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News Student Blog: Stedelijk Museum

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After completing my summer internship at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, I made the cross country roadtrip back to the east coast to prepare for my next endeavor. With generous assistance provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, I have been living in Amsterdam beginning in September 2018. Over the course of four months I will be completing an internship at the Stedelijk Museum.

With 95,000 objects, the Stedelijk Museum is the custodian of the largest collection of modern and contemporary art and design in the Netherlands. As the state museum for the Netherlands, the Stedelijk Museum has been collecting important works of art for 125 years. In 1943, an Applied Arts Museum was merged with the Stedelijk Museum. From that moment, the Stedelijk Museum collected hallmarks of both contemporary art and applied arts and design. With such a prolonged collecting period focused on contemporary art and design their collection represents hallmarks of both Dutch and international contemporary art from the 1940s to present day. With such a prized collection, the Stedelijk Museum has a robust loans program both nationally and internationally.

​2016 Turner prize-winning artwork Brood and Bitter Pass by the artist Helen Marten, after and during installation at the Stedelijk Museum.

The conservation lab at the Stedelijk Museum has been internationally recognized as a leader in contemporary art conservation. Their treatments have helped to define contemporary art conservation practices, such as incorporating artist interviews as part of the treatment steps. The research constantly undertaken by conservators at the Stedelijk Museum has helped to advance our knowledge of contemporary materials, such as plastics in museum collections. Even as a pre-program intern, only just becoming aware of the tenets of contemporary conservation practice, I was aware of the research conducted by the conservators at the Stedelijk Museum and have been thrilled to join them as part of my third year education..

Since starting my internship in September, I have been able to participate in projects that will further develop my knowledge of modern and contemporary art conservation. Now half-way through my time in Amsterdam I have been able to participate in a wide variety of activities including the installation of the complex artwork, Brood and Bitter Pass by the artist Helen Marten. Consisting of over 100 objects, the 2016 Turner prize winning artwork, was a complicated installation. The individual components are meant to be modular, and placed by the artist during each iteration of the artwork. Unfortunately, due to schedule changes the artist was unable to be present for installation. Using documentation and instructions from the artist I was tasked with replicating the last installation and documenting the work for future iterations.

​Left: The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Right: A previous installation image of the 1969 work Bevruchters by Jan Van Munster.

In addition to aiding in the installation of Brood and Bitter Pass, my treatments have underscored the complexity of contemporary art. Bevruchters (1969) by Jan Van Munster was last installed in 1983. During my time at the Stedelijk Museum I will document and treat the artwork, which combines plastic, metal, sound, and light. The aim of the treatment will be to ensure that the electrical and sound components remain functional so that the artist's concept remains intelligible to the viewer nearly 50 years after its fabrication.

Though I am only half-way through my internship at the Stedelijk Museum, I am so grateful for the lessons I have learned from my colleges and look forward to the research and treatments in the months ahead.

— Caitlin Richeson, WUDPAC Class of 2019

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In this blog post, WUDPAC Class of 2019 Fellow Caitlin Richeson shares her experiences working with modern and contemporary art collections as she starts a graduate internship at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

In this blog post, WUDPAC Class of 2019 Fellow Caitlin Richeson shares her experiences working with modern and contemporary art collections as she starts a graduate internship at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

10/27/2018
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  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489
  • art-conservation@udel.edu