Twins paradox – The case of Marcel Duchamp polymeric multiples

November 3, 2015

The aging behavior and its resulting effect on the appearance of some modern works of art are sometimes more mysterious for scientists to understand than objects which are hundreds of years old, especially when they are made with modern polymers. In collaboration with conservators and curators from the Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG), scientists from the Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH) are investigating two identical miniature reproductions of Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even from his Boîtes-en-valise that are printed and painted on polymer substrates These objects will be analyzed by a multidisciplinary team using 3D scanning, computer modeling, and chemical analysis in order to understand why one version is significantly deformed and the other not. The results from this research are expected to help YUAG staff design a conservation treatment that will ensure the integrity of both objects as well as generate a proposal for optimal storage conditions for polymeric materials within the University’s cultural heritage holdings, including YUAG, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, the Yale Center for British Art and the Yale University Libraries.