Back to Calendar

Materials Lab Workshop: Metal

X-ray image of a Zhou dynasty (475–221 BCE) circular mirror showing breaks and solder repairs, which are concealed with fake patina and not visible to the naked eye.
Photo: Harvard Art Museums; © President and Fellows of Harvard College.


Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA

Artists and craftspeople throughout the ages have fashioned metal into artwork in myriad ways: through casting, hammering, cutting, bending, welding, electrolytic deposition, and stamping; as decorative layers, pigment sources, and printing and drawing materials; and as structural features and photosensitive emulsions. We celebrate and oftentimes bemoan how metals alter over time by chemical processes.

Discover through close looking and presentations how metal shows up among works in the collections, how museum professionals learn about the life of these works, and what conservation issues arise when working with this medium. We will view relevant works in the galleries—including those in the special exhibition Doris Salcedo: The Materiality of Mourning—and in the Art Study Center. Participants will also spend time in the Materials Lab making a metal-based pigment, interpreting an X-ray image of a metal sculpture, and exploring some of the artistic processes discussed.

Francesca Bewer, research curator for conservation and technical studies, along with guest experts, will lead this exploration of metal in art.
The event will be held in the Materials Lab, Lower Level.
$15 materials fee. Registration is required and payment must be made in advance. Please email or stop by the museums’ admissions desk to register. Space is limited to 15 participants. Minimum age of 14.