The Judith Praska Distinguished Visiting Professorship in Conservation is awarded to a prominent conservator or scientist who brings new areas for research and teaching to the program in Conservation.

Commoner and Shashoua
Left: Lucy Commoner; Right: Yvonne Rose Shashoua

The Conservation Center at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, has welcomed Yvonne Rose Shashoua and Lucy Commoner as the 2019–2020 Judith Praska Distinguished Visiting Professors in Conservation and Technical Studies. Shashoua, a senior researcher for the National Museum of Denmark, and Commoner, Conservator Emerita at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, will teach in the Conservation Center’s dual MA/MS program in Conservation and Art History and Archaeology.

The Judith Praska Distinguished Visiting Professorship in Conservation is awarded to a prominent conservator or scientist who brings new areas for research and teaching to the program in Conservation. Shashoua will teach graduate students in conservation and art history starting in the fall 2019 semester. Commoner will teach in spring 2020. Both will deliver public lectures during their tenure.

Christine Poggi, the Judy and Michael Steinhardt Director of the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, said, “We are delighted to welcome Yvonne and Lucy to the Institute this year. Their impressive expertise gained through years of research will enhance our vibrant program of academic study.”

Margaret Holben Ellis, Chair and Eugene Thaw Professor of Paper Conservation, noted, “Yvonne’s research into plastics degradation and Lucy’s expertise in textiles are crucial to our curriculum. Their research has contributed significantly to what we know – in a material way – about works of art using plastics and fiber. Their contributions to art history and conservation will be a model for our students to follow.”

Yvonne Rose Shashoua
is currently a senior researcher at the National Museum of Denmark and leads the EU Horizon 2020 research project NANORESTART on the lifecycles of plastics. She has 20 years of experience and over 100 peer-reviewed articles in plastics research. She has served as a guest lecturer at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, the Universities of Oslo, Gothenburg, and Gotland, as well as Metropolia University (Finland), the Canadian Conservation Institute, and the Getty Conversation Institute in Los Angeles. She holds a PhD in plastics deterioration from the Technical University of Denmark, a Diploma in Management in Museums from the Industrial Society (London), and a BSc with Honours in Industrial Chemistry from the City University of London.

Lucy A. Commoner
is Conservator Emerita at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, where she was the senior textile conservator from 1977-2016, and head of Conservation from 2004-2016. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history and studio art from Brown University and studied weaving and textile design at the Rhode Island School of Design. She began her career in conservation as an Assistant Restorer for the Textile Conservation and Egyptian Departments at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1974-1977. Her areas of expertise include early Dynastic Egyptian textiles, folding fans (history and conservation), museum storage systems, fiber identification and microscopy, exhibition and mounting techniques for textiles, and the construction and maintenance of conservation environments. At Cooper Hewitt, Commoner developed a comprehensive storage and exhibition system for all types of textiles, costumes, and costume accessories that has been in use at the museum and its collection storage facility for the past 40 years.

Commoner has been an adjunct professor at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts Conservation Center since 1987. She has trained many interns in the field through funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution. She is a fellow of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC).

About the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU

The Institute of Fine Arts, NYU is an international leader in research and graduate teaching, and is 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, 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 that combines training in conservation with historical, archaeological, curatorial, and scientific studies.

For more information please contact: Margaret Holben Ellis, Chair and Eugene Thaw Professor of Paper Conservation, at mhe1@nyu.edu.