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Michael Heizer’s Charmstone Gets a Facelift


Staff at Houston’s Menil Collection are currently working to conserve Michael Heizer’s 1991 artwork Charmstone, which has been on view in front of the museum for the past twenty-five years. After such a long time in Houston’s humid climate, the sculpture’s original coating has become cracked and chalky. Using dry ice blasting, conservators are working to remove the old coating from the hanging piece.

The sculpture’s dedication plaque is also undergoing conservation. After being cleaned of mineral deposits and washed, conservators used a propane torch to evaporate excess moisture held in the plaque’s recesses. They plan to give the plaque a wax coating that will protect it and make it easy to clean. The coating will be reapplied every three to six months. See a video of a part of the cleaning process below.

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