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Thursday, May 14


(Electronic Media + Objects) Artist Intentions and the Conservation of Contemporary Art
This presentation addresses challenges in articulating artist intentions for conserving new forms of contemporary art. The author draws from his work with artists, and builds on literature about intentionality and creativity to construct an understanding of artist relationships with their own work. The context for this research is the ongoing life of artworks in museums, where conservators, curators, and others strive to define authenticity during installation and conservation intervention. Are artists the best source for articulating their intentions? Some argue that the artist’s creative concept is inevitably different from their creative production. Therefore it is best to rely on curators, art historians, conservators, and others to identify the integral components of an artwork for reinstallation and conservation. Complicating this concern are problems of memory and shifting interest in artistic expression that complicate working with artists over time. Equally problematic are questions of authorship when production is distributed among collaborators, and new iterations are co-produced within the museum. A case is made in this presentation for collaborating closely with artists in the museum, while retaining a balance of interpretation from professionals and at times the public, who bring their own understanding to the work.

avatar for Glenn Wharton

Glenn Wharton

Clinical Associate Professor, Museum Studies / New York University
Glenn Wharton is a Clinical Associate Professor in Museum Studies at New York University. From 2007-2013 he served as Media Conservator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where he established the time-based media conservation program for video, performance, and software-based collections. In 2006 he founded the non-profit organization Voices in Contemporary Art (VoCA). Glenn received his Ph.D. in Conservation from the Institute of... Read More →

Thursday May 14, 2015 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Ashe Auditorium 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131


(Electronic Media + Objects) The Artists’ Dialogues series: exploring materiality, process, and conservation with artists from Los Angeles
As part of the broader dissemination strategy for Art in LA, a project that explores the materials and processes of post-1950s artists working in Los Angeles, the Getty Conservation Institute is producing a series of short videos entitled Artists’ Dialogues. Although based on lengthy interviews and conversations with the artists they feature, these short videos (averaging 10 minutes) aim to tell a highly condensed and edited story in the artist’s own words. They are not tied to a particular collection or conservation project, but seek to act as a broad introduction to each artist and to capture their overarching philosophy and attitudes towards materiality, process, concept, longevity, legacy and conservation.   The series has initially focused on artists that came to prominence in the 1960s and made use of industrial materials and processes in a way that at the time was highly innovative: Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Helen Pashgian. Through these first three videos, the potential tensions between original appearance, artist’ intentions and ageing are explored. The video currently in production features Chris Burden, an artist whose work extends across a very wide variety of media: we are in fact still exploring whether it is even possible to capture the essence of Burden’s overall intention by highlighting just a small number of individual works of art.  Our overall goal is to produce a limited number of these videos each year, working with a relatively low budget, to start including a variety of LA-based artists working with different media and methods, as well as younger generations of artists. It is hoped that as the number of videos in the series increases, and as the range of different attitudes that artists might have towards their work broadens, the Artists’ Dialogues series can serve as a useful reference point to illustrate the complexities of conservation questions in contemporary art, and to discuss the pros and cons of engaging the artist in the conservation of their own work.   The paper will present the videos completed to date, and discuss the choice of this particular method of dissemination, including the methodology adopted and the considerations of cost. It will also reflect on the purpose and context of the series.

avatar for Rachel Rivenc

Rachel Rivenc

Associate Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute
Rachel Rivenc is an associate scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute, where she has worked since 2006. She was trained in France as a painting conservator and holds a Masters in paintings conservation from the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. In 2014 she completed a PhD with the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. A book based on her dissertation, entitled "Made in LA: Materials, Processes and the Birth of... Read More →

avatar for Thomas Learner

Thomas Learner

Head of Science, Getty Conservation Institute
Tom Learner is Head of Science at the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) in Los Angeles. He has a PhD in chemistry (University of London, 1997), and a Diploma in conservation of easel paintings (Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 1991).  At the GCI, he oversees all scientific research being undertaken by the Institute and develops and implements projects that advance conservation practice in the visual arts.  Prior to this appointment... Read More →

Thursday May 14, 2015 2:30pm - 3:00pm
Ashe Auditorium 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131


(Electronic Media + Objects) From Theory to Practice: Instituting the Hirshhorn Artist Interview Program
It has become globally recognized that artist interviews are an essential component in the conservation of modern and contemporary artworks. Artists continue to push boundaries by exploring unconventional materials and fabrication techniques. Further complications have arisen with the advent of installation and conceptual art. Communication with the artist is often necessary to elucidate not just how a work was made, but also which components or qualities are central to its meaning, thus requiring preservation. In 2012, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden was awarded a Smithsonian Postgraduate Fellowship in Conservation for Steven O'Banion to develop an artist interview program for the institution. While primarily driven from a preservation perspective, the Artist Interview Program is a museum-wide initiative with the goal of generating systematic face-to-face dialogues with artists. This talk will explain the motivations behind the creation of the interview program, the challenges that arose during its development, and the future of the program as it becomes integrated into the daily workflows of the conservation lab and the museum as a whole. As a practical example of the ways in which artist interviews can play into treatment choices, the conservation of an installation by Ann Hamilton will be discussed. A two-year collaborative project, this case study illustrates the evolution of the artist's ideas as key conceptual components of the artwork came into focus. Ann Hamilton's input guided conservators through a decision-making process that resulted in treatment solutions that would not otherwise have been considered. The relationship built with the artist over time will allow for a continued dialog about the artwork in the future.


