Working

How Does a Painting Conservator Do Her Job?

Meet Anny Aviram, senior paintings conservator at MOMA.

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Anny Aviram has been conserving paintings at MOMA for 40 years. So, as one can imagine, she’s had her hands on some of the world’s most famous artworks. And, occasionally, her saliva. Anny tells Jordan about the techniques conservators use to restore and preserve paintings, from taking X-rays to painstakingly reweaving canvas fiber by fiber to, yes, using spit to clean certain surfaces. And, as Anny tells Jordan, not only does the technology of conservation change over the years but so do the aesthetics. So sometimes conservators are even tasked with undoing their own work from years before.

You can email us at working@slate.com. Podcast production by Jessamine Molli.