De Kooning RestorationCEO Michael Silver with the Getty Research Institute's Willem de Kooning conservation in progress

American Elements supports a wide range of museums, galleries, and cultural institutions by supplying the highest quality chemicals and advanced materials for conservation and curation. Our catalog of products includes laboratory grade chemicals for analysis technologies such as X-ray diffraction (XRD), spectroscopy, FTIR microspectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy, pigments and paints, pH balancers, absorbants, corrosion inhibitors, and other materials used in the production and conservation of artwork and historical artifacts. We also supply raw fine art materials to individual artists and studios such as metal or alloy parts, glass colorants, and others.

CEO Michael Silver is an active philanthropist in the arts and a trustee of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Sarara Initiative in Northern Kenya, and serves on the councils of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu. Mr. Silver has underwritten artists in residence at the UCLA Hammer Museum and made in-kind donations of artwork to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC and sponsors “Science as Art,” a competition during the Materials Research Society’s annual meeting spotlighting the ability of technical images to transcend their functional use to become aesthetic objects of art in their own right.

Innovation Case Study #25: American Elements Contributes Materials to Getty Museum's "Art of Alchemy" Exhibition

#25: American Elements Contributes Materials to Getty Museum's "Art of Alchemy" Exhibition

The Challenge

In October 2016, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA mounted an exhibition entitled "The Art of Alchemy." The goals of alchemy, considered the medieval precursor to modern chemistry, included purifying and transforming materials via manipulation of elements such as mercury and sulfur. For a demonstration video, the Getty wanted to use a liquid metal to represent the use of mercury by alchemists.

The Innovation

The Getty turned to American Elements to help find a material that could possibly mimic the appearance of mercury metal but be safer to use and handle.

The Result

American Elements provided the Getty with a sample of gallium metal, one of the only other metals that is liquid at room temperature.