Gwynne Ryan

Chief Conservator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Gwynne Ryan is the Chief Conservator at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC, where her responsibilities span the conservation of the outdoor sculpture garden, contemporary sculpture and installations, and up until very recently time-based media. She is also one of the Principal Investigators for the Smithsonian Pan-Institutional Time-Based Media Working Group and serves on the Board of Voices in Contemporary Art (VoCA).

avatar for Steven O'Banion

Steven O'Banion

Director of Conservation, Glenstone
Steven O'Banion is the Director of Conservation at Glenstone, where he is responsible for comprehensively addressing the conservation needs of Glenstone's collection. After completing pre-program internships at the Museum of Modern Art, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation Citywide Monuments Conservation Program, and Wilson Conservation, Steven joined the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. At... Read More →

Thursday May 14, 2015 3:00pm - 3:30pm
Ashe Auditorium 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131


(Electronic Media + Objects) Beyond the interview: working with artists in time-based media conservation
Communicating with artists and their assistants is an almost daily part of my practice as a time-based media conservator. The form of communication varies depending on the artist, the artwork, and whether this is a first encounter or part of an ongoing collaboration. In the context of a collecting institution the relationship often begins at the moment of acquisition, as it may be the conservator’s role to help shepherd and negotiate the artwork into the collection. For artworks with an intangible or ephemeral aspect, as is often the case with contemporary media, exactly what the museum physically receives "in the box" is an important consideration for both conservators and curators. This is often how it starts but there is a typical chain of events which prompts dialogue with the artist and his or her associates. Key moments include: when an artwork is first installed for exhibition, when it is loaned and when it is exhibited again, as the passage of time often requires that the technology for playback and display be adapted, treated or replaced. Usually it is the first institutional installation that triggers the more traditional ‘Artist’s Interview.' Once a relationship has been established between the artist and institution it can be extremely useful to revisit the artwork (and the initial interview) at later intervals. Re-installation in a different space at a different time affords an opportunity to reassess and 'retune' the work with the artist. These rarer moments can be useful as the artist may have changed his or her feelings towards certain aspects of the work. This paper intends to illustrate and reflect on this multi-faceted collaboration. It is as much about capturing and integrating the artist’s voice into the long-term preservation of an artwork, as it is about developing a flexible and mature approach to the conservation of an ever expanding field.


Kate Lewis

Media Conservator, Museum of Modern Art
Dana K. Senge is the assistant conservator for the National Park Service's Intermountain Region Museum Services Program based in Tucson, Arizona. Dana holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from Western Washington University, a Masters degree in Art Conservation from Buffalo State College and trained with several institutions around the country such as the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago... Read More →

Thursday May 14, 2015 4:00pm - 4:30pm
Ashe Auditorium 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131


(Electronic Media + Objects) Preserving what is right: learning the ethics and similarities of collaborating with a living artist and Buddhist monks.
In 2009, for my graduation project, the FRAC (Regional Fund for Contemporary Art) in Besançon, France, proposed to me to work on a piece entitled Mirida, made in 1993 by French artist Richard Fauguet. This installation is composed of three horse heads made of a translucent silicone rubber and covered with glass marbles. The piece could not be exhibited anymore since the silicone rubber was deteriorated. Owing to the moral rights that the artist still holds over his piece, and in order to gather information, this conservation project involved collaboration with Richard Fauguet. Exchanges were made by phone, by inviting him to see his piece, and by visiting him in his studio. Collaboration with the FRAC's staff was also necessary, as FRAC has rights over the piece as its owner and is also a public institution. Richard Fauguet's point of view about the condition and the conservation of Mirida was at first in disagreement with the conservation ethics that I had learned and put into practice for the first four years of my conservation studies, which was challenging for me as a not-yet-graduated conservator at the time. Exchanging information with Richard Fauguet's colleagues also brought out different, complementary, and sometimes contradictory points of view about the history of the piece. The experience showed how memory changes with time and that one must take a step back for a proper analysis of information gathered. This lecture will describe the evolution of the collaboration between the artist, the owner, and myself as the conservator, as well as our thought processes and the ensuing results of this one-year project.   Interestingly, the experience of working directly with both a living artist and an owner has prepared me to work in contexts where conservation ethics are not taken for granted. Thus I will draw a parallel between my collaboration with Richard Fauguet and my more recent collaboration with Buddhist monks in the Matho monastery in the Indian Himalayas. This latter project shows that the conservation of ethnographic objects and the conservation of contemporary art have interesting similarities. Indeed, I dealt with multiple living decision makers in both experiences. Moreover I will briefly touch on a further connection in the idea that preserving western contemporary art is an act of preserving part of contemporary Western culture, and preserving still-used Buddhist liturgical objects is an act of preserving part of contemporary Asian culture. In this way, I will show that the ethics of conservation of ethnographic objects can be a source for the ethics of conservation of contemporary art.




Celine Chretien

Object Conservator, Chretien Art Conservation
I am workin in private practice in France, since I am gratuated in 2010 from the French National Institute for Cultural Heritage.

Thursday May 14, 2015 4:30pm - 5:00pm
Ashe Auditorium 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131


(Electronic Media + Objects) Discussion moderated by Jill Sterrett

Jill Sterrett

Head of Conservation and Collections, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Jill Sterrett has been the Director of Collections at the San Francisco Museum of Modern since 2001. In this role, she oversees five allied departments in a museum structure that is designed to foster working sites of collaboration serving the museum’s programs and its collection. Jill has been on staff at SFMOMA for the last 25 years, first as Paper Conservator (1990-2000) and then Head of Conservation (2000-2001). She has also worked at... Read More →

Thursday May 14, 2015 5:00pm - 5:30pm
Ashe Auditorium 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131
Friday, May 15


