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Posts tagged contemporary art

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Guest blogger Heather Galloway, Paintings Conservator at the Intermuseum Conservation Association, recently visited one of Oberlin College’s Art History classes and shares some of her discussion with us:

“Artists have long worked with materials that challenge conservation and preservation efforts.  Despite a long history of artwork changing with time it is often the aging of art of one’s own generation, or one’s parents, that takes people by surprise and can be hard to accept.  Thanks to an invitation by Professor Sarah Hamill to come join her class on Art after 1960, I had a chance to share my experiences in the conservation of modern and contemporary art and to challenge myself with some thought provoking questions posed by the students. 

The class, which took place in the AMAM’s Ellen Johnson Gallery, had been well prepared for the arrival of a conservator by Professor Hamill, and the attendance of AMAM Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Denise Birkhofer helped bring further insight into how a museum balances the audience’s access and experience of sculptural installation with the safety and preservation of the artwork.

Standing amongst the artworks, the students expressed their thoughts on issues of repair or replacement in the care of artworks that might include found objects such as river stones; conceptual works not created by the hand of the artist; and light bulbs that may eventually become obsolete.  Finally, we explored the philosophical questions of whether an artwork might no longer serve the original vision of the artist due to alteration and what conservators’ responsibilities were to that work, the institutions collecting that work, and the artist’s reputation and memory.”

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