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Innovative Conservation: Studio visits and panel
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Panel: Innovative Conservation

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Conservation studio visits with Curator/Conservator discussions


About the Conservation Studio Visits & Panel

AAMC members will be given the opportunity to sign up for small group discussions in several of the conservation labs at the Metropolitan Museum to discuss innovative conservation projects currently underway at the Met. Additionally, a concurrent panel on the topic will occur in Grace Rainy Rogers featuring presentations from three different conservators of new media, works on paper, and photographs.


Confirmed Panel participants

Lee Ann Daffner, Conservator of Photographs, The Museum of Modern Art

Margaret Holben Ellis, Eugene Thaw Professor of Paper Conservation, IFA, NYU; Director, Thaw Conservation Center, Morgan Library & Museum

Joanna Phillips, Associate Conservator of Contemporary Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Lindsey Tyne, Sherman Fairchild Fellow, Thaw Conservation Center, Morgan Library & Museum

Moderator: Maryan Ainsworth, Curator of Early Netherlandish, French, and German painting, European Paintings Department, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Lee Ann Daffner is the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Conservator of Photographs at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City since 1998 and is responsible for the preservation, conservation, and material study of photographs in MoMA’s collection. She is a graduate of the Conservation Program at the State University College at Buffalo and has held fellowships at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the George Eastman House, and Houghton Library at Harvard University. Daffner’s recent research has focused on the characterization of gelatin silver prints, and she leads the conservation team of the Museum’s Thomas Walther Collection project, a model for interdisciplinary, materials-based research that advances the permanent record of scholarship on modernist photography.


Maryan Ainsworth
is Curator of Early Netherlandish, French, and German painting in the European Paintings Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Adjunct Professor of the History of Art at Barnard College and Columbia University. She has specialized in the technical investigation of northern Renaissance paintings and has lectured and published widely on her work. Among the books that highlight her interdisciplinary approach are the exhibition catalogues and monographs Petrus Christus, Renaissance Master of Bruges (1994), From Van Eyck to Bruegel, Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1998), Gerard David, Purity of Vision in an Age of Transition (1998), and Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart’s Renaissance (2010). Currently she is preparing the scholarly catalogues of the Museum’s early German and Netherlandish paintings.


Margaret Holben Ellis is the Eugene Thaw Professor of Paper Conservation, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She also serves as Director, Thaw Conservation Center, The Morgan Library & Museum. She is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works of Art (AIC), a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC), an Accredited Conservator/Restorer of the International Institute of Conservation (ICON). Professional and academic awards have included the Caroline and Sheldon Keck Award (2003) for a sustained record of excellence in education, the Rutherford John Gettens Merit Award (1997) in recognition of outstanding service to the profession both conferred by the AIC, and a Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome (1994). She has lectured and published widely on the conservation of works of art on paper and the history and technology of artist’s materials. She is a graduate of Barnard College (1975 B.A. art history, magna cum laude) and the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (1979 M.A. art history; Advanced Certificate in Conservation).


Joanna Phillips
is the Associate Conservator of Contemporary Art at the Guggenheim Museum, focusing on the conservation of time-based media, and Program Chair of the Electronic Media Group at AIC. After completing her Master degree in Paintings Conservation at the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste in Dresden / Germany, Joanna worked as an assistant conservator at the Swiss Institute for Art Research in Zurich, where she focused on contemporary art conservation. In 2005, she joined the Swiss research project "ActiveArchives”, becoming one of four researchers to explore media art preservation. Within this project, she co-authored the upcoming publication "Image Errors in Analog Video”, and co-organized the research exhibition and publication "Reconstructing Swiss Video Art of the 70s and 80s”. In 2008, Joanna joined the Guggenheim, where she has established a media art preservation lab and practices for the appropriate collection care of media artworks.


Lindsey Tyne is the Sherman Fairchild Post-Graduate Fellow in the Thaw Conservation Center at The Morgan Library & Museum. She received a B.F.A. from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY and a M.A. in Art History and Advanced Certificate in Conservation from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her advanced training internship in paper conservation was completed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Most recently, she co-authored ‘"Mechanical” Drawings in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’, a catalog essay for Roy Lichtenstein: The Black and White Drawings 1961-1968 at The Morgan Library & Museum, September 24, 2010 through January 2, 2011. Currently, she is researching Jim Dine’s Glyptotek Drawings, 1987-1988.


