The Potential of Technical Studies and Conservation for Prints and Drawings Curatorship: A Professional Workshop
July 9-11, 2019
The Potential of Technical Studies and Conservation for Prints and Drawings Curatorship is an intensive three-day international workshop to support up to 16 early and mid-career curators in the fields of prints and drawings. The program is scheduled to take place July 9-11, 2019 at the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The workshop is funded by the Getty Foundation through The Paper Project: Prints and Drawings Curatorship in the 21st Century.
A vital part of a curator’s responsibility as the steward of a collection is not only to understand an object within historical, creative, and cultural contexts, but also to consider its material qualities and how a work of art might change over time. A good understanding of the technical and conservation issues of a collection enables curators to partner better with all colleagues involved in the care of objects. The workshop will build upon curators’ experience and training to date, augmenting it with the skills necessary for a holistic approach to any collection.
The main goal of this workshop is to help close a gap by exploring the fundamental points of intersection between conservation and curatorial practice. Activities and discussions will focus on issues related to preservation, acquisition, and interpretation (research, cataloguing, and publication), which includes understanding the physical structure and condition of a work, ideal storage, possible treatment needs, and display.
These aims will be achieved through a variety of experiences. Hands-on examination of artworks representative of the broad range of mediums that participants are bound to encounter in their careers is planned in the Art Study Center with objects from the museums’ collections. Practical drawing and printmaking experiences will be offered in the museums’ Materials Lab. Close looking with the aid of a variety of technical tools, will be undertaken in the Straus Center for Conservation with the goal of teaching the participants how to undertake basic technical examinations on their own. And throughout the course, participants will engage in discussion with curators, academic art historians, conservators, conservation scientists, and artists committed to the flourishing of the graphic arts.
The workshop will be led by the curators, conservators, and other members of the technical studies team responsible for overseeing and interpreting the Harvard Art Museums’ graphic arts collections, which span both Western and non-Western fields, from the late-medieval to contemporary periods. The project team consists of Francesca Bewer, Research Curator for Conservation and Technical Study Programs, and Director of the Summer Institute for Technical Studies in Art; Penley Knipe, Philip and Lynn Straus Senior Conservator of Works of Art on Paper and Head of Paper Lab, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies; Edouard Kopp, Maida and George Abrams Curator of Drawings; and Elizabeth Rudy, Carl A. Weyerhaeuser Associate Curator of Prints. (In January 2019, Kopp will become the John R. Eckel Jr. Foundation Chief Curator of the Menil Drawing Institute in Houston.)
Confirmed specialists will include Scott Rosenfeld: Lighting Designer at The Smithsonian American Art Museum and The Renwick Gallery in Washington D.C.; Ad Stijnman: independent scholar, printmaker, and print historian; and Joan Wright: Bettina Burr Conservator, Asian Conservation, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Other guest specialists are to be confirmed.
Eligibility and Application Process
Early and mid-career curators from institutions of various sizes worldwide are invited to apply. Specialties in prints and drawings of any scope of time and geography are welcome. No background in science or conservation, or access to in-house conservation resources, is required. A maximum of 16 participants will be admitted to the program. Applicants are evaluated on the basis of their academic accomplishments to date and on their expressed interest in integrating technical studies in their curatorial pursuits.
To apply, please send a letter of interest along with a current résumé/CV via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be accepted through January 25, 2019, and notifications will be made in February.
Selected participants who are not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents must ensure their immigration status allows them to receive payments from Harvard University, such as a B1 visa or visa waiver for business. B visa holders or visa waivers may not qualify for certain payments if activities at Harvard exceed 9 days and participants have received payments from more than 5 U.S. organizations within a 6-month period.