1999 Conference Mortality Immortality? The Legacy of 20th-Century Art

Posted on Fri, 10/10/2008 - 16:16

Editor Michael Andrew Corzo (ed), Los Angeles: Getty Conservation

Institute, 1999, 192 pages, ISBN 0 89236 528 5


"[...] The Getty Conservation Institute's conference 'Mortality Immortality? The Legacy of 20th-Century Art' was exceptional in its scope, both in the diversity of those who participated in the dialogue and in the

range of issues explored. The meeting brought together professionals - as speakers and audience - with different philosophies and from many disciplines. Preservation issues surrounding contemporary art were discussed and debated by artists, architects, museum directors, curators, conservators, art historians, art educators, students, dealers, collectors, archivists, philosophers, lawyers, scientists, and

technicians. [...] The conference fostered discussion on a variety of questions:


How do we decide what will define our cultural heritage and what should be preserved for posterity?

Who should make these decisions?

How should the objects or events be conserved?

What constitutes preservation?

Should there be careful documentation or stabilization or restoration of an art object?

Who is ulimately responsible for a work of art's preservation?


These issues and others are represented here in essays by thirty-six distinguished individuals. The compilation of their writings provides a unique resource of ideas and philosophies on the legacy of

twentieth-century art."

(Citation from the Foreword by Barry Munitz)



Table of content


Part 1 Is Contemporary  Art Only for Contemporary  Times?

Arthur C. Danto: Looking at the future - looking at the present as past

R.B. Kitaj: Look at my picture!

James Coddington: The case against amnesia

Thomas F. Reese: Andy Goldsworthy's new ruins

Robert Storr: Immortalité Provisoire

Roy A. Perry: Present and future - caring for contemporary art at the Tate Gallery

Ann Temkin: Strange fruit

Part 2 Present and Future Perceptions

Helen Escobedo: Work as process or work as poduct - a conceptual dilemma

Jürgen Harten: For example - examining Pollock

Thomas K. Dreier: Copyright aspects of the preservation of nonpermanent works of modern art

David Grattan and R. Scott Williams: From 91 to 42 - questions of conservation for modern materials

Joyce J. Scott: Immortality / Mortality

Part 3 The Challenge of Materials

Peter Galassi:Conserving photography and preserving the vitality of our culture

Bill Viola: Permanent impermanence

John G. Hanhardt: The media arts and the museum - reflections on a history, 1963-1973

Cliff Einstein: Preserving now

David A. Scott, Vladimir Kucera, and Bo Rendahl: Infinite columns and finite solutions

Part 4 The Ecosystem

Tony Cragg: Projectiles

Agnes Grund: The art ecosystem - art as it exists within a private collection

Erich Gantzert-Castrillo: The archive of techniques and working materials used by contemporary artists

Debra Hess Norris: The survival of contemporary art - the role of the conservation professional in this delicate ecosystem

Paul Schimmel: Intentionality and performance-based art

Sheila Hicks: Linen longevity

Part 5 Who is Responsible?

Judy Chicago: Hope springs eternal: one artist's struggle for immortality

Francis V. O'Connor: Notes on the preservation of American murals

Thomas M. Messer: Art museum criteria

Keith Morrison: Preserving whose mortality or immortality?

Donald Young: A dealer's responsibility

Ysbrand Hummelen: The conservation of contemporary art - new methods and strategies?

Laurel Reuter: A life in its own times


Read more about the conference in Getty's Newsletter, volume 13, Number 2,

Summer 1998 (also available online): Getty Conservation