Conserving the Contingent Object: Emerging Models of Collaboration.
Glenn Wharton, Time-Based Media Conservator
Museum of Modern Art / New York University
conservation, contemporary art, education , media, time-based media, collaboration
In this symposium we are building on the theory and practice established at the Modern Art: Who Cares? symposium over a decade ago. Since then, museum professionals have established modes of practice for conceptual and variable artworks. This presentation combines examples from the speaker’s teaching at New York University with his practice as Time-Based Media Conservator at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). He will present models for teaching the conservation of contemporary art in combination with emerging practice at the museum.
At the university, graduate seminars on conserving contemporary art draw students from the fields of conservation, art history, museum studies, moving image archive preservation, and museum studies. Readings and seminar discussions combine qualitative and quantitative research methods to provide students with a foundation for understanding artworks as they change through time and place. Project based learning includes archival research to develop installation guidelines and interviews with artists and museum professionals to understand multiple ways of knowing complex artworks.
At the museum, collaborative models are emerging that combine the expertise and practice of curators, registrars, conservators, and art installers. Pooling cross-disciplinary skills and knowledge provides for new museum guidelines for acquisition, exhibition, loans, and storage of contemporary art. The life of several works in MoMA’s collection will be traced to illustrate these emerging models of collaboration.
Glenn Wharton holds duel positions at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and New York University (NYU). At MoMA he serves as Time-Based Media Conservator, where he cares for video, performance, and electronic collections. He is a Research Scholar at NYU where he teaches graduate courses on the conservation of contemporary art with a focus on media installations. In addition, he serves as Executive Director of INCCA-NA, the North American group of the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art. He received his MA in Conservation from the Cooperstown Graduate Programs in 1981 and his PhD in Conservation from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London in 2005. He is a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation and the American Institute for Conservation.