Graffiti Removal / Cor-Ten Sculpture


Title: Madison Gateway

Accession Number: 2004.01

Materials: Cor-Ten steel


Overall stable

Graffiti in blue brushed on paint on approx. area 20 x 30 inches, bottom of center loop.


• Reduced graffiti paint with VOC solvent, (not solubilizing that would allow liquefied paint to migrate into steel oxidation layer.)

• Applied water/MEK microemulsion to lift remaining paint

• Mechanical action limited to stiff nylon brush to minimize disruption of oxidation layer.

• Applied iron oxide in 5% acetic acid plus sodium chloride in a peroxide to jump-start re-oxidation process.

Ultraviolet light examination of coatings for an original surface recovery.

  • The orange in both photos exposes the original shellac coating, while the pale green indicated added layers of an unknown resin to be removed. 
  • Patches in the photo on the left show cleaning tests to remove the added layers without harming the original shellac.

Tightly rolled and daamaged Post-Civil war letter on fabric

Unrolled, stabilized, and mounted to spun polyester fabric

Severely weather-damaged polychrome wooden sign

Paint stabilized, cleaned and re-touched

Transport damage to mahogany fretwork

Broken marble building plaque

Cleaning-19thC portrait of President Garfield

Dewetting an oxidized linseed oil film with a propylene carbonate microemulsion.

Large losses on 19thC. gilded frame corner