Former Chinati Conservator, Bettina Landgrebe staples Irwin scrim with aide of a shim.

Damage and repair of scrim in Robert Irwin’s untitled (dawn to dusk)

Shortly before Chinati’s summer solstice event in 2019 in Robert Irwin’s installation untitled (dawn to dusk), the scrim on the dark side was damaged by an impact. The impact left a 37-inch long tear at the bottom of the scrim. It was repaired with the aid of Chinati’s former Director of Conservation Bettina Landgrebe, Vickie Arndt, a former art installer of the Dia Foundation, and Chinati Conservation Associate, Tobin Becker.  

The treatment steps included the following:

A strip of scrim was prepared for the repair:

  1. A repair strip of the same material was made by carefully pulling fibers along one edge
  2. A piece of BEVA heat-set adhesive film was then affixed to the prepared edge

The repair was executed as follows:

  1. The staples were carefully removed from the wood support in the damaged area.
  2. The frayed and torn edges of the damaged area were trimmed with a razor blade.
  3. The repair strip was adhered along the very bottom on the damaged scrim with the BEVA heat-set adhesive using a heated spatula.
  4. Pressure was placed on both sides of the scrim while the adhesive was allowed to cool and set.
  5. After the repair strip was adhered, the excess fabric was pulled taught and stapled in place using a shim to position the staples straight and even.
  6. The excess material at the bottom of the repair strip was trimmed with a razor blade.

Chinati staff who participated in the repair:

Shelley M. Smith, Director of Conservation
Tobin Becker, Conservation Assistant/Museum Preparator
Christopher Gonzales, Conservation Intern

Bettina Landgrebe, Chinati’s former Director of Conservation
Vickie Arndt, former Museum Preparator for the Dia Foundation who has extensive experience working with the artist, Robert Irwin