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Public artworks commissioned by the Art-in-Architecture Program since its establishment in 1963, a percent-for-art program of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), require frequent maintenance inspections to keep them in good condition. The number of commissions now exceeds 300 dispersed across the United States including Alaska, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Through these inspections the needs for conservation work are identified and prioritized. This cycle of inspections across the nation is an ongoing activity of McKay Lodge Art Conservation Laboratory, Inc. as part of its multi-year, sole-source conservation contract with GSA. Most inspections are followed by treatments performed by McKay Lodge, Inc. or its local subcontract conservators based on its post-inspection recommendations.

The following artworks commissioned for the public places on government properties are scheduled to-date for inspection, maintenance and possibly art conservation treatments in 2008. These are representative of the diversity of materials and intentions of the artworks that must be cared for in this public collection.


Dalton Cach Border Station, Haines, AK. Three carved and painted wooden sculptures in outdoor exposure by artist Carmen Quinto Plunkett: The Thunderbirds; Tlingeit Conception II; and The Protector. Additional inspections of art will be performed in Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks. In Anchorage, Dan Flavin’s Untitled at the Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse. Also in Anchorage, Robert Hudson’s painted aluminum sculpture Tlingit. At the Federal Building in Fairbanks, Gerald Conaway’s Artic Amphibian. At the Federal Building in Juneau, Thomas Austin Harly’s Northern Landscape Elements and his Diving Pelicans.


San Jose U.S. Courthouse & Federal Building, San Jose, CA. Three commissions are featured at this courthouse:

  1. Ray King’s Solar Wing (installed 1984) is made of 620 tempered glass prisms mounted in 186 anodized turquoise aluminum frames attached to the exterior of the building as a giant sunshade. The prisms project colored patterns onto the building below the sunshade, across the outer face of the courthouse and into the corridors and offices of the building.
  2. Farley Tobin’s Untitled (installed 1984) is composed of hundreds of earthenware, porcelain and stoneware triangular tiles in varying colors covering 228 square feet of wall space within the courthouse lobby. The work was commissioned by the pilot “Crafts in Architecture” program in the early 1980’s.
  3. Robert Graham’s, San Jose Fountain (installed 1987)

consists of bronze forms and human figures in a fountain environment.


Hubert Humphrey Federal Building / Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC. James Rosati’s Heroic Shorepoints (1975) is a large, sprawling geometric sculpture made of three sections of painted aluminum. The work was temporarily uninstalled from its location on the building’s plaza and was damaged in handling. McKay Lodge, Inc. will reinstall the sculpture and perform necessary repairs following inspection of its surfaces.


A.J. Ellender Federal Building and U.S. Post Office, Houma, LA. Lin Emery’s beautiful Cane Dance (1977) is an intricate aluminum kinetic sculpture that reflects the characteristics of sugar cane leaves moving in a breeze – a common local sight. McKay Lodge, Inc. restored the sculpture in 2001 straightening metal and replacing all the many bearings. Hurricane Katrina has apparently caused damage to the delicate outdoor sculpture.

Hale Boggs Federal Building, New Orleans, LA. Clement Meadmore, Out of There (1976), painted aluminum in aggressive outdoor exposure.


Dan M. Russell U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse, Gulfport, MS. Michele Oka Donner’s steel Wave and Gate(2003) in the lobby of the building was affected by water when the glass front of the building was shattered.


Brownsville Border Station, Brownsville, TX. Peter Shire’s, Imaginary Line, Concrete Connection (installed 2002) is a large structure composed of concrete and painted steel.

G. Mahon Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, Midland, TX. John Queen’s Tribute to the American Soldier is composed of concrete and aluminum.


Government Storage. Richard Serra’s controversial Tilted Arc(uninstalled in 1989) requires lifting and moving, inspection, corrosion control measures and safer positioning in storage.

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