“Modern/Contemporary Materialities” lecture series, The Art Institute of Chicago

Maria Kokkori's picture
June 7, 2017
Illinois, United States
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies

A stray eyelash caught on film: moments of materiality and making in the conservation of contemporary art

A lecture by Pip Laurenson, Tate Gallery, London


As part of the “Modern/Contemporary Materialities” lecture series at The Art Institute of Chicago, generously supported by the Stockman Family Foundation.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Lecture: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Studio A, Ryan Learning Center, Art Institute, entrance via the Modern Wing

About the series:

This lecture is the second event of a multi-faceted scholarly lecture and workshop series “Modern/Contemporary Materialities” at the Art Institute of Chicago. This series examines how renewed focus on the object in current research impacts new thinking on modern and contemporary art. It will feature international experts who will speak to the material complexities of 20th-21st century artworks, the techniques used in their making, life and care in institutions, and impact on art historical knowledge.

In the present day, new approaches to studying art and its materialities not only supplement the most recent methodological challenges of the object, materiality and agency, but also present a spectrum of the different ‘scientific cultures’ of art history and related disciplines. The impact of heterogeneous research methodologies will be discussed, namely how insights from science and technology, cultural history, history of science, social history, and political and economic history, as well as current research and concerns arising from notions of materiality and display, lead us to an understanding of modern objects as discursive, as both profoundly embedded and embodying.

From the spring of 2017 to the spring 2018, the Art Institute will host four lectures paired with scholars’ workshop discussions on specific topics that impact our understanding of Modern/Contemporary Materialities today. The series will culminate in an object-based art history scholars’ day in May 2018 that will draw together the various threads of discussion advanced over the course of the year. The series will bring together interdisciplinary thinkers from art history, science and conservation, and across fields of museum practice to engage questions such as: Can materiality foster a new method for thinking about art, and what is its place in art history studies? What models do material studies have to offer that could address ontological issues while also engaging with questions of aesthetics, politics or social history? What constitutes the materiality of a medium: its technological apparatus, the epistemic conditions of its gradual emergence and evolution, or its appropriation and use in various cultural practices? How can we write the histories of media without privileging cultural semantics over the technical materialities of media? How do disciplinary epistemologies shape or impede our understanding of media? To what extent do media write and conceive of their own history and evolution?

About the presenter:

Pip Laurenson is the Head of Collection Care Research at the Tate and Professor of Art, Collection and Care at Maastricht University. She has over twenty years of experience in the conservation of contemporary art beginning her career in Sculpture Conservation at Tate and going on to establish and lead Tate’s pioneering Time-based Media Conservation section from 1996 until 2010. Pip is committed to interdisciplinary research that serves and responds to art of our time and in exploring what it means for a contemporary art museum to be a research organization. She has acted as the lead for Tate on a number of collaborative research initiatives, including Inside Installations (2004–7), Collecting the Performative (2012–14), Matters in Media Art (2004–ongoing) and New Approaches to the Conservation of Contemporary Art (2015–19). She was also the lead researcher for Tate on Pericles (2013–2017), a Horizon 2020 research project that developed new approaches to digital preservation. In her current role she develops, leads and supports research related to the conservation and management of Tate's collections. She received her PhD from University College London, is an accredited member of the Institute for Conservation, a trustee of the UK’s National Science and Heritage Forum, and is a member of the Steering Committee of the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (INCCA).


Please note that the space will be limited so please RSVP at jtrujillo@artic.edu. The lecture component of this event will be live-streamed and a video will be archived and available after the event at the Art Institute of Chicago’s YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdzYlX6g17M

Organized by: Maria Kokkori and Francesca Casadio in the Department of Conservation and Science, and Jill Bugajski, Academic Engagement and Research, The Art Institute of Chicago.

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