A $1.5 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will enable the Center to offer support to graduate students, as well as to provide mid-level training for external students and professionals already working in the field.

Julia Sybalski at IFA
Image credit: Julia Sybalski, Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. Courtesy: Christine Frohnert.

In recognition of the changing field of contemporary art conservation, the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU will implement a high caliber program in time-based media (TBM) art conservation. A $1.5 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will enable the Center to offer support to graduate students, as well as to provide mid-level training for external students and professionals already working in the field.

The Mellon grant, beginning in January 2018, will support a new specialization within the Institute’s MA/MS dual degree in art conservation and will be the first of its kind in the United States. The Center will select the first two students to enter the TBM art conservation program in September 2018.

“This award allows us to support graduate students entering the new track and to hire specialists to teach them. TBM art conservation is an area that is in high demand professionally, but has lacked a dedicated course of study in the U.S.,” said Christine Poggi, Judy and Michael Steinhardt Director of the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. “We are so grateful to the Mellon Foundation for their support of this worthwhile endeavor.”

Margaret Holben Ellis, Chair of the Conservation Center and Eugene Thaw Professor of Paper Conservation, stated, “The TBM art conservation education program is a welcome addition to our academic repertoire. We have witnessed increasing interest from applicants in this area. Providing TBM art conservation as a new specialization will only broaden our pool of gifted degree candidates and produce competitive graduates for positions in collecting institutions. The Mellon Foundation also provided the initial planning funds to develop the TBM art conservation curriculum, and we are eager to embark on its implementation.”

TBM artworks have a durational element, such as sound, performance, light, or movement that unfolds to the viewer over time via slide, film, video, software, or the internet. Conserving these artworks presents particular challenges, given their conceptual nature and their use of components that extend well beyond traditional artist materials. TBM art conservation has been identified as a priority by many leading professional organizations worldwide due to rapidly growing TBM collections and the urgent need to preserve them. Aiming to solve the ever-increasing challenges of media art conservation, a new generation of media conservators must cross the disciplinary boundaries of computer science, material science, media technology, engineering, art history, and conservation.

Dr. Hannelore Roemich, TBM Program Director and Professor of Conservation Science explained that, “Along with graduate-level education, we will offer mid-career training courses to meet the immediate needs of the profession as well as a series of evening lectures open to a broader audience. Such workshops and presentations provide an unprecedented opportunity, not only for the dissemination of best practices and current research, but also for networking and connecting our graduates to potential future colleagues, who are already working in the field, facing daily challenges with digital art or complex installations."

The TBM team at the Institute has organized a symposium, IT’S ABOUT TIME: Building a New Discipline – Time-Based Media Art Conservation, taking place May 21-22, 2018, that will convene an international group of experts to think critically about TBM art conservation education.

For more information about the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU visit http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/fineart/conservation/index.htm

About the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU
The Institute of Fine Arts is an international leader in research and graduate teaching, and committed to global engagement and advancing the fields of art history, archaeology, and the theory and practice of conservation. New York City, with its incomparable resources and vitality, provides a backdrop and extended campus for the Institute’s activities. Founded in 1960 as part of the Institute, the Conservation Center is the oldest degree-granting graduate program in art conservation in the United States. The Conservation Center offers a four-year, dual MA/MS graduate program combining training in art conservation with historical, archaeological, curatorial, and scientific studies.

About The Mellon Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies.  To this end, we support exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.

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For more information about the program, please contact: Dr. Hannelore Roemich, TBM Program Director and Professor of Conservation Science, Conservation Center of the NYU Institute of Fine Arts, at hannelore.roemich@nyu.edu.

For general inquiries about the Conservation Center, please contact Margaret Holben Ellis, Chair and Eugene Thaw Professor of Paper Conservation, at mhe1@nyu.edu.