(Electronic Media + Objects) Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawings: Conservation of an Ephemeral Art Practice
Sol LeWitt contacted Jock Reynolds, Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery, in 2004 with concerns related to his Wall Drawings that would need to be understood and standards for the execution of the work maintained. The result of their collaboration was Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective; it would present an historical overview of the forty plus years of over one hundred Wall Drawings for a 25-year term to provide a reference to the nature of the work. A commitment by the artist to give a substantial number of his Wall Drawings to the Yale University Art Gallery, which already owned an extensive array of LeWitt’s art, along with funds raised to support further collaboration among the Yale University Art Gallery, MassMoCa, and Williams College, created the Sol LeWitt exhibition at MassMoCa in 2008, a year after the artist’s death in 2007, as well as the endowed position of Installations Director and Archivist at the Yale University Art Gallery. The function of the Wall Drawings in context creates an entirely new point of departure in the creative processes of idea, visualization, variants, realization, immutable repeatability, and intellectual implications for artists. LeWitt’s drawings are not physically artist generated and are non-artifact oriented. When the artist’s intellectual intent and production is intended to be of a temporary but repeatable nature, how are the standards explained and maintained long term? What are the implications related to conservation, connoisseurship, and technical art history when dealing with practitioners of ephemerally based arts - reinstallation versus repair, disappearance of original materials, repeatability, human participation in realization, concepts of non-cultural rarity, maintaining artistic integrity, cultural historical context, avoiding making an “Identical Copy” but respecting the parameters of the “Idea”? Utilizing as a working example Sol LeWitt’s 1300 plus Wall Drawings created between 1969 and 2007, this paper will explain what is required to maintain contemporary exhibitions and installation of the work as intended by the artist. The role of the archivist of historical and current installations working with conservators at Yale utilizing their expertise to inform realizations of the Wall Drawings far into the future will be described. Training future “draftspersons” in the materiality, scale, process, and nature of a democratic hand is a critical component. How to respect LeWitt’s conceptual process, maintain his standards, and create a discourse with Yale students in the academic arena of the Wall Drawings from a historical perspective as they reference a broad based theoretical approach, multi-disciplinary origins and realization possibilities, breaking from traditional art process and individual artist’s hand will be presented.

avatar for John Hogan

John Hogan

Mary Jo And Ted Shen Installations Director and Archivist Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings, Yale University Art Gallery
MFA School of the Art Institute of Chicago Assistant to Sol LeWitt 1982 to 2007 Sol LeWitt Studio Director 2009 current Yale University Art Gallery Mary Jo And Ted Shen Installations Director and Archivist Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings 2012 current

avatar for Carol Snow

Carol Snow

Deputy Chief Conservator and the Alan J. Dworsky Senior Conservator of Objects, Yale University Art Gallery
Carol Snow is a graduate of Skidmore College and the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. She worked at the Walters Art Museum, on archaeological projects around the Mediterranean, including a Fulbright Scholarship to work in Turkey, and then as a private conservator primarily in the Boston area for nearly twenty years. Carol joined the staff of the Yale University Art Gallery Conservation Department in 2008 as the first... Read More →

Friday May 15, 2015 8:30am - 9:00am
Ashe Auditorium 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131


(Electronic Media + Objects) The Abandonment of Art: The Abandonment of Conservation A Lygia Clark Retrospective at MoMA
Lygia Clark (1920–1988) was a leading abstract artist at the forefront of the Neo-Concretist movement in Brazil, fostering the active participation of spectators through her works.  She has become a major reference for contemporary artists dealing with the limits of conventional forms of art.  The Museum of Modern Art’s retrospective Lygia Clark: The Abandonment of Art, May 10–August 24, 2014 the first comprehensive exhibition in North America of her work, comprised nearly 300 works made between the late 1940s and her death in 1988.  The survey was organized around three themes: abstraction, Neo-Concretism, and the “abandonment” of art.  Twenty months prior to the exhibition several hundred original objects and propositions, replica objects, and works on paper arrived on early loan from the Lygia Clark family in Brazil.  Upon arrival all of these works were carefully documented and treated.  Clark’s late conceptual and tangible artworks comprised a series of therapeutic propositions or sensorial works grounded in art.  Historically her subjects - now the audience - were to participate in the activation of these works along with a trained facilitator or group of facilitators, thus making performance an integral part of the presentation.  

 Curatorial vision and conceptual preservation necessitated studying and recreating a set of these reference objects and propositions.  What began as a conversation about making new exhibition copies resulted in multi-layered dialogue involving many departments within the museum, external conservation companies, and many representatives from the artist’s estate.  Memory, past history, provenance, and conjecture played a significant role in the labyrinth of decision making processes during the creation and approval of the exhibition copies. A myriad of individuals, were consulted including Clark’s former facilitators, past re-fabricators, immediate family members, outside conservators, and curators. During the fabrication process, conservators acted as participants engaging all of their own senses while making the replicas.  On multiple occasions those senses did not match to those of the family, or the earlier activators and curators.  Conservators struggled to use a set of tools that lay both inside and outside of the standard tool-roll for this process: documentation, process of fabrication, material technical analysis, sensory awareness and deprivation, recorded artist interviews, and oral history from the artist’s estate.  The conservation team embraced the challenge and recognized the effectiveness of working collaboratively both internally and externally, as the role of the conservator was shifted to that of co-collaborator, artist assistant, and art maker.

avatar for Cindy Albertson

Cindy Albertson

Conservator, Albertson & Nunan, Inc
Cindy Albertson is an Assistant Conservator at the Museum of Modern Art, as well as a conservator in private practice at Albertson & Nunan, Inc. She presently serves as project manager for Alliance for Response New York City, a local volunteer organization that works within the NYC art community to strengthen disaster preparedness and response capabilities. She has recently published and lectured on the materials and working methods of modern... Read More →

avatar for Eric Meier

Eric Meier

Contemporary Art Conservation, Whryta Contemporary Art Conservation
Eric Meier is a partner at Whryta Contemporary Art Conservation and specialises in digital fabrication and brings his wide knowledge of materials and fabrication techniques to the field of Contemporary Art Conservation. Eric received a MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and a BFA from the College for Creative Studies,School of Art and Design, Detroit Michigan. Prior to working full time at Whryta, Eric worked as a... Read More →
avatar for Margo Delidow