Confirmed Studio Visits

1. Objects conservation with Peter Barnet & Pete Dandridge

Using aquamanilia and other objects in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, the session will examine the casting of copper alloy vessels in the Middle Ages.

Peter Barnet is the Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge of the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. His publications include Images in Ivory: Precious Objects of the Gothic AgeCatalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Detroit Institute of Arts, 2002, as contributing author; and Lions, Dragons and Other Beasts: Aquamanilia of the Middle Ages, Vessels for Church and Table (exh. cat.), 2006, as co-editor. He has supervised gallery renovations and reinstallations at the Metropolitan and at The Cloisters. He was a founding trustee of the Association of Art Museum Curators and currently serves on the board of the College Art Association and the Art Advisory Council of the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR). (exh. cat.), 1997, as editor and contributor.

Pete Dandridge is Conservator and Administrator in the Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Since 1985, he has been responsible for the preservation of the ivories, enamels, and metalwork in the collections of the Medieval Department and The Cloisters. He has lectured on and published his research into the technical history of these objects, and in 2006, co-curated with Peter Barnet the exhibition, Lions, Dragons, and Other Beasts: Aquamanilia of the Middle Ages, Vessels for Church and Table, at the Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture, as well as serving as co-editor for and contributor to the catalogue.


2. Objects conservation with Alisa LaGamma & Ellen Howe

The session will examine fired terracotta sculptures from Ghana in the Metropolitan’s collection that will be featured in an upcoming special exhibition. We will discuss issues relating to their dating and manufacture that have not been addressed in the existing scholarship available to date.

A graduate of the University of Virginia, Alisa LaGamma received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. She has undertaken research in Gabon, Mali, South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Botswana and taught in the art history departments at Rutgers, the University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University and NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts. Dr. LaGamma is a frequent contributor to and member of the editorial board of the journal African Arts based at UCLA.

As curator of African art the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dr. LaGamma, has organized numerous special exhibitions and authored their accompanying publications including The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End (2008), Eternal Ancestors: The Art of the Central African Reliquary (2007); Echoing Images: Couples in African Sculpture (2004), Genesis: Ideas of Origins in African Sculpture (2002), Art and Oracle: Spirit Voices of Africa (2000), and Master Hand: Individuality and Creativity Among Yoruba Sculptors (1997). Her upcoming project scheduled for fall 2011 Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures examines approaches to representing influential figures through works created in nine major artistic centers. In 2002 as part of the dialogue concerning the planning of a new French museum in Paris devoted to non-Western art, she was invited by the Gulbenkian Centre to address the role of the art museum in advancing appreciation of Africa’s heritage. In 2010 she was awarded a Center for Curatorial Leadership Fellowship.

Ellen Howe is Conservator in the Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A graduate of Smith College, she received her M.A. in conservation and a certificate of advanced studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program in the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works of Art. Since 1981, her primary responsibility has been the study and treatment of collections in the department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, with a specialization in the technology of both African and PreColumbian metalwork. Recently, her research has focused on aspects of material use on Kongo Power Figures and reliquaries from Gabon. She has been an Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, Conservation Center, NYU, since 1990, teaching conservation treatment of archaeological and ethnographic inorganic materials.


3. Objects conservation with Ian Wardropper & Jack Soultanian

Curator Ian Wardropper and conservator Jack Soultanian will discuss French, Italian, and German marble sculpture of the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries in the Petrie Court at the Metropolitan Museum. Drawing on their experience of recent conservation campaigns of several works, they will have a dialogue about the ways in which art historical and technical knowledge can combine in understanding how a statue was made and how it should be conserved.

Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Chairman of the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ian Wardropper heads this department of nine curators who supervise sixty galleries and 60,000 objects from the Renaissance to the beginning of Modernism. After completing his Ph.D. at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, he was curator and later head of the department of European Decorative Arts, and Sculpture, and Ancient Art at The Art Institute of Chicago for nineteen years, until returning to New York in 2001. He has organized over twenty exhibitions in his specialties of European sculpture, earlier decorative arts, and twentieth-century design and decorative arts. He has taught art history at six universities and published numerous books, catalogues, and articles. His forthcoming book: European Sculpture, 1400-1900, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be published in the fall of 2011.

