Donald Judd’s Untitled, 1963, is a cornerstone of the Empire State Plaza’s Art Collection. After 50 years of exhibition, the surface required a more thorough cleaning than could be done on site. Areas of etched metal, a result of polish residue from old cleanings, were present on the surfaces. Through mock cleaning trials, a treatment was developed to avoid altering the artist’s intended factory-applied brushed finish.
It was soon discovered that the amber colored acrylic panels were held in place with springs, and could therefore not be safely removed. This required the Conservator to devise a system to protect the acrylic panels during treatment. In addition, the solder joins on nearly all of the elements (on the back) were cracked at each corner requiring a structural adhesive repair since a solder repair was too dangerous in proximity to the acrylic panels.