Margo Delidow

Sculpture Conservator, Whitney Museum of American Art
Margo Delidow is a Partner at Whryta Contemporary Art Conservation. After completing a Masters of Arts and Certificate of Advanced Study in Conservation from The Art Conservation Program at the State University College in Buffalo, Margo joined the Sculpture Conservation Department at the Museum of Modern Art as a research fellow. From 2006-2010 Margo was involved in all aspects of MoMA’s collection care and exhibition program. In 2010 Margo... Read More →

Roger Griffith

Associate Conservator, The Museum of Modern Art
Roger Griffith is an Associate Sculpture Conservator at The Museum of Modern Art since 1998. He received his MA from the Royal College of Art/ Victoria & Albert Museum London England in 1997. Prior to MoMA he was an inter/fellow at the Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation, Metropolitan Museum of Art (1991-93); The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1997) and the University of East Anglia: Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich England... Read More →

Friday May 15, 2015 9:00am - 9:30am
Ashe Auditorium 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131


(Electronic Media + Objects) Conserving Anthony McCall’s Solid Light Films
In 2013, the New Art Trust undertook a major initiative to acquire and conserve, as a unified archive, the seminal 1970s 16mm “solid light” film installations of Anthony McCall, including Partial Cone, Conical Solid, Cone of Variable Volume, Long Film for Four Projectors, and Four Projected Movements. In addition to creating new film master materials for all works, a process which was carried out by Bill Brand of BB Optics, we also worked closely with McCall to document each film’s history, both technically and conceptually. Moreover, through a series of formal interviews and informal conversations, we explored in depth with McCall the implications of his creating digital “remakes” of these films—e,g., his Line Describing a Cone 2.0 (2010)—as well as the films’ exhibition future at at time when 16mm processing and projection are becoming increasingly difficult and expensive. The paper will detail not only the technical aspects of the work, but also the ways in which the New Art Trust’s collaboration with McCall proved to be essential to this project, and how this experience will help shape the Trust’s future conservation endeavors.

avatar for Jeff Martin

Jeff Martin

Conservator, New Art Trust
Jeff Martin is an archivist and conservator with experience in caring for both archival collections and time-based art. Recent projects include a complete assessment and preservation plan for the audiovisual materials in the archive of pioneering video artist Nam June Paik. A 2005 graduate of New York University’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation MA program, In 2007 he was the recipient of a post-graduate research fellowship from... Read More →

Friday May 15, 2015 9:30am - 10:00am
Ashe Auditorium 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131


(Electronic Media + Objects) The Butterfly Effect: A Case Study on the Value of Artist Collaboration in the Conservation of Ephemeral Material
A recent acquisition by the New Mexico Museum of Art provided conservators at the Museums of New Mexico with the unique opportunity to collaborate with artist Tasha Ostrander in the preservation of her artwork Seventy-three in a Moment. Consisting of 26,645 Xeroxed paper butterflies glued to masonite, the 10-foot diameter mandala presented conservators with the challenge of preserving the concept of the piece while faced with the transient nature of ephemeral materials. The conservation of this artwork is discussed as a case study of the challenges presented by such a treatment. Meeting these challenges often requires a slight shift in conventional conservation practice. Collaborations with other conservators, scientists, and specialists in allied fields are becoming more frequent and can allow for new insights into traditional approaches and techniques. However, one of the most significant changes in conservation practices in the past few decades has been the integration of the artist’s voice and opinion into preservation strategy. Interviewing the artist provides valuable insight into their materials, techniques, and goals for the piece. From the standpoint of the conservator, this aligns with our ethical mandate that all actions must be governed by an informed respect for the cultural property, its unique character and significance, and the people or person who created it (AIC Code of Ethics, Principle II). Full collaboration often takes this a step further and invites the artist to participate in the conservation process. This collaboration sometimes leads to treatments that may feel more (or less) interventive than a conservator is comfortable with and requires a thorough consideration by the conservator as to the merits and disadvantages of the desired outcomes. It also requires an open dialogue between conservator and artist to ensure that concerns and goals are sufficiently addressed. For this case study, conservators Mina Thompson and Crista Pack discuss these issues in relation to their experiences with the treatment and artist collaboration of Seventy-three in a Moment. Additionally, artist Tasha Ostrander provides a meaningful look at the conservation process from the artist’s perspective. The goal of this paper to emphasize the value of artist collaboration through a look at a specific treatment project involving ephemeral materials.


Crista Pack

Objects Conservator, Missouri History Museum
Crista Pack received her M.S. in Art Conservation from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation and an M.A. in Art History from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her major area of study has been in the care and conservation of ethnographic objects, with a minor concentration in preventive conservation. She is currently the Objects Conservator at the Missouri History Museum. She recently completed a Kress Fellowship at the... Read More →


Mina Thompson

Associate Conservator, Museums of New Mexico
Mina Thompson has been the Associate Conservator of Objects at the Museums of New Mexico since 1999. She received her Masters of Arts and Advanced Certificate in Conservation at Buffalo State College in 1998, with additional training at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Fowler Museum at UCLA and at the Poggio Colla archaeological site in Italy. Most recently, she served as Program Chair, Chair and Emerita Chair for... Read More →

Tasha Ostrander

Artist, Tasha Ostrander
Tasha Ostrander has been working as a professional artist for the past 22 years. She began her art studies as an apprentice for photographers Walter Chappell and Willard Van Dyke. In her twenties, she completed a one year residency at the Maine Photographic Workshops and received a BFA from the University of New Mexico. During her studies at UNM, she shifted her main focus of photography to the broader multi-media realm of installation-art and... Read More →

Friday May 15, 2015 10:30am - 11:00am
Ashe Auditorium 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131


