INCCA Revisiting Interviews: The Artist Assistant

Posted on Mon, 09/05/2022 - 11:25

Date and time



Lydia Schouten interviewed at the University of Amsterdam, photo: Sanneke Stigter.
Lydia Schouten interviewed at the University of Amsterdam, photo: Sanneke Stigter.


21st September 2022, 8am PDT / 5pm CET / 12am KST

Organised by Rachel Rivenc, Sanneke Stigter and Josephine Bobeck

Artist assistants, fabricators and other contributors to art making processes often provide invaluable information in relation to the artist’s work. How can their knowledge and experience be documented?  How do these interviews inform conservation?

Join us for the first part of INCCA’s new programming series Revisiting Interviews on September 21, 2022. Register here to obtain the link for INCCA Revisiting Interviews: The Artist Assistant.

Before the event, we would like to hear from you what aspects you’d find particularly interesting to discuss so we could include your opinions during the discussion. Feel free to let us know what you think by dropping a message on the channel #revisiting-interviews of INCCA's Slack.


Steven O’Bannion - Glenstone

Artist Assistant Interviews in the Glenstone Oral History Program

The Glenstone Oral History Program encompasses interviews with more than artist narrators, but also those who can lend special insight into their work. As such there are numerous interviews with artist assistants that have taken a variety of different forms depending on the surrounding purpose and circumstances.

Zeeyoung Chin - The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art

Interviewing the Artist’s Assistant

Artist's assistants tend to be very careful about what they say about the artist's practices because they fear to mar the artist's reputation in some way. How can we approach the concerns of artists' assistants who are hesitant to have their testimonies made public?

Maura Favero - MAXXI National museum of arts of XXI Century, Rome

Artist’s Assistant as Practical Information Maker between the Studio and Its Outside

The assistant may be a special witness: sometimes she/he is the unique person who knows how the artist wants to install the artwork at the present time and in the possible future contexts, which technical tools are useful and how they must be made up. The tools play a fundamental role and they must be recorded not only in the artists’ private archive but also collected from the institutions that collect the piece. This information should be considered part of the memory of the piece.

Rachel Rivenc - Getty Research Institute

On Relationships and Knowledge Transmission

The professionals who collaborate with artists to realize or repair their work hold special knowledge which often consists of hands skills, know-how and intuitive understanding of the work. This presentation will focus on two case studies to spotlight theimportance of their work and question the adequacy of interviews to capture their knowledge.

Julie Wolfe - J.P Getty Museum

Staying on Course with Lichtenstein’s Colour:  Differences in Expression between Conservator, Artist Studio, and Fabricator

At the Getty Museum, we have worked closely with the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation on colour specifications for Lichtenstein’s painted aluminium sculpture called Three Brushstrokes (1984) acquired in 2005. I will discuss lessons learned from our communications with the artist’s studio assistant and his fabricator as we established colour reference material to aid in future restorations.

Francesca Esmay - Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Getting to the Heart of the Matter: Defining “Stakeholders” during the Panza Collection Initiative

This presentation will discuss the process of determining who was a “stakeholder” in the context of the Panza Collection Initiative. Comparisons and distinctions will be drawn about who was interviewed - and why - in several artist case studies.

Veerle Meul & Tanya Bourgeois - Middleheim Museum

Safeguarding Fabricator’s Information for the Outdoor Sculpture Collection of Middelheim Museum: Invaluable for Conservation, Inspiring Many Other Museum Practices

Middelheim Museum is increasingly focusing on collecting and providing access to information from fabricators and assistants in relation to the making and conservation processes of the outdoor sculpture collection. We will share 4 cases involving Moker – a Belgian metal construction studio that “makes art come true”- for materialising/producing, restoring and refabricating sculptures by Peter Downsbrough, Dan Graham, Guy Rombout-Monica Droste, and Richard Deacon.