Masters thesis by Jennifer Levy.
This project was completed June 2008 as part of the Museum Studies program at John F. Kennedy University in Berkeley California.
non-traditional, ephemeral, contemporary, art, media, preventative conservation, interview, artist intent, collections management
This project is an investigation into how museums holding contemporary art in the United States can more effectively communicate with artists in order to conserve artwork made from alternative media and accessioned into museums' permanent collections. This type of art is made from non-traditional materials that conservators are not typically trained to care for. Historically, fine arts conservation has been broken down into categories of traditional media such as paintings, textiles, photographic materials, etc. However, approaches to conservation have changed over time as artists have increasingly employed everyday objects, mixed media, and ephemeral media. In this project, I focus on contemporary art made with nontraditional ephemeral materials by living artists. Artists and all museum staff should be educated about this type of art and its unique conservation needs. This Masters project focuses on conducting and documenting artist interviews at the time of accession. Interviews can capture information valuable for conservation such as artist intent, process, and materials used. In the field of conservation, training for interviewing living artists is becoming increasingly valued. However, when there are no conservators on staff at a museum holding this type of contemporary art, collections managers and registrars should become involved in or even instigate an interview program, and should receive training on how to interview artists. As a form of preventative conservation, capturing this important information and documenting it as soon as possible when acquiring a work can be invaluable for future conservation efforts.
To access a PDF of this thesis follow the link below:
LEVY, J. From Sharks to Sugar