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Heritage storage – it’s all so rock ’n’ roll

Our From the Vaults series on how heritage conservation helps connect us with our understanding of ourselves and the world about us, this month riffs on the news that rock legend, Alice Cooper @RealAliceCooper, recently re-discovered a Warhol silkscreen print rolled up in a tube and left in a storage locker for 40 years. 

It’s the early ’70s and rock ’n’ roll is at the height of its powers and an unlikely friendship is struck up between consummate rock artist (Cooper) and consummate pop artist (Warhol). In the spirit of that friendship, a red Little Electric Chair silkscreen, from Warhol’s Death and Disaster series from the mid-60s, was purchased by Cooper for the princely sum of $2,500. The gruesome subject matter linked directly to Cooper’s stage act in the early 1970s, where he feigned electrocution using an electric chair – pretty identical to the one in the Warhol print – as a prop. 

Rock ’n’ roll and a life on tour being what they are, both the electric chair and the silkscreen ended up, along with other stage ‘artefacts’, sitting in storage – unremembered, uncared for – until around four years ago. Prompted by a conversation with an art dealer who mentioned just how much a Warhol could fetch at auction (HINT – a lot more than the $2,500 paid back in the ’70s), Cooper’s mother and his manager, Shep Gordon, went on the hunt for the red Little Electric Chair piece – and found it rolled up and stuffed inside a tube in the stored touring equipment collection.  

You want our opinion? Frankly, it’s a miracle the artwork wasn’t attacked by pests, afflicted by damp, faded or shrivelled by heat over the course of those lost 40 years! 

Placed in the care of our collaborative Heritage Storage Scheme at Upper Heyford in Oxfordshire, there’s no way that items could be hidden from sight. Aside from adhering to stringent temperature, climate and pest control standards laid down in PD5454:2012, everything in our heritage storage facility is carefully logged, with audit trails and high levels of accessibility and visibility made available to customers. So, whether it’s Michael Faraday’s scientific test equipment, an oriental rikshaw, a ceremonial Nigerian dance mask, or Royal Artillery uniforms that date back to Waterloo, we know exactly where each and every object is and keep it in the optimum condition it, and our customers, and our connection with our ancestors, deserve. 

Instead of rolling with your storage challenges, come and find out more about how Restore’s Heritage Storage Scheme rocks at restore.co.uk/store/heritage-storage.aspx or call 03300 377 697 for us to stage your very own tour of our heritage storage company, housed in a Cold War airbase.

It’s records management, but not as you know it…

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