A “little bird” told us it needed some conservation in Indiana, so the McKay Lodge Conservation Team recently traveled to perform outdoor sculpture maintenance in Indianapolis. “Littlebird” is one part of two outdoor sculptures thinmanlittlebird by Peter Shelton installed in front of the Indianapolis Public Library’s Central branch. “Thinman” is an approximately 40 foot tall, headless figure with spindly limbs standing on a stone pedestal while canted high above on the side of the building is “littlebird”, a massive donut-like form with a small bird sitting on its outer edge.
The artwork occupies two pedestals on either side of the main entrance of the library. These pedestals were always intended to hold sculptures by the original architect of the library, Paul Cret, but they were vacant for 92 years until thinmanlittlebird was installed in 2009.
The imposing bronze sculptures required a washing and the reapplication of a protective coating, but you can’t exactly use a ladder to reach them. Emmett Lodge, Conservator and Industrial Coatings Inspector, along with other members of the art conservation staff employed a 45-foot lift to treat the outdoor bronze sculptures.
But that’s not all.
While on-site the McKay Lodge Conservation team also performed outdoor sculpture maintenance of two historic exterior torchiere lamps and a large plaque commemorating Arthur St. Clair, who served as Governor of the Territory of the North of the River Ohio (1788-1802). Under St. Clair, the foundations of the future commonwealth of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. In addition, the team washed and applied a hot wax coating to a group of allegorical bronze figures located above the back entrance of the library. The location of an underground parking garage beneath the Allegorical Figures required use of a special light weight SpiderLift to access the sculptural group. Thank you for the great video Indianapolis Public Library.
While there are many other reasons to visit the library aside from the newly treated outdoor sculpture, a very special day is soon approaching for the institution. In just a few days, the Indianapolis Public Library’s Central branch celebrates its 100 year anniversary in October 2017.