(Electronic Media + Objects) Neutralizing the Nuclear Option
Los Angeles artist Chris Burden's anti-war diorama "A Tale of Two Cities" was originally assembled 32 years ago - a collection of five thousand models and toys glued to slabs of cardboard. “Two Cities” was designed to be exhibited on a panoramic landscape of 26 tons of sculpted sand, with 2.4 tons of rocks and 60 potted plants. Over the course of multiple exhibitions, the exhibit’s cardboard substrate had become warped, delaminated and encrusted with mold. By 2013, the installation had become sufficiently dilapidated that Burden eliminated this seminal piece from his up-coming exhibition “Chris Burden: Extreme Measures” at the New Museum in New York in the fall of 2013. Burden also publicly expressed the intent to exercise his contractual right to alter the work via the "nuclear option" of blowing it up - a logical conclusion to this broad depiction of futuristic feudal warring states. "The work would still exist," said the artist, "but as rubble." In response to reviews of treatment mockups at the WAC studio, however, Burden agreed instead to consider the alternative option of an extensive conservation campaign. Over the course of several months, the toys and model components were cleaned, repaired, and re-fabricated or replaced, and remounted on lightweight, interlocking sheets of honey-comb aluminum panel. Following conservation, Burden made the decision to include "A Tale of Two Cities" in the New York exhibition. The artwork was loaded into 16 custom-made crates, fabricated for both travel and storage, and shipped across the country, where it occupied a major place in the artist's one-man survey show at the New Museum.


Donna Williams

President, Williams Art Conservation, Inc.
Donna Williams is the principal of her firm Williams Art Conservation, Inc., (incorporated in1998) performing consulting services and hands-on treatment of sculpture and architectural materials for private and public organizations.  She specializes in the design and implementation of conservation treatments and maintenance strategies for modern and contemporary public art. In 1997 Ms. Williams co-organized the Donald Judd Symposium, a two-day... Read More →

Friday May 15, 2015 11:00am - 11:30am
Ashe Auditorium 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131


(Electronic Media + Objects) Discussion moderated by Glenn Wharton
avatar for Glenn Wharton

Glenn Wharton

Clinical Associate Professor, Museum Studies / New York University
Glenn Wharton is a Clinical Associate Professor in Museum Studies at New York University. From 2007-2013 he served as Media Conservator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where he established the time-based media conservation program for video, performance, and software-based collections. In 2006 he founded the non-profit organization Voices in Contemporary Art (VoCA). Glenn received his Ph.D. in Conservation from the Institute of... Read More →

Friday May 15, 2015 11:30am - 12:00pm
Ashe Auditorium 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131
Saturday, May 16


(Electronic Media) The Fragile Surface: Preserving the CD-DA
For many archives, museums, and artists, the invention of the recordable Compact Disc (CD-R) in 1988 promised a convenient way to store large amounts of digital data in a durable and versatile format. It allowed for virtual random access of images, data, audio, video, multimedia, and executable data. Later, warnings from specialized publications collided with manufacturer claims of 100-year shelf life “guarantees,” but nevertheless many archives and digital users worldwide rushed to save their data onto CD-R. Radio station WNYC was no exception: over the years nearly 30,000 CD-Rs have been “burned” by producers, reporters and others to safeguard audio. Most of those discs (many with irreplaceable content) have ended in the climate-controlled vaults of the New York Public Radio Archives, where they have begun to show alarming symptoms, from occasional glitches to catastrophic failure. Consequently, and ironically, one of the most recent formats in the New York Public Radio (NYPR) Archives presents some of the most pressing preservation issues. The NYPR Archives embarked a project to mass-transfer the content of its CD-Rs into the organization’s asset management system. To do so, the archives uses a suite of both commercial tools and custom software to create automated workflows that both preserve the integrity of our data and provide accessibility both in-house and on-line to our listening audiences. This presentation will discuss how the archives was able to implement an automated, cost-effective workflow that enabled the creation of thousands of digital preservation masters. The presentation will also talk about bit rot, digital decay, the lifespan of optical media, file integrity, and access issues around the audio transferred during the course of this project.


John Passmore

Archives Manager, New York Public Radio
John Passmore is an archivist and conservator living in Brooklyn, NY. He is currently the Archives Manager at New York Public Radio. Prior to NYPR, John worked on the preservation, restoration, and exhibition of a number of archival audiovisual collections for the Museum of Modern Art, Anthology Film Archives, and the Hirshhorn.  He regularly serves as a digital video inspector and film repair specialist at international film festivals. John... Read More →

Saturday May 16, 2015 10:00am - 10:30am
Orchid B-D 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131


(Electronic Media) QCTools: A Consideration of Free Software for the Quality Control of Video Digitization
With the magnetic media crisis - that combination of equipment obsolescence and material degradation that signals the end of audiovisual recordings on physical magnetic tape - looming ever-present on the horizon, there is a growing and persistent need for content caretakers to begin taking action, embarking upon thoughtful and considered reformatting projects. At the same time, there is a complementary need for those with expertise in audiovisual preservation to begin sharing their knowledge, lowering the barriers to entry that have often served as a type of quicksand, hindering our collective efforts to safeguard audiovisual heritage for generations to come. This is the landscape upon which The Bay Area Video Coalition's (BAVC) Quality Control Tools for Video Preservation (QCTools) has begun serving as a powerful reshaping force, functioning not only as an all-seeing eye, capable of identifying errors and artifacts that might slip the notice of fatigued or inattentive technicians, but also as a pedagogical resource, providing all manner of archivists, librarians, conservators, and preservationists with a newfound diagnostic approach that saves crucial time and resources while simultaneously (and perhaps even profoundly) sparking new and diverse ways of considering the digital media assets under their care. During this presentation, the audience will be introduced to the advances and developments of the QCTools project, with particular attention paid to both the practical and also the philosophical implications of this valuable new resource. More than simply a free and open source means of capturing, filtering and analyzing analog and born-digital video materials, QCTools illuminates critical aspects of the ongoing restructuring of the archival/conservation endeavor in the digital era. Created by moving image archivists in close consultation with media art conservators, QCTools democratizes access to a full range of data and tools previously only available to (1) users with the capacity to expend resources on expensive proprietary software, or (2) users with a strong knowledge of command-line script writing and the media encoding/decoding framework FFmpeg. With a range of examples culled from various media arts organinzations, Rice and Turkus will conclude with a discussion of future areas of development/research/study for the QCTools project, paying particular attention to the newfound addition of capture and restoration possibilities.

