Kaela Nurmi ’15

Kaela Nurmi describes her work in art conservation since graduating from Scripps with a degree in the subject.

Kaela Nurmi gives an overview of her path since graduation:

“After graduating from Scripps with a BA in art conservation, I was awarded the Turk Internship in Conservation where I worked with paintings conservator Aneta Zebala in Santa Monica, CA. Throughout the summer, I worked on the conservation of both murals in Los Angles as well as canvas paintings in the studio.

After the internship, I moved home to Seattle, WA where I split my time as a conservation intern with the Museum of History and Industry, Museum of Pop Culture, and private practice horological conservator Brittany Cox. Throughout the year I had the joy of working on such objects as the intricate and tiny dollhouse furniture, a Borg Regeneration Chamber set piece from Star Trek, and a banjo playing automaton.

In October 2016, I moved to Washington, DC to start an internship with the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Over the 9month internship I completed the treatment of Doris Salcedo’s concrete and wood sculpture, Untitled, 1995 and Janet Cardiff’s site-specific audio walk, “Words Drawn in Water,” 2005. Additionally, I worked on the conservation of a fiberglass pumpkin from Yayoi Kusama’s “All the Eternal Love I have for Pumpkins” infinity room, a bronze bust by Henri Matisse, and prints by Antoni Tapies.

Since June 2017, I have been working with Page Conservation, Inc, a private practice paintings conservation studio in Washington, DC. With Page Conservation, I have had the opportunity to treat a wide range of works, including traditional portraiture, European panel paintings, and modern/contemporary American art.

In Fall 2019 I began my graduate studies in the SUNY Buffalo State Garman Art Conservation Department. In my second year, I chose to specialize in objects conservation, with a strong interest in modern/contemporary art. My master’s project focuses on the conservation treatment and material analysis of Louise Nevelson’s large, painted wood assemblage Dawn’s Image, Night, 1969. It brings me such joy that my undergraduate thesis at Scripps focused on Eva Hesse’s works and now my master’s thesis focuses on another mid-century female artist! The Scripps student in me will always be drawn to the works of female artists.

In September 2021, I will begin my 12-month graduate internship in the objects conservation department at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.”

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