2001-09 Conference Conservation of Contemporary Art - Creation, Curation, Collection and Conservation

Posted on Fri, 10/10/2008 - 14:34

September 21-22, 2001

Location: Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin, Ireland

Organisers: Irish Professional Conservators' and Restorers' Association


The conference 'Conservation of Contemporary Art - Creation, Curation, Collection and Conservation' aims to bring together conservators, artists, curators, collectors, dealers and the interested public to consider the issues surrounding the use of new materials and practices in contemporary art.

From film, plastics and media deliberately chosen to be perishable, to the salvaged materials of 'Outsider' artists, the use of new and unconventional media provides an aesthetic and ethical challenge, to artists, collectors, conservators and audiences alike. In the hope of promoting discussion and circulating knowledge, practising artists, museum curators and professional conservators will voice their opinions and share their experiences of creating, conserving and working with new materials in contemporary art.


The conference will address the following issues:


Creation: Contemporary artists work in a wide array of media ranging from high-tech digital equipment to temporary or perishable matter that will inevitably deteriorate with time. While transience is sometimes intended, the impermanence of other materials may only emerge with time. What fate do artists intend for works that have a finite life span and can conservation impinge upon the artist's rights as creator?


Curation: The diverse nature of contemporary art creates new challenges for curators who must be prepared to exhibit works involving high-tech digital media, art made from unconventional materials and works whose physical fragility, while an intrinsic part of their creation, puts their survival into question. Curators must also consider the interaction between contemporary art and its audience and take into consideration the public reception of art made in unfamiliar or unexpected media.


Collection: The use of new or unconventional media poses many practical and ethical questions for both public art institutions and the private collector. For instance, how can public institutions justify acquisitions

that have a finite life span or include elements that require periodic replacement? Can private collectors afford to invest in art works that may literally deteriorate before their eyes? Should museums accept donations or loans of works so fragile that they require conservation each time they are displayed?

And what should be done with a work that is irreversibly deteriorating, or damaged beyond repair?


Conservation: The conservation and preservation of contemporary art brings with it many unprecedented technical and ethical questions.

How can conservators keep up to date with new developments, and what practical and ethical problems occur when dealing with work that was not intended to last and creators who are still available for comment?


Speakers to include:


Catherine Marshall

Agony and ecstasy; collecting and curating modern art

Curator, Irish Museum of Modern Art


Rachel Barker

Conservation of modern art: a lifetime to consider

Conservator of 20th Century Art, Tate Modern, London


Riann Coulter

Outsider art

Fellow in Outsider Art, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin


Brenda Keneghan

Synthetic plastic objects in museums and galleries

Polymer Scientist, Victoria and Albert Museum, London


Zoe Reid

Contemporary works on paper: demands and limitations

Paper Conservator, National Gallery of Ireland


Stella Coffey and Niamh McGuinne and Pat McLean

Protecting the integrity of impermanent art

Artists' Association of Ireland; Paper Conservator, National Gallery of

Ireland; Rights

and Reproductions Officer, Ulster Museum


Mary McCarthy

Public art

National Sculpture Factory, Cork


Alice Mayer



Declan McGonigal

Founding director of Irish Museum of Modern Art


Nigel Rolfe

Professor of Fine Art, Royal College of Art, London


Linda Scales

Copyright lawyer


The programme will include a visit to the recently opened Francis Bacon

Studio in the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, Parnell Square, Dublin 1.


Barbara Dawson

Issues surrounding the acquisition of the Francis Bacon Studio

Director, Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery


Mary McGrath

The deconstruction of the Francis Bacon Studio and its relocation in Dublin



Joanna Shepard

Conservator, Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery

Care of artefacts from the Francis Bacon Studio at the Hugh Lane Gallery


The two day meeting will take place on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd September 2001 at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin.


Conference fee: A limited number of reduced rates will be available for students and artists. For further details contact Registration Secretary.


Sponsors: The Heritage Council, The British Council, The Office of Public Works


Admission: UKP90 Irish or UKP80 Sterling


Contact: alison.muir.um@nics.gov.uk

Department of Conservation Ulster Museum