Collaborations in Conserving Time-Based Art

Feb 03, 2010 1:13 pm

A Colloquium co-sponsored by
The Hirshhorn Museum and the Lunder Conservation Center,
Smithsonian Institution
Dates: March 17-18, 2010
Registration: free

Location: The Donald Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC

It’s widely understood that the special challenges of conserving film, video, computer-based, and interactive art demand collaborative efforts—shared responsibility among a wide array of disciplines. Over the past decade, best practices and shared principles about the care of this art have been developed…emulation, migration, variability. But how do these practices actually work in the real world?

This colloquium brings together conservators, artists, curators, exhibition designers, and audiovisual specialists in a series of case studies about collaboration, designed to provoke debate about how we have cared for these works thus far. Are we listening to all the voices that have a stake in caring for these works? Are we listening to the works themselves—allowing the work itself to determine its own future state? Are we willing to relinquish control over a work in order to save it? Are we as a community truly capable of insuring the long-term survival of these works, or is our job simply ensuring that they will have a dignified death?

Participants will also have the opportunity for first-hand engagement with number of major time-based installations that will be on view at the Smithsonian museums, including works by Nam June Paik, Paul Sharits, Douglas Gordon, John Gerrard, Miguel Angel Rios, Phoebe Greenberg, and David Hockney.

Wednesday, March 17
7 PM
Location: Ring Auditorium, Hirshhorn Museum
Keynote address by John Hanhardt, Senior Curator for Media Arts Nam June Paik Media Arts Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Thursday, March 18
9:30 AM – 4:45 PM
Location: McEvoy Auditorium, Reynolds Center
Panels and presentations
Speakers will include

* Jill Sterrett, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
* Glenn Wharton, Museum of Modern Art
* Chris Laciniak, Audiovisual Preservation Solutions
* Andrew Lampert and John Passmore, Anthology Film Archives
* Richard McCoy, Indianapolis Museum of Art

7:00 PM
Location: Ring Auditorium, Hirshhorn Museum
Meet the Artist: John Gerrard

Friday, March 19
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: Hirshhorn Museum
Q & A Discussion about time-based installations on view

1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: Reynolds Center
Working discussion groups tackling specific questions related to SI’s future plans for conserving time-based art.

The evening talks are free and open to the public.

Thursday’s daytime presentations are free and open to professionals in the field who have an interest in caring for these works. Advanced registration is required for the Thursday program only.

For practical reasons, participation in the Friday working groups will be strictly limited, by invitation only. For more information, contact Jeff Martin, Conservator for Time-Based Art, Hirshhorn Museum: martinj (at) or
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