Ongoing GCI research into modern and contemporary art has contributed significantly to the understanding of acrylic paints and highlighted the difficulty conservators face when cleaning these materials. In response, the GCI has undertaken a series of workshops, "Cleaning of Acrylic Painted Surfaces" (CAPS), that address cleaning challenges through methodologies that can facilitate application and problem solving.
The fourth CAPS workshop, held in April at the Lunder Conservation Center in Washington, DC, began with an overview of current knowledge and recent advances in the cleaning of acrylic paints by the workshop instructors, all of whom are leading research in this area: Bronwyn Ormsby (Tate), Richard Wolbers (University of Delaware), Chris Stavroudis (independent conservator), and Tom Learner (GCI). Most of the workshop explored the formulation and use of a range of cleaning systems, with the aim of understanding both theory and practice. To inform ongoing research, instructors asked participants for their impressions of the various cleaning systems used during the workshop.
CAPS is part of the GCI's Research into Practice Initiative, which seeks to facilitate the practical application of new research to conservation problems. Select teaching materials from the Lunder workshop will be available on the GCI website this fall. The next CAPS workshop will occur at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, in December 2013. Future CAPS workshops are planned for Asia and Europe.