Artist Alleges Restoration Work Runs Afoul of VARA

Artist David Ascalon alleges that in restoring his Holocaust memorial sculpture, David Grindle has significantly altered the meaning of the artwork. One change is the substitution of stainless steel for rusted steel. The material is used to depict a serpent and was meant to contrast with stainless steel representing the character of the Jewish people. The rusted steel was chosen to symbolize the barbed wire of concentration camps. Ascalon also alleges that the restoration removed his name and put in the name of the restorer and the names of restoration advisory committee. According to one conservation expert, while ethical guidelines direct restorers to honor the intent of the artist, financial limitations can sometimes make that difficult. Ascalon is seeking damages and access to the sculpture to restore it himself.

For the complete story see “What is the Meaning of This?” in The Art Newspaper, No. 217, October 2010 in the Cardozo library or register on their site.

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