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Video: Contemporary Art: Who Cares? Susan Lake on The Role of the Conservator in an Evolving Acquisition Process.

Susan Lake, Director of Collection Management and Chief Conservator Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Plenary lecture

Title

The Role of the Conservator in an Evolving Acquisition Process.

Speaker

Susan Lake, Director of Collection Management and Chief Conservator

 

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

 

Abstract

Between 2005 and 2007, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden of the Smithsonian Institution adopted a new strategic plan and underwent a major reorganization, both acts which had an impact on acquisitions and acquisition policies. The strategic plan reoriented the Museum from one known best for its modern sculpture collection to one that has prioritized collecting and presenting international contemporary art in all media, including major installations and time-based media. The reorganization consolidated the conservation lab, registrar’s office, photography, and archives into an overarching collection management department. The changes in orientation and organization required conservators to reconsider some of our common preservation strategies for museum collections and initiated several changes in the acquisition process. This talk looks at examples of previous acquisitions and compares those with current, evolving practices. 

   

Biography

Susan Lake is Chief Conservator and Director of Collection Management at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution. Her research interests include the painting materials of the American Abstract Expressionist artists, the conservation of modern art materials, and the conservator’s role in the stewardship of museum collections. Her book, Willem de Kooning: The Artist’s Materials, published by the Getty Conservation Institute, will be available Spring 2010. Susan has a MA in art history from the University of California, Davis, and a PhD in Art Conservation Research from the University of Delaware.

   
Video 

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