in the conservation of modern and contemporary art began in the years leading
up to graduate school. As a pre-program intern at the Chinati and Judd
Foundations, I was consistently challenged by the industrial materials adopted
by artist Donald Judd, an omnipresence in Marfa, Texas. With the myriad of
treatments and environmental challenges, I relied on the expertise of my
supervisors, while also informing myself through available publications on
related topics. During this time, I became familiar with the research
publications on collection care at Tate. It wasn’t long before I was
envisioning an internship placement to supplement my studies once admitted to a
graduate program in conservation.
A few years
later, when my WUDPAC advisory committee asked me which museums I had in mind
for my third-year internship sites, my request was rooted in a long-held
fantasy. However, after concerted emailing, my wonderful supervisors nurtured
this notion. With generous assistance provided by the Samuel H. Kress
Foundation, as of February 2018, I have been living in London, working with
Sculpture and Installation Conservation at Tate.
long represented the most cutting-edge research in the preservation and
conservation of modern materials. Since starting my internship in February, I
have been able to participate in projects that will aid in my wider
understanding of modern and contemporary art conservation. This placement is an
especially exciting opportunity for my third year, as it will enrich both my
focus in the conservation of objects, and contribute to my minor area of study
in preventive conservation.
Tate is made
up of four museums: Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives.
Since the beginning of my six-month internship program, I have participated in
projects at or visited each of these sites. Responsibilities owned by Tate
conservators are incredibly varied; I have been involved in the examination,
condition reporting and treatment of exciting artworks, preparation for
exhibition installation, carrying out regular maintenance, and condition
checking new acquisitions. Examples of completed or ongoing treatment projects
include the cleaning of Union Black by British artist Chris Ofili, CBE, the
analysis and treatment of a 1970s polypropylene chair, and the cleaning and
inpainting of two painted metal sculptures by British New Generation artists
Isaac Witkin and William Turnbull.