its original positioning.
According to the college’s press release, Oldenburg wanted the sculpture to appear that it had fallen out of the sky "like an acorn or an apple or a piece of Russian satellite or a meteor". Nearly one third of the sculpture is buried reinforcing the apparent impact.
The Allen Memorial Art Museum is ranked as one of the finest college or university art museums in the nation and is open to the public Tuesday thru Sunday and admission is free.