Revealing The Hidden Lives of Artworks at The Carnegie

Get an up-close view of some of the museum's more intriguing works via this exhibit, which runs through May 8.

photos by chuck beard


The Carnegie Museum of Art has more than 35,000 pieces in its permanent collection, but only 7 percent of those typically are on display. “Uncrated: The Hidden Lives of Artworks,” which runs through May 8, aims to expose visitors to some of the museum’s more intriguing works — melted wax heads, a polyurethane bathtub that must be burped by puncturing discreet holes into it to release gas bubbles that build up naturally in the material, a painting so heavy it requires a special cart to move — and introduce the people who move, pack, document and preserve them. For each week of the exhibit’s run, the CMOA team has been unveiling different pieces and allowing guests hands-on experiences with the tools of the trade. Come explore with us.


Chief preparator Kurt Christian and preparator Jasen Bernthisel, with film and video archivist Emily Davis, assemble “Big Video Chair” by Buky Swartz. The artist’s instructions were less precise than the team would have liked.


Preparators Dale Luce, Ramon Camacho and Jasen Bernthisel unpack and hang the painting “G. David Thompson” by Malcolm Parcell.

A wall of object records tracks each artwork’s progress throughout the run of “Uncrated.”


Conservator Carolyn Arp builds new custom housing for small objects in CMOA’s collection.

Arp holds a 1770 miniature portrait fastened to a braided human-hair bracelet, wrapped around a new armature and ready for storage.

Chief conservator Ellen Baxter cleans the frame of a painting by John White Alexander.

A large charcoal drawing by Alex Katz, “Twelve Hours,” awaits condition reporting and photography.

Through May 8; in-gallery work
runs 10am-5pm Mon, Wed-Fri;
nearby interactive exhibition on view
during museum operating hours

Carnegie Museum of Art
4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland

Categories: Arts & Entertainment