A discussion on the best form for contemporary ideas that the state takes

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A discussion on the best form for contemporary ideas that the state takes

Joanna Kiliszek The Broad Museum during the opening night. Breakfast at The Biltmore Hotel. Joanna Kiliszek Session 4a: Joanna Kiliszek Report by NACCA researcher Aga Wielocha For more than 20 years, the care of contemporary artworks and issues related to their preservation have been subjects in a debate between museum professionals from all over the world.

Yet, the field is still developing. Although approaches and procedures are rapidly being discovered and implemented, art practices are constantly changing and new problems continuously appear. The congress was a great platform to discuss what has been achieved in the conservation of contemporary art thus far, and to propose what needs to be accomplished in the future.

A discussion on the best form for contemporary ideas that the state takes

The second part of the title was added after the organizing committee showed concern that problems in the conservation of modern art would not be acknowledged as enough of an issue by members of the conservation community to fill the programme of an entire congress.

Undoubtedly, much has changed since then. Almost professionals from about 50 different countries came to LA to attend the conference and listen to more than 40 presentations. The history of the field and the evolution of standards and practices were briefly summarized by Lydia Beerkens during the first session.

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The absolute highlight of the first day was the keynote lecture: Her presentation was a personal reflection on the philosophical and ethical nuances of conservation from her point of view as one of the pioneers of the field.

Many attendees, including myself, are looking forward to reading the lecture on the IIC website. On the other, Yvonne Shashoua summarized the long history of the struggle to preserve artworks with plastic components.

There was an opportunity to learn about the application of new mediums in practical treatment, such as agarose gels for cleaning modern paintings in a case study presented by Samantha Skelton.

A set of papers was dedicated to exploring the similarities between the conservation of modern and contemporary art and other conservation disciplines, with ethnographic objects and architecture among them.

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In this presentation, we heard how issues discussed in the field for so many years have inspired practical solutions in the design of a new museum building.

Located outside the main museum campus, the Collection Center — a storage place for most of the collection — hosts a workroom, where researchers and the public can study artworks which are not on exhibition.

Undoubtedly, the SFMOMA project redefines standards in institutional thinking about conservation and documentation of contemporary art. Organizers also invited guests from outside of the conservation microcosm. A stirring lecture on the challenges of collecting and preserving diverse objects, including artworks and memorabilia related to Ukrainian revolution, was given by Ihor Poshyvailo, the director of The Maidan Museum in Kyiv.

Besides fascinating lectures, the congress provided countless occasions for intense networking. The daily breakfast allowed attendees to have a morning coffee and make plans for the day together with other colleagues.

Participants had the unique opportunity to see the facilities of two studios responsible for the fabrication of sculptures by Jonathan Borofsky, Jeff Koons and Ellsworth Kelly.

The owners of both companies started their careers in the art world working at the Gemini G. Fortunately, this absence had been balanced by lectures on the preservation of other relatively new collectibles, like performance and participatory art.

Sill, we have to be careful not to create new boundaries while crossing others.

A discussion on the best form for contemporary ideas that the state takes

The congress ended with a pleasant farewell reception at the conference venue. Participants flew home tired but with plenty of new ideas, and their pockets full of business cards from newly met colleagues.

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