Jack Soultanian is Conservator in the Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Working closely with the departments of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts and Medieval Art & The Cloisters, he specializes in the examination and treatment of European sculpture. He is a graduate of the Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, where he received his M.A. in Art History and Certificate in Conservation, and where he now serves as Adjunct Faculty. Additionally, he is Consultant Conservator at Villa La Pietra, the former Florence residence of Sir Harold Acton, bequeathed to New York University. Prior to his arrival at the Metropolitan, he was Chief Conservator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.

4. Paintings conservation with Michael Gallagher

Michael Gallagher undertook post-graduate training in the conservation of easel painting at the Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge, England. Following a fellowship at the J. Paul Getty Museum, he was appointed Assistant Conservator of Paintings at the Kimbell Art Museum in 1992. Between 1995 and 1999 he worked as a conservator at the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin. In May 1999 he was appointed Keeper of Conservation at the National Galleries of Scotland. He took up his position as the Sherman Fairchild Conservator in Charge of Paintings Conservation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in October 2005. He initiated and oversaw the major refurbishment of the Sherman Fairchild Painting Conservation Center that was completed in March 2009 and since arriving at the museum he has worked on numerous paintings including works by Cranach, Gerard David, Giaquinto, La Tour, Moretto, Poussin, Preti, Reynolds, Rubens, Subleyras, Valentin and Velázquez.

5. Paintings conservation with George Bisacca

A discussion of current projects in Paintings Conservation with George Bisacca, specialist in panel conservation.

George Bisacca received general training in the conservation of paintings at Palazzo Pitti in Florence under Andrea Rothe and Alfio Del Serra and specialized training for the structural conservation of panel paintings with Renzo Turchi and Gianni Marussich of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (1979-1983). During this period, Mr. Bisacca worked on paintings from the Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, and the Soprintendenze delle Belle Arti of Florence, Siena, Arezzo, Pistoia and Pisa.

Mr. Bisacca joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art as Assistant Conservator in November of 1983 and was promoted to full Conservator in 1986. During his employment at the Metropolitan, Mr. Bisacca has been invited to work on panel paintings from other international institutions including The J. Paul Getty Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Norton Simon Museum, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Philadelphia Museum, the Chrysler Museum, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. An ongoing relationship has been established with the Prado, where Mr. Bisacca has performed major structural interventions on the "Descent from the Cross,” by Rogier van der Weyden (1992); "The Three Graces,” by Pieter Paul Rubens (1995); "The Adoration of the Shepards,” by Anton Rafael Mengs (1999) and "Adam and Eve,” by Albrecht Durer (2008-9).


6. Textiles conservation with Helen Evans & Kathrin Colburn

We will begin in the crypt where we will discuss the display of "Coptic” textiles, and then go to the Department of Textile Conservation to review conservation progress on textiles being prepared for the exhibit, "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th – 9th Century),” March 12 – July 8, 2012. Current and past practices of conservation will be discussed.

Helen C. Evans, the Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator for Byzantine Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is best known for her exhibition’s The Glory of Byzantium:

Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era (843-1261) in1997 and Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557) in 2004. In 2008, she coordinated The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Collecting” in honor of the director’s retirement. In March 2012, she will open Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th 9th Centuries). In 2000 she installed the Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Byzantine Art at the Metropolitan Museum, the first galleries dedicated to Byzantine art in a major museum, and expanded the galleries in 2008.

A graduate of Newcomb College of Tulane University, she received her masters and Ph.D. from The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She has held fellowships from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, the Samuel F. Kress Foundation and the American Academy in Rome and taught at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University, Columbia University, the University of Chicago and Oberlin College as well as lecturing extensively in Europe and America. Dr. Evans is a founding member and current vice president of the Association of Art Museum Curators. She has been chair of the Editorial Board of the Art Bulletin and is an UNESCO advisor to the National Museums of the Republic of Georgia.

Kathrin Colburn, Conservator, joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1990. She is responsible for textiles belonging to the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters. Prior to her appointment at the Metropolitan, she was textile conservator at the Cleveland Museum of Art. She received her training at the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland. Her most recent publication, "Three Fragments of the Mystic Capture of the Unicorn Tapestry,” appears in the current issue of The Metropolitan Museum Journal.


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(NOTE: THIS IS SEPARATE FROM THE MAIN REGISTRATION FORM.  YOU WILL NEED TO REGISTER FOR THE ENTIRE CONFERENCE BEFORE YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR THE PANEL OR CONSERVATION STUDIO VISITS)

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