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Video: Contemporary Art: Who Cares? Deborah Cherry on the (auto)biographies of works of art (2010)

Deborah Cherry speaking at Contemporary Art: Who Cares?

Deborah Cherry speaking at Contemporary Art: Who Cares?

Plenary lecture
Title
Brief Lives: the (auto)biographies of works of art
Speaker
Deborah Cherry, Professor  of Modern and Contemporary Art
 
University of Amsterdam
Keywords
collections, acquisitions, curating, conservation, cultural difference, diversity
 
 
Abstract
Contemporary artists are highly experimental often using materials and artforms that are fragile, ephemeral, transcient and transitory. As a result, several works created in the past decades no longer exist in their first form: they may have degraded severely, are in the process of change and decay, or have been remade or re-installed. Some works exist in parallel or supplementary forms which add to and displace the performance or event. This shifting state of change and transformation not only calls into question contemporary art's potential for survival, but also interrogates concepts of longevity and endurance which at least theoretically inform notions of heritage, the permanent collections of museums. Here I explore a key idea for the research undertaken by the project New Strategies in the Conservation of Contemporary Art that of the cultural biography or social life of the work of art. This concept may help in formulating descriptions and constructing the trajectories of art works that change temporally and spatially.
   
Biography
Deborah Cherry is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of Amsterdam. She is a co-investigator of the NWO-funded research project on New Strategies in the Conservation of Contemporary Art. Her publications include Spectacle and Display, 2008; Location (with Fintan Cullen), 2007, About Stephen Bann, 2006, Local/Global, 2005, and Art:History:Visual:Culture, 2004.
   
Video 

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