From 2006 to 2009 the institution to receive the AXA ART Research Grant was Tate in London to fund the Tate AXA ART Modern Paints Project (TAAMPP). AXA ART’s grant facilitated groundbreaking conservation research at Tate. The project found ways in which artworks containing acrylic paints could be better conserved in the future, in many cases before the signs of ageing become apparent. To date, the choice of appropriate conservation techniques and knowledge of the effects of commonly employed conservation treatments on these paints is limited and this research lead the way in redressing this concern.
The project was headed up by Dr. Bronwyn Ormsby, Senior Conservation Scientist at Tate, and Dr. Elina Kampasakali, the AXA ART Research Fellow, based at the Tate Conservation Science Department at Millbank.
5 paintings in the Tate collection were surface cleaned and the treatments scientifically evaluated. The first painting treated was Untitled 2/72 (1972) by Jeremy Moon, which was followed by Portrait of Brooke Hayward (1973) by Andy Warhol. The next work receiving the TAAMPP treatment was Andromeda (1962) by Russian-American publisher, painter and sculptor Alexander Liberman. Following that John Hoyland’s 25.4.69 was cleaned. The final case study to conserved as part of the TAAMPP was British artist Bernard Cohen’s (b. 1933) Painting with Three Spots, One Blue and Two Yellow (T01538), painted in 1970 and purchased in 1972. Cohen created his spot paintings by inter-layering sprayed dots of coloured acrylic paint with coats of white acrylic emulsion paint. Throughout this period Cohen used Bocour paints and avoided using priming products, preferring the flexibility and surface quality of artist's quality titanium white paint instead.
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