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Two women with blue medical gloves work on an artwork laid out on a white table. The artwork consisting of German words printed on a large gold-covered vellum sheet. The sheet is rolled into a scroll with part of it flat on the table. One of the women is kneeling by the word and touching it, while the other woman leans over and observes her actions.

How Conservators Protect Objects against Sweat, Floor Paint, and Weather

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Conserving contemporary visual culture is both a challenge and an opportunity. For Noguchi for Danh Vo: Counterpoint, the conservation efforts were conducted by Albrecht Gumlich, Conservator, Objects, M+, and the M+ conservation team. Below, he discusses some of the factors that the conservators had to protect against in the exhibition.

Why do we preserve visual culture, and what are we protecting it from when we preserve it? That’s the question that conservators are often asked. Objects in a museum collection are not only worth money, but they also have a cultural, historical, and social significance, which museums want to preserve for future generations to learn from, be inspired by, and enjoy.

There are many factors that can cause degradation, even in settings as carefully engineered as a museum exhibition, from the sweat on our fingers to the light shining onto an object. Below are some of the key dangers that conservators protect against.

Danger #1: People’s fingers

Monochrome film still in which a skeleton dressed in a suit with a white bowtie, black top hat, and glasses holds up a skull mask in the Mexican Day of the Dead style with a gloved hand.

1930s Mexico, Isamu Noguchi, and Sergei Eisenstein’s Unfinished Mexican Film

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In 1930, Russian avant-garde film director Sergei Eisenstein traveled to Mexico to start a film project known as ¡Que viva México!—but production was eventually abandoned and the film was never finished. We are showing astonishing camera footage from this unfinished project, and a short film made by editing the available footage, as part of M+ Screenings: In the World, Of the World on 12–14 April. It is shown in the context of the Noguchi for Danh Vo: Counterpoint exhibition, drawing connections to Isamu Noguchi’s participation in the 1930s Mexican art scene in which Eisenstein’s film was shot.

Upon Charlie Chaplin’s recommendation, Sergei Eisenstein connected with writer Upton Sinclair, who helped fund the project. Eisenstein shot dozens of hours of footage for what was planned to be a multi-chapter film about the history of Mexico. Funds from the Mexican Film Trust—a production company established by Sinclair, his wife, and other investors—were soon exhausted, and Eisenstein’s chances of finishing the film himself further diminished as his re-entry visa to the United States expired and he was unable to secure an extension to his permission to remain away from the Soviet Union. Much of the footage was brought back to the U.S. by the producers, and Eisenstein’s film remained incomplete.

Below, Professor Natascha Drubek writes about the film and Eisenstein’s legacy, providing context for one of the most famous unfinished film projects in cinema history.

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Video showcasing the M+ building construction progress. Transcript can be found below.

In the Building: M+ in 2019 Video Update

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‘We’ve been visualising the gallery and studying the floor plan for many years. Finally, today we are here to visit the site and see if what we have envisioned on paper is different to how we feel about the space in person.’

Isabella Tam

Over the past year, the M+ building has been growing and developing rapidly. In the video above, a variety of people involved in the construction process—from the curators and Museum Director of M+, to construction workers onsite—give updates on the building’s progress. We also share an inside look at a curators’ site visit, the Conservation & Storage Facility, as well as the process of making the building’s unique fair-faced concrete walls and tiled facade.

Want more information on the M+ building? Check out the below links:

Video about the Archigram Archive acquisition into the M+ Collections. Transcript can be found below.

‘Hong Kong is an Archigram City’: The Archigram Archive in the M+ Collections

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📹📃Video transcript for ‘The Archigram Archive in the M+ Collections’

The below post was written by Aric Chen, Curator at Large, Design and Architecture, M+, about the recent acquisition of the Archigram Archive into the M+ Collections.

In 2013, M+ approached members of the 1960s and ’70s experimental architecture collective Archigram about including their work in the museum’s collection. When it turned out they were seeking a permanent home for nearly their entire archive—with its 20,000 items, including more than 3,000 drawings alongside models, videos, ephemera, and other materials—we made a strong case for M+, the new museum rising in Hong Kong with a global perspective, to be the institution for the archive. Based in London, Archigram is one of the most influential voices of architecture in the second half of the 20th century. Bringing their archive to M+ was an extraordinary chance to expand the discipline’s global narratives with new perspectives drawn from our region, while using Archigram to lend fresh eyes to how we look at architecture and cities closer to home.