Last week, Roberta Fallon published an article, "Too Much Art," in Artblog about the dilemma we face when we've run out of room to house the artworks we've created and collected.
When I began searching for my father's work in 2008, I knew of fewer than 20 pieces. By 2011, I had found enough that I placed it in art storage--stabilized and safe, a concern because many of the pieces were donated in less-than-perfect condition. I’ve also located artwork that he owned by his friends, like Joe Amarotico, Helen Siegl, Jim McWilliams, Dan Miller, Elizabeth Osborne, and Louis Sloan. Since the collection in storage is a mix of other artists' work and the Brewton Foundation’s, I've always stayed on the safe side and paid the storage fees myself. It’s expensive, but it gives me peace of mind. I hope someday a museum will want to have stewardship of Jim Brewton’s artworks.
Conservation is also expensive for a tiny nonprofit, but rather than leave the work sitting in storage, we want to make progress in taking care of it. Our goal is to form an ongoing relationship with a conservator who will get to know Jim's work and methods. We're talking with Elizabeth (Beth) Nunan at Flux Art Conservation about applying for potential grants that would allow for an ongoing, collaborative educational project using the Brewton collection as a teaching tool for aspiring conservators.
Flux Art Conservation is already involved with educating and training pre-program, graduate, and post-graduate staff members, and we hope to develop a program together with an educational institution that will offer conservation students opportunities to perform hands-on assessment and treatment, and provide them with meaningful projects for growing their professional portfolios. In the meantime, Beth and her team are assessing six Brewton works with similar metallic paint/construction, including our top priority, the Kobenhavn painting Jim considered his masterpiece: The Bombardment of Kobenhavn by Vice Admiral Lord Nelson in 1801: The Mad Laughter of Courage (1966-67, mixed media on canvas, 49" x 86").
We look forward to sharing the project with you and, as ever, thank you for your interest and support.