Loretta Wuertenberger, Founder, Institute for Artists' Estates, Berlin, DE
Artists' Estates and Legacy Building Today
In the 21st century artists’ legacies have become self-reliant and proactive protagonists within the art world. There have never been more possibilities and at the same time more challenges for the posthumous life of an artist and his or her oeuvre. The lecture addresses the current situation for artists and future caretakers while explicating the DNA of today’s artists’ estates and looks at what artists can do during their lifetime to create the best circumstances for the posthumous caretaking of their oeuvre.
Derek Pullen, Director, SculpCons Ltd., London, UK.
Conservation with Conversations: Preserving Naum Gabo’s Sculptural Legacy (co- authored with Jackie Heuman)
Naum Gabo (1890 -1977) was a leading constructivist sculptor who pioneered the use of plastics. His estate has been actively involved in the conservation issues to do with maintenance and preservation of his sculptures; especially the early plastics. Our long relationship with Gabo’s family and their administration of his estate has had many benefits but it has also encompassed shifting attitudes towards the conservation and replication of Gabo’s deteriorated sculptures. The estate, which holds the copyright, had discussed replication for over twenty years and strongly opposed it. Why did they then change their mind in 2006 and sanction a replica to be made? Understanding and accommodating each other’s point of view has enabled the estate and conservators to collaborate on restorations and posthumous replicas that balance accessibility with authenticity.
Jeannette Redensek, Catalogue Raisonné, Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany, CT
Conservation Research and the Artist Foundation: The Experiences of the Albers Foundation
As in any artist foundation that holds collections, collaborating with conservators on the care and treatment of artworks has been a mainstay of the Albers Foundation’s operation for over forty years. But the opening in 2001 of a new, purpose-built research center in the Connecticut countryside transformed the character of these partnerships. The knowledge and skills of consulting conservators have been indispensable to the preparation of catalogues raisonnés, and to the examination and authentication of thousands of works in museums and private collections around the world. Recent projects with advanced imaging technologies and scientific analysis of paintings by Josef Albers have transformed the Foundation’s knowledge of his work, pointing toward future use in the identification of forgeries, and toward greater contributions to the field’s understanding of the ageing materials of 20th-century painting.
Rachel Rivenc, Associate Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles
A Tale of an Artist and His Fabricator: Robert Irwin and Jack Brogan
Robert Irwin, one of the main pioneers of Light and Space, started working with Jack Brogan to realize his work in the 1960s. Since then, Jack Brogan has become a go-to fabricator and restorer for many LA based artists, but the collaboration with Irwin has been exceptionally intimate, fruitful, and constant: Irwin and Brogan are still working together to this day. In Irwin’s own words, the collaboration with Jack Brogan has enabled him to achieve his artistic goals and realize his vision. This talk explores the history of this relationship, its impact on Brogan’s work, as well as the potential conservation implications.
Francesca Esmay, Conservator, Panza Collection, Guggenheim Museum, and Jeffrey Weiss, Independent Curator, New York
Specific Objects: Guggenheim Panza Collection Initiative
The objects of Minimal and Postminimal art are often variable – even, in a manner of speaking, time-based. That is, when realized in object form, the art work of this period is fabricated by hands other than those of the artist. In turn, “delegated fabrication” of this kind permits the work to be refabricated over time: to be replicated or re-produced in the form of copies, examples, iterations, variants, and the like. Intrinsic multiplicity further allows the identity of a given work to be subject to interrogation and reconsideration by the artist, whose own imperatives with respect to material nature of the work from a given period are, over the course of decades, subject to new choices regarding fabrication and display.
Christy MacLear, Vice Chairman, Art Agency Partners/Sotheby’s, Artists’ Estate Advisory, New York
Advising Artist Estates: Professionalizing the Transition
Having led the creation of the Philip Johnson Glass House and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Christy has direct, hands-on experience in the transitional moments of a legacy. She will help illuminate some of the key questions one might ask as a living artist – and what one might ask as the family of a deceased artist – to foster their legacy best. We will focus also on key conservation issues for estates through stories from those on the ground. How do you plan for your home and studio? What happens to personal items? How can you consider issues of artwork conservation which may come up 50 years later, today? Finally, Christy will share some of the big lessons learned from "the trenches."
Marc Payot, Partner and Vice President, Hauser & Wirth, NYC
Representing Artists’ Estates: Dieter Roth, Philip Guston, Mike Kelley, Jason Rhoades
Marc Payot will address the importance of artists' estates in today's art market. Hauser & Wirth works with an important and influential group of estates, and Payot will draw upon this experience to discuss the gallery's responsibilities in presenting and preserving artists' legacies. He will discuss how an active market affects an artists' broader impact, as well as the gallery's role in sustaining an artist's relevance and central place in contemporary discourse when the artist is no longer present.
Glenn Wharton, Clinical Professor, Museum Studies, NYU, New York
The Artist Archives Initiative - The Case of David Wojnarowicz
The Artist Archives Initiative at New York University responds to the need for sharing artist concerns about public experience of their work. In this presentation the speaker will describe the formation of the David Wojnarowicz Knowledge Base through researching his papers, interviewing people he worked with, and communicating with his gallery along with curators and conservators familiar with his work. It is our hope that the information resource we created about this important multimedia and activist artist will help preserve his legacy.
Andrea Rosen, Gallerist, President of Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, NYC
Perpetuity Through Change: A Discussion on the Immortality of Felix Gonzalez-Torres
Steven O’Banion, Director of Conservation, and Anne Reeve, Associate Curator, Glenstone Museum, Potomac, MD
The Posthumous Installation of Jason Rhoades’s Black Pussy at Glenstone Museum
Jason Rhoades’s Black Pussy is an approximately 3,000 square-foot sculpture comprised of thousands of objects. First exhibited in London in 2005, a “sister” version was later developed in Los Angeles where it was used to stage a series of ten participatory events collectively titled Black Pussy and the Soirée Cabaret Macramé. Plans to install the Los Angeles version in New York were well under way when the artist died unexpectedly in August 2006. Glenstone acquired Black Pussy intending to construct a Pavilion specifically to house it in the long term, and with the artist no longer present, the Museum, Estate, architects, and technicians have collaborated over subsequent years to shape the iteration which will open to the public later this year. Even in the absence of Rhoades’s voice, his unique language was maintained throughout the installation and cataloguing of roughly 10,000 objects. The artist’s attitude toward preservation was a guiding principle when confronting questions of obsolescence, conservation, replacement, replication, maintenance, and display.
David Reed, Artist, New York
A recent exhibition brought together paintings that I made forty years ago. Seeing the paintings again was an intense and emotional experience. Some were in perfect condition and others were not. The conservation issues involved were more complex than I had imagined such issues could be. It was upsetting for me to see the damage, and hard to keep my emotions under control. Some paintings could not be shown; others were missing. From my inventory book, I found that I had purposefully destroyed a number of paintings from this time. Damaged, missing, or destroyed, I didn’t know how to think about these works. In order to find out more about them, I decided to repaint some. I didn’t know what these “repaints” would be, if they could ever be shown or would be of interest to anyone else, but I wanted to revisit the experience and find out what I could.