All museums, whether they be about science, history, or art – are in the business of discovering, documenting, researching, and sharing the tangible evidence of human ideas and the intangible roles of those ideas within the cultures and societies, past and present. Museums often do that by collecting and preserving evidence: objects, documents, samples, specimens, economic, environmental and social data. To facilitate the dynamic analysis and re-interpretation of that evidence and research, museums preserve the objects and their documentation for as long as possible. And often at great expense.
Join us for an evening with Dale Kronkright, Head of Conservation at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum as he shares with us some of the imaging tools he uses to measure the properties and characteristics embodied in the artworks, adobe homes, and personal objects of Georgia O’Keeffe. Through discussion, Dale will explore the science behind how he detects changes in artwork and rates of deterioration.
Conservators like Dale are interested in measuring and characterizing rates of change in objects, as their job is to slow rates of change for as long as possible. They try to identify what processes accelerate deterioration of the properties and characteristics and minimize those by isolating the object, or controlling the environmental conditions within which the object is displayed or stored. When the tangible properties have been lost, obscured or diminished to the point that the tangible evidence of the objects previous, undeteriorated states are at high risk of permanent loss, conservators document and remove old, failing repairs, accumulated dirt and soiling, and add new, supplemental materials and structures to help recover enough of the deteriorated properties to allow the object to be sensibly studied and experienced. They do this work using materials and techniques that are discernible from the objects original materials, which will remain removable or reversible in the future and which can be shown to actually slow the rate of further deterioration.
Dale Kronkright is Head of Conservation at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. He has been Conservator for the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum since its inception in 1997. In 2000 Dale began research into O’Keeffe’s studio materials and techniques with scientists and conservators at the National Gallery of Art, resulting in the 2006 exhibition and catalog “Color and Conservation” which documented the 40 year friendship of conservator Caroline Keck and Georgia O’Keeffe.
Dale been studying the efficacy of micro-environmental framing systems for the preservation of O’Keeffe’s paintings, pastels, watercolors and drawings since 2000. In 2007, Dale began a collaborative project with Jim Druzik, Senior Scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute and Dr. Carl Dirk, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Texas at El Paso. As part of the larger GCI Museum Lighting Project headed by Druzik, the O’Keeffe Museum has served as a case study to evaluate the efficacy of Micro-Fade testing and custom interference gallery light filters for the preservation of O’Keeffe’s light sensitive watercolors and pastels.
In 2010 Dale began working on 3D imaging using photogrammetry and reflectance transformation imaging for the documentation of O’Keeffe’s historic homes and studios at Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch. In 2014 Dale began working the scientific and imaging faculty at the Northwestern University / Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NuAccess) on the use of photometric stereo imaging for monitoring three dimensional changes in the surfaces of prints and paintings. His current research is on the dynamic movement and vibration stabilization of works of art in transit.
Dale earned his BA in American Culture Studies from the University of California at Davis (1978) and his postgraduate certificate in Conservation at the Peabody Museum, at Harvard in 1983. He has served as adjunct faculty at the Art Conservation Graduate Program at SUNY Buffalo since 1991. Dale holds numerous advanced certificates in scientific analytical methods and has received numerous national and state preservation awards.
Prior to coming to work for the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Dale was Senior Conservator for the Museum of New Mexico, in Santa Fe for seven years and was Senior Conservator at the Regional Conservation Center, Bishop Museum, Honolulu from 1985 to 1991. He has also served as an instructor and author for the Getty Conservation Institute from 1985 to 1987.
Mr. Kronkright is a Professional Associate in the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) where he also serves as a contributing book review author for the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation. He is a member of the International Institute for Conservation (IIC) and the Western Association of Art Conservators.