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The First Crack: Conservation & Value in Contemporary Art

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Beatrice Theatre
8:30 am

Event hosted by: School of Visual Arts

Event hosted by: Contemporary Conservation

Reserve Tickets

This event is free and open to the public.  Please click here or on the ticket icon above to register.
In recent years, a dynamic experimental production of art, an expanding fast-paced global art market, and a growing culture of collecting have put extreme demands on the physical condition and integrity of works of contemporary art.
Sculptures made of latex, foam or elephant dung, or paintings made with chewing gum, vegetable dye, chocolate, or just dust and ashes, today achieve high prices in auctions and galleries. Objects made of fragile materials and paintings with extremely delicate surfaces serve as a desirable investment for funds and social status.
The main challenge in the conservation of contemporary art is the continual negotiation between the unavoidable physical aging of the material and the artistic intent. Even a small injury or unacceptable imperfection can disconnect a work from its original conception, affecting its integrity – and thus its value.
In contrast to the much-discussed conservation practice in museums, this symposium will explore the codes of ethics and market forces that rule the decisions on conservation in private practice. It will bring together artists, collectors, art historians and dealers, art insurers, lawyers and adjusters, auction houses, artists’ estates and conservators to discuss what is acceptable, short of perfection, in the changing condition of artworks, and who is behind the decisions in refabrication, devaluation and total loss.

Hosted by School of Visual Arts (SVA) and organized by Contemporary Conservation Ltd., The First Crack symposium will further raise important questions about the collaboration between artist and conservator, the relational shifts of material and meaning over time, and the challenges of guiding an artist’s legacy into the future.

8:30. Registration
9:30. Welcome
Jeff Nesin, Provost, School of Visual Arts (SVA), New York
9:40. The New Role of the Conservator
Christian Scheidemann, Conservator and Principal, Contemporary Conservation Ltd., New York
10:20. Modern Art and Patina: Negotiating     Expectations in Conservation Treatments
Dana Cranmer, Conservator and Principal, Cranmer Art Group, New York
11:00. Coffee break
11:30. Inherent Vice: A Curatorial Case Study
Ingrid Schaffner, Chief Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
12:10. Material, Process and Transformation
Matthew Barney, Artist, in conversation with Christian Scheidemann
1:15. Lunch break
2:15. When Contemporary Art Works
Reinhard Bek, Conservator and Partner, bek&frohnert LLC,
New York
2:55. The Art Market Today
Renée Vara, Art Advisor and Appraiser, Director of Vara Art,
New York
3:35. The Rights and Obligations of the Artist and the Collector
John Cahill, Art LawyerCahill Partners LLP, New York
4:15. Coffee break
The Artist’s Estate: Maintaining the Integrity of the Work
John Hogan (Sol LeWitt Estate)
Debbie Taylor (Al Taylor Estate)
Ted Bonin (Alexander and Bonin Gallery; executor of
estates of Ree Morton and Paul Thek)
Martha Buskirk, Professor of Art History and Criticism at Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, MA.

6:30 – 8.00. Reception