avatar for Benjamin Turkus

Benjamin Turkus

Preservation Project Manager, Bay Area Video Coalition
Ben Turkus oversees all of BAVC’s preservation and digitization activities, developing workflow, documentation, and technical practices. He has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in Film Studies from Columbia University, and is currently pursuing a MA in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation from NYU. Ben never thought that he’d enjoy spending his free time driving all over California to pal around with retired video... Read More →


Dave Rice

Audiovisual Archivist
Dave Rice is an audiovisual archivist and technologist whose work focuses on independent media, open source technological preservation applications, and quality control analytics. Rice has worked as an archivist or archival consultant for media organizations such as the City of the University of New York, Democracy Now, the United Nations, WITNESS, and Downtown Community Television. A graduate of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film... Read More →

Saturday May 16, 2015 10:30am - 11:00am
Orchid B-D 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131


(Electronic Media) Digital Applications for Film Preservation
As photochemical motion picture production winds down, film archivists and conservators must aim to engage with alternative forms of preservation. This alterity allows for a different, yet no less robust, approach to film preservation and conservation. Conservators Erik Piil and Peter Oleksik will describe the current landscape of film scanning and digitization, including photochemical and non-photochemical objectives, intermediate workflows, and metadata documentation. Erik will address key technical specifications for film digitization, including image acquisition, target color spaces, sampling depth, and common acquisition file formats. These considerations, when weighed with the various characteristics of motion picture film, present to the audience multiple frameworks for preservation. Following Erik’s overview of the technical specifications for film digitization, Peter will present recent case studies at MoMA, including the project to digitize the entire filmic output of Andy Warhol, to illustrate these concepts in a conservation oriented digitization workflow. Looking at both recent acquisitions as well as preparing works on film for exhibition using digital intermediaries, Peter will show how both photochemical and digital approaches are increasingly becoming the norm in a symbiotic relationship of conservation and access. In addition, issues of cataloguing, digital storage and institutional infrastructure will be addressed.

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Erik Piil

Digital Archivist, Anthology Film Archives
Erik Piil is Digital Archivist at Anthology Film Archives in New York City and an adjunct professor at New York University’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program.

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Peter Oleksik

Assistant Media Conservator, Museum of Modern Art
Peter Oleksik is Assistant Media Conservator at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), where he has worked to migrate all of the analog single channel video works to digital carriers. He received his BA in Cinema Studies from the University of Southern California and his MA from New York University’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) program where he is currently an adjunct professor teaching Video Preservation. Peter’s other... Read More →

Saturday May 16, 2015 11:00am - 11:30am
Orchid B-D 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131


(Electronic Media) Cross-disciplinary Conservation: Building a Synergetic Time-based Media Lab
In 2009, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum launched its first conservation lab for the care of time-based media artworks in its collection. Since then, a number of other pioneering museums have established similar technical infrastructures. Core purposes of these labs include the access of audiovisual content for condition and quality assessment, the preparation of exhibition copies, and the digitization of tape-based formats. A recent expansion of the Guggenheim’s Time-based Media Lab adds critical new functions to its infrastructure. With the aim to encourage a more holistic investigation of time-based media artwork as an installed environment, the new lab features a staging area that allows artworks to be installed and experienced with different playback and display equipment, both of which can have a dramatic impact on the appearance of an artwork. This improved viewing space has encouraged cross-departmental decision-making into the process of examining and evaluating time-based media artworks. By enhancing the preparation phase prior to a time-sensitive installation, curators, exhibition designers, technicians, and conservators gain the opportunity to carefully assess the  properties that define  an artwork, allowing them to (1) thoroughly evaluate the selection of audiovisual materials; (2) to compare the output quality from different equipment makes and models; (3) to invite the artist’s input on possible adjustments; and (4) to find an informed agreement on components and iteration-specific modifications of the artwork. This paper presents the new lab infrastructure, details its technical features and discusses its potentials for cross-disciplinary collaboration.


Joanna Phillips

Conservator, Time-based Media, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Joanna Phillips is the Conservator of Time-based Media at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, where she founded the first media art conservation lab in a US museum. In her 8 years at the Guggenheim, Phillips has developed and implemented new strategies for the preservation, reinstallation, and documentation of time-based media works. Phillips publishes and lectures on this topic internationally, and her latest research initiative... Read More →

Saturday May 16, 2015 11:30am - 12:00pm
Orchid B-D 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131


(Electronic Media) Computational Provenance and Computational Reproducibility: What Can We Learn About the Conservation of Software Art From Current Research in the Sciences?
The field of art conservation has relied on advances in scientific research throughout history, whether from studying contemporary approaches to chemical analysis of materials to taking advantage of new imaging techniques or many other examples. Our field is the study of the conservation of time-based media and software art. To this end, we have focused on the theoretical framework and practical application of two fields of study in applied mathematics and the sciences known as computational provenance and computational reproducibility. Our goal is to ascertain whether and how these approaches could inform our work on the conservation of time-based media and software art. We will begin with an overview of the techniques used in the sciences to insure that results are reproducible. It is a basic premise of the sciences that experimental results must be consistent in order to be validated; however as current scientific research relies heavily on computational techniques, the software and technologies used to obtain current scientific results must be preserved so that those same scientific results will be achieved in the distant future. This is analogous to the goal of art conservation as museums will wish to re-exhibit contemporary works of time-based media and software art over time. Through this model we will consider how the artist’s intention can be preserved and authentically represented throughout an artwork’s lifespan and exhibition history. We will look at the depth of what should be considered to accurately execute or replay data such as digital media or execution of software code by understanding the metadata of its computing environment (such as codecs, compilers, the operating system, and hardware). In addition we will look at how this model can apply to documentation of physical and environmental factors (such as installation details, sculptural details, lighting) In this presentation we will describe several case studies including resurrecting a 17 year old software driven artwork at SFMoMA, Predictive Engineering2 by Julia Scher and documenting Lynn Hersman Leesons’ RAWAR installation, http://www.rawwar.org/view, as it is installed at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in 2014, among others.

