McKay Lodge Art Conservation Laboratory, Inc. was hired by the general contractor Desbuild Inc. of Hyattsville, Maryland to remove, conserve and relocate to a new site nearby Tony Smith’s monumental sculpture She Who Must be Obeyed. The 30 foot tall, 24 foot wide painted steel sculpture is located at the Department of Labor’s Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Avenue, a block from the U.S. Capitol Building.
The move is part of a larger GSA project involving the permanent relocation of the Labor Department’s child care center playground to the site where the sculpture was originally installed. In 2005, McKay Lodge, Inc. had been hired by the project architect on advice from GSA to design the relocation and art conservation of the sculpture and receive approval for the relocation design, its modifications and new coatings from the artist’s estate. The sculpture was commissioned by the U.S. General Services Administration under its Art-in-Architecture Program in 1974 and the sculpture was installed in 1976.
The project’s work involves disassembly, transportation, metal repairs, modifications to close unoriginal and problematic ventilation slots, corrosion removal, new high-performance coatings inside and outside, correction of color back to the original color, correction of gloss back to original gloss, and erection in a new location on the grounds of the Department of Labor. McKay Lodge, Inc. provided the design and the bid specifications for the art conservation work and for the relocation but was then retained to perform all of the relocation and required rehabilitation work.
During the final weeks of April, McKay Lodge, Inc. art conservation staff prepared the steel sculpture for disassembly and removal. A drum’s worth of corrosion control powder that had been blown into the interior years agowas removed by industrial vacuum. Then, all corroded bolts had to be loosened. On Sunday morning, April 27, 2008 the sculpture was lifted in three sections by Hutchinson International Corp./United Rigging. On Monday, the three sections were transported to American Stripping Co. in Manassas Park, VA where McKay Lodge, Inc. will work with the company’s owner, James Sejd. on the structural repairs, coatings removals and new coatings. The final color coatings will be field-applied TNEMEC 1071 Fluoronar.
McKay Lodge, Inc. company president Robert Lodge provided the design and specifications work for the art conservation project. He received his training in industrial coatings applications, coatings inspectionservices and coatings failure analysis from industry leader KTA-Tator, Inc. in Pittsburgh and in coatings specifications writing from The Society for Protective Coatings (SSPC), formerly the Steel Structures Painting Council.