NYU’s Conservation Center Wins $1.5 Million for New State-of-the-Art Program

Lara Dreux
Kate Moomaw, who graduated from NYU in 2007, is the associate conservator of Modern and Contemporary Art and Eddy Colloton is the assistant conservator of Electronic Media. They are working on a video sculpture in the collection at the Denver Art Museum.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation granted $1.5 million to NYU’s Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts for Time Based Media art conservation.

Initiated in January of this year, the Mellon grant aims to provide support for graduate students, and external students or professionals already working in the TBM art conservation field. According to an NYU press release, this grant has facilitated a specialization within the institute’s pre-existing Master of Arts/Master of Science dual degree in art conservation. In September, two students will be selected to enter the program.

“TBM art conservation is an area that is in high demand professionally, but has lacked a dedicated course of study in the [United States],” Judy and Michael Steinhardt Director of the Institute of Fine Arts Christine Poggi said in the press release.

This type of conservation is a rising industry in the artistic field — allowing art to be conserved damage-free so it will remain displayable in the future. TBM is being used in museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art

Dr. Hannelore Roemich, professor of Conservation Science at NYU, described TBM art conservation as a work of collaboration, combining art knowledge and programming. However, she said that because of TBM’s relatively recent inception, there are a lack of experienced instructors.   

“We want to educate students, but we don’t have the educators,” Roemich said. “It’s a chicken and egg story.”

Art conservation has been a concerning topic for quite some time, as displayed in “Preserving The Future’s Past,” a documentary made by NYU alumna Gabriela Tama. Featured in this documentary, NYU Florence’s Villa La Pietra has long practised art conservation, most notably in the form of textile preservation.

“More and more artists add technology to their artistic palette, prompting these artists to factor duration and time [into their work],” Christine Frohnert, partner at the Conservation of Contemporary Art, said.

The grant was heavily lauded by members of the Institute of Fine Arts.

“[The grant establishes] an entirely new and desperately needed direction for the media conservation,” said Institute of Fine Arts Chair of the Conservation Center Margaret Holben Ellis. “It takes a special granting institution to share this perspective.”

 

Email Lara Dreux at [email protected].

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