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Deena Engel

Clinical Professor, New York University
Deena Engel is a Clinical Professor as well as the Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Computer Science Minors programs in the Department of Computer Science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University. She teaches undergraduate computer science courses on web and database technologies, as well as courses for undergraduate and graduate students in the Digital Humanities and the Arts. She also... Read More →
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Mark Hellar

Owner, Hellar Studios LLC
Mark Hellar is a leading technology consultant for cultural institutions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond and owner of Hellar Studios LLC. Mark is currently working on new media conservation initiatives at SFMoMA, including the conservation and care of their software-based artworks. He is also is an advisory committee member for the Digital Repository for Museum Collections at MoMA and has presented on the conservation of... Read More →

Saturday May 16, 2015 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Orchid B-D 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131
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(Electronic Media) Tackling obsolescence through virtualization: facing challenges and finding potentials
In the past decade Tate has collected ten software-based artworks, and this number is expected to increase in the coming years. Tate is currently exploring different ways to describe and care for the software-based artworks in its collection . Some of the research is based on the day to day praxis in Time-based Media Conservation.  The participation in the European research project Pericles, which aims to ensure that digital content remains accessible in a continually changing environment, allows for more in-depth approach for specific strategies and collaboration with external expertise in related subjects. As initial steps Tate captures detailed technical information about the components of an artwork and the digital environments in which they are created. Tate uses the term ‘software-based artwork’ to refer to art where software is the primary artistic medium. These works form complex systems exhibiting a range of dependencies on changing hardware, commercial software, interfaces or technological environments. Software-based artworks may include bespoke elements coded by the artist or their programmer, and many are interactive or involve complex systems that exhibit particular behaviour, such as responding to a visitor or searching for keywords on the Internet.

 Obsolescence is a key factor to consider when planning for the long-term preservation of time-based media artworks. Conservators in the field regularly develop and implement strategies to minimise its effects to a variety of media. For the purpose of this presentation we will focus specifically on the effects of obsolescence in software-based artworks.

 In this presentation we will explain and problematize different types of obsolescence by highlighting how obsolescence is manifested in exemplary software-based artworks in Tate’s collection. In the process the different dependencies inherent in these artworks are addressed. One of the solutions to overcome these kinds of obsolescence is to virtualize specific parts of the artworks. Recognising the controversies around and the relative newness of the virtualisation methods, next to presenting case study results of the virtualisation process, we will discuss the challenges and the limitations of virtualisation. In addition, based on the outcomes of the first case studies we will present propositions for future practices and discuss workflow examples for the handling of software-based artworks.


Patricia Falcao

Time-based Media Conservator, Tate
Patricia Falcao is a Time-based Media Conservator at Tate. Her role includes the conservation of new time-based media artworks coming to the Tate Collection. Ms. Falcao is part of a team at Tate developing the processes necessary for preservation of digital artworks. During 2013/14 she researched the use of virtualisation for the preservation of software-based artworks. Ms. Falcao completed her MA at the University of the Arts in Bern with a... Read More →


annet dekker

PhD researcher, Goldsmiths University of London
Annet Dekker is an independent researcher and curator. She is currently Researcher Digital Preservation at Tate, London, Post-doc Research Fellow at London South Bank University / The Photographers Gallery, and core tutor at Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam (Master Media Design and Communication, Networked Media and Lens-Based Media). Previously she worked as Web curator for SKOR (Foundation for Art and Public Domain, 2010–12), was programme... Read More →

Pip Laurenson

Head of Collection Care Research, Tate
Pip Laurenson has over twenty years of experience working within a contemporary art museum and in her current role, she is responsible for the strategic direction, development and leadership of Collection Care Research, which serves all four of Tate’s galleries and its collection centre. Pip has secured awards for research from a range of funders including private foundations, the European Union and the UK’s Arts and Humanities... Read More →

Saturday May 16, 2015 2:30pm - 3:00pm
Orchid B-D 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131


(Electronic Media) Defining an Ethical Framework for Preserving Cory Arcangel’s “Super Mario Clouds”
The conservation issues raised by complex time-based media installations are multiple and pertain not only to the inherent obsolescence of equipment and technologies, but also to the conceptual and aesthetic implications of change and conservation intervention. Defining an ethical framework in which conservation can operate becomes an imperative for sustaining the collection life of these works. This paper, which is based on a Master thesis presented at the University of the Arts Bern (Switzerland), uses Cory Arcangel’s video game-based installation Super Mario Clouds (2003) as a case study to explore the systematic development of a conservation strategy against the background of current ethical considerations in the emerging field of time-based media conservation. Super Mario Clouds consists of a Nintendo game, which the artist modified by hacking the original game cartridge and re-writing the code. By doing so, he eliminated all traces of the seminal 1980s video game “Super Mario Bros.”– except for the clouds. In good tradition with hacking culture, which Arcangel emerged from, the artist published a commented version of his code online and accompanied it with instructions for hacking the cartridge. His personal recommendation for preserving Super Mario Clouds is to follow his published guidelines and to create replicas of the artwork. As a basis for a broader analysis of a range of relevant conservation strategies, this study investigates the conceptual and aesthetic dimensions of the work, identifies the significance of each component – including the Nintendo equipment, the artist-written code and the image characteristics specific to video games from the 8-bit era – and locates the vulnerabilities of the work. The context of the artwork’s creation and the parallel existence of multiple versions – an “Internet Version” and an installed “Gallery Version” – are taken into account in discussing the notion of authenticity for Super Mario Clouds. The research discusses several conservation approaches in use in the field of time-based media conservation, such as replacing equipment, digitization and emulation, and investigates how to apply them to Super Mario Clouds. The approaches are evaluated and compared with established conservation ethics on the one hand, and the artist-proposed strategies on the other hand. Additionally, a number of practical tests have been conducted to assess the feasibility of the different strategies. The study concludes that different strategies may apply for the short, middle and long-term preservation of the work. Maintaining the original Nintendo hardware to display the piece should be privileged for as long as possible, since it respects best the artist’s intent and the work’s integrity. When this approach is no longer feasible, emulation appears to be the best alternative in respect of the conceptual and technical nature of the work, since it will keep the artist-written code functional. In the very long-term, strategies of reinterpretation might have to be discussed. Regardless of the strategy chosen, many aspects of the re-installation process still need to be considered, such as the choice of display equipment that will best convey the artist’s intention to a contemporary audience.

