Iconic 'Torn Notebook' sculpture to undergo conservation

Released on 04/26/2007, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHERE: Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, 12th and R Streets ("Torn Notebook" at 12th and Q Streets)

Lincoln, Neb., April 26th, 2007 —
Color JPEG image of
Color JPEG image of "Torn Notebook" by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, 1993-96, painted stainless steel, steel and aluminum.

Beginning May 7, the public sculpture "Torn Notebook" by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen will undergo conservation treatment. Installed in 1996 at the corner of 12th and Q streets on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, the popular sculpture has deteriorated from exposure to the elements.

Sited in a transitional area from downtown Lincoln to the campus, the dramatic, playful sculpture includes three components: a large notebook held by a spiral and two nearby torn pages, which appear to be blowing in the wind. The $70,000 conservation project will take four to six weeks to complete and will include repainting the entire sculpture as well as repairing a damaged section of the notebook spiral. Glasson Sculpture Works of New York will complete the conservation treatment.

Structurally, "Torn Notebook" remains in good condition. However, the black and white pages have faded from exposure to sunlight and surfaces facing the sun have become chalky from exposure to ultraviolet rays. A new paint system will be used on the sculpture to help protect it from outdoor elements. Visitors and students on campus can expect to see safety barriers surrounding the sculpture site while the project is taking place.

The conservation of "Torn Notebook" is part of the continuing effort UNL's Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden to ensure the safekeeping of artwork in its permanent collection. The work will be paid for in part through the Robert E. Schweser and Fern Beardsley Schweser conservation fund. Six other outdoor sculptures received conservation treatment last fall and summer through a grant funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

"It is wonderful to be able to share our outstanding outdoor sculpture collection with the public at all times," said Sheldon director Jan Driesbach. "However, since sunlight and exposure to the elements take their toll, regular maintenance is critical to assuring that important works such as 'Torn Notebook' are kept in excellent condition and can be properly appreciated. Since 'Torn Notebook' is a not only a key work in our collection, but has become an icon in our community, we are particularly eager to have it returned to pristine condition to be enjoyed by all."

The Philip Johnson-designed Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery houses a permanent collection of more than 12,000 objects focusing on American art. The Nebraska Art Association is the dedicated nonprofit support group of the Sheldon. The museum, 12th and R streets on the UNL campus, is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free.

For information or to arrange a tour, call (402) 472-2461. Additional information is available on the museum Web site, www.sheldon.unl.edu.

CONTACT: Tom White, Public Relations Manager, Sheldon, (402) 472-1197