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The Boca Raton Museum of Art has completed restoration of Shadow Cord by pioneering artist Louise Nevelson, a leading American sculptor of the 20th-century, and an innovator in site-specific art installations.
The restoration was funded by a grant from Bank of America’s Art Conservation Project, a global program providing grants to nonprofit cultural institutions to conserve historically or culturally significant works of art, including works that have been designated as national treasures.
This year, Bank of America selected 23 cultural preservation projects globally, including artwork restoration projects across the U.S., and abroad in China, France, Lebanon, Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, and the U.K.
The work, Shadow Chord, created in 1969, exhibits stacked boxes completely covered by Nevelson’s signature flat black paint, giving this installation the imposing presence of a cityscape that alters the viewer’s perception of light and space.
“Nevelson’s sculpture commands a singular position in our galleries for our museumgoers to enjoy, and we are grateful for this support for its crucial restoration,” Irvin Lippman, the Museum’s Executive Director, said. “Painted in her signature matte black paint, featuring abstract compositions composed of scavenged bits of discarded wood and boxes, they transform into striking sculptural walls built to an architectural scale, an engulfing, sensuous environment full of shadows and mystery ― this artwork continues to be a favorite for our visitors.”
Since acquiring the piece in 2001, the Boca Raton Museum has followed professional conservation standards and taken measures to minimize the deterioration of the artwork. However, the work was in need of repairing the damage to the surface due to natural aging and handling after more than five decades since its creation.
“Knowing the importance of supporting access to the arts, Bank of America is excited to partner with the Boca Raton Museum of Art through the Art Conservation Project,” said Fabiola Brumley, president, Bank of America Palm Beach County. “Art and objects of cultural heritage are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of time, and the conservation of these works allows society at large to continue to be inspired by the rich diversity of the human experience.”
Since it began in 2010, the Bank of America Art Conservation Project has funded the conservation of individual pieces of art through more than 237 projects in 40 countries across six continents, conserving paintings, sculptures, and archaeological and architectural pieces that are critically important to cultural heritage and the history of art.
The completed work is currently on view on the second floor at the Boca Raton Museum of Art.
Louise Nevelson (1899-1988) immigrated from Ukraine with her family to the United States in 1905, settling in Rockland, Maine. In 1920, she married Charles Nevelson, a wealthy ship owner, and enrolled at the Art Students League in New York to study painting, voice, and dance.
Nevelson held her first solo exhibition in New York in 1941. Over the next several decades, she became a pioneer in large-scale installations, an uncommon achievement for women of her generation during that time in art history.
Shadow Chord, the sculpture located at the Boca Raton Museum of Art that was restored thanks to the support of the Bank of America Art Conservation Project grant, was created at the height of Nevelson’s artistic career and embodies the visual language of her work with its complex wood assemblages and monochromatic color, representing her relentless dedication to her art.
Other works by Nevelson that employ a similar technique are part of collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., the Tate in London, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, attesting to the importance of her work.
About the Boca Raton Museum of Art
Founded by artists, Boca Raton Museum of Art was established in 1950 as the Art Guild of Boca Raton. The organization has grown, now in its eighth decade, to encompass a Museum, Art School, and Sculpture Garden. As one of South Florida’s leading cultural landmarks, the Museum provides educational programs and a robust exhibition schedule to the community, and to visitors from around the world.