Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Sol Lewitt Wall Drawing

Sol Lewitt Wall Drawing

From: Chantal Bernicky <bernickyc<-a>
Date: Monday, August 4, 2008
A large Wall Drawing by Sol Lewitt was installed in 1986 and
repainted in 2007 at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Serious cracks in
the drywall substrate have developed with time and seem to have been
made worse by the 2007 repainting. The paint, priming layers,
drywall and joint compound are severely delaminating at the cracked
areas and our attempts to control the situation have been
unsuccessful so far.

The total dimension of the wall is 29 feet 6 inches x 124 feet 7
inches. The Wall Drawing is adjacent a long staircase and faces a
wall of windows. A freight elevator is located on the other side of
the wall. The structure of the wall consists of drywall sheets
screwed to studs that are anchored into masonry. Each drywall sheet
was taped, skimmed-coated with joint compound and primed (oil based
primer followed by water-based primer). The paint matrix consists of
very dilute layers of acrylic paint. The cracks have developed in
the joint compound and paint along the edges of the sheets of dry
wall. There is a little gap between the sheets beneath the tape.

I have tried to consolidate the delaminating layers without success
(water and solvent-based adhesives). I have removed the flaking
joint compound down to the tape and in-filled with different
materials (latex spackle and silicone acrylic caulk) also without

I am gathering that the expansion and contraction of the wall and
the vibration (freight elevator and patrons on the stairs) are
causing the paint to buckle in that specific area.

Treating the surface has proven unsuccessful: the cracks in the
drywall keep reappearing, and we are wondering if we need to be more
intrusive by removing the tape and perhaps placing a rigid fill
material in the gap between the sheets of drywall to stop the

Has anyone dealt with this type of problem? Any input will be
greatly appreciated.

Chantal Bernicky
Carnegie Museum of Art

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:9
                 Distributed: Saturday, August 9, 2008
                        Message Id: cdl-22-9-013
Received on Monday, 4 August, 2008

[Search all CoOL documents]