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Emilie Magnin

Contemporary Art Conservator
Emilie Magnin is currently working as a contemporary art conservator for Marc Egger - Conservation-Restoration of Contemporary Art in Bern, Switzerland. She obtained her Master of Arts in Conservation-Restoration from the University of the Arts Bern, specializing in the Conservation of Modern Materials and Media.

Saturday May 16, 2015 3:00pm - 3:30pm
Orchid B-D 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131


(Electronic Media) Archiving The Brotherhood: Proposing a Technical Genealogy for Time-Based Works
The following case study is a proposal for the creation of a “technical genealogy” for time-based artworks, specifically focusing on works which use a multitude of hardware and software in a highly-customized environment. The Brotherhood (1990-1998), a six-part installation series by Steina and Woody Vasulka, was a complex work employing a software package comprised of hundreds of scripts (written in C), more than 70 pieces of unique hardware, and is one of the earliest examples of an algorithmic artwork using sound, moving image, lighting, and robotics, all using MIDI note space as the primary protocol for facilitating interactivity. It is an example of an artwork where a thorough understanding of the employed technologies which mediate the work and the intended user experience is just as if not more of an essential component to the artwork than the experience alone. In this particular case study the artists are donating their collection to the Brakhage Center at the University of Colorado - Boulder University Library whose mission is to study and historicize media art and technology. Many models currently exist for defining the relationship between materials and behaviors in interactive and technological artworks so as to inform more pragmatic approaches towards ongoing care and stewardship for the artwork, but given the work's deposit within a research library, the process of describing and documenting the relationship between behaviors and materials takes on a different role than it might in a museum setting (particularly in how to provide access to this work and through what means). Through documentation (both pre-existing and generated through this exercise) and examining the relationships between hardware and software, I will argue for a new means of archiving a complex artwork with a particular focus on the work’s innovative methods so as to leverage scholarly intrigue. This focus on the archival/library setting also reflects the desire to create an oral history around the art work, as is the expressed interest of the artists and their collaborators whose notes and recollections form the crux of the proposed descriptive model. The primary purpose of this case study is to argue for the valuable service that research libraries can provide for the ongoing care of technology-based artworks, pointing to both the historical context from which the work emerged and lending rigorous insight into an artwork's innovative and complex processes so as to best inform conservation.


Joey Heinen

National Digital Stewardship Resident, Harvard Library
Joey Heinen is an emerging digital archivist and media art conservator, specializing in obsolete digital formats from the 1990s. After working as Assistant Director of Visitor Experience at the Walker Art Center, he discovered his passion for time-based art objects and the challenges in continually presenting these works to new audiences. His archival work with video, live imaging processing tools, interactive, and computer-based artwork... Read More →

Saturday May 16, 2015 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Orchid B-D 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131


(Electronic Media) Jeremy Blake's Time-Based Paintings: A Case Study
Jeremy Blake (1971-­‐2007) was an American digital artist of “time-based paintings” using animated digital images. His Winchester trilogy perhaps best exemplifies his myriad practices. He combined 8mm film, vector graphics, and hand-painted imagery to create a distinctive aesthetic: color‐drenched, atmospheric, even hallucinatory. He participated in three Whitney Biennials from 2000-2004 and also worked commercially, creating animated sequences in P.T. Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love (2002) before his early death. The Jeremy Blake Papers include over 340 pieces of legacy media that span optical media, jaz disks, digital linear tape and multiple hard drives and copies of hard drives. The majority of the content is comprised of working files, drafts, and final artistic works. Working from an archival perspective in collaboration with technologists, curators, and individuals familiar with Blake’s artistic process, this paper documents some of the challenges as well as the opportunities for preserving and creating access to a collection beset to a high degree with problems inherent in born-digital work. Intellectual property issues, the sheer number of working files, and the unavoidable reliance on proprietary software programs and systems: these are just some of the complications involved when confronting his work in an archival setting. Our paper documents workflow for the preservation and care of the content of his electronic media. It will include the tools we used as well as the decision‐making process for migration and emulation of portions of his work .

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Julia Kim

Folklife Specialist, Digital Assets Manager, Library of Congress
Julia Kim was a National Digital Fellowship Resident at NYU Libraries, where she collaborated on the creation of access-­driven workflows in the context of complex born-­digital media. Julia has worked at the Dance Heritage Coalition, Anthology Film Archives, and the Fundacion Patrimonio Filmico in Bogota, Colombia. She was a technical intern working with artists to digitize their obsolete media at the National Digital Stewardship Alliance’s... Read More →

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Donald Mennerich

digital archivist, NYU Libraries
Donald Mennerich is Digital Archivist at NYU Libraries.

Saturday May 16, 2015 4:00pm - 4:30pm
Orchid B-D 400 SE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33131