Conservation Update on "Clock Knot"

30 June 2023

Landmarks recently completed the conservation of Mark di Suvero’s iconic Clock Knot. Located on a grassy hill at the corner of Dean Keeton and Speedway, the sculpture was the first acquisition for Landmarks’ collection and has been on view for more than 15 years.

Though Clock Knot may have appeared fine from a distance, attuned eyes could distinguish variations in the sculpture’s surface color. Its south-facing sides had become noticeably chalky due to UV exposure in the past year, resulting in a paler hue of red. Like most outdoor painted sculptures, Clock Knot must be repainted to maintain the work’s intended appearance. The frequency of repainting varies due to the color of the sculpture’s paint and its formulation, sun exposure, environmental pollutants, and extreme weather conditions. Since its installation in 2008, Clock Knot has been completely repainted twice.

The process for repainting every inch of the large sculpture was patient and meticulous. It took approximately two weeks, including 3-5 days of sanding off the old paint and 4 days to apply the new. Work was only possible if the temperature of the sculpture remained below 120 degrees Fahrenheit – the upper limit to ensure adequate paint adhesion, and a challenge under Texas’ intense summer sun.

In addition to periodic maintenance of the work’s vibrant color, future conservation efforts will include updating the original ground lighting and occasional reactionary treatment for vandalism or conservation issues as needed.

Large conservation projects like this are very expensive and can only be completed if there is enough funding. Are you interested in helping support the conservation of Clock Knot or other Landmarks’ works in the future? Donate now to Landmarks Collections to help preserve the collection for future generations.

This summer, we invite you to campus to view Clock Knot’s fresh appearance or to learn about the work anytime on our website.