Spring 2017 Theory and History of Conservation
University College London, Department of History of Art, 10 weeks level 2 module

When thinking about artworks and artifacts, conservation provides an extensively rich area of study of their modes of conception, creation, dissemination, display and perpetuation. This is due to the premise that in order to engage with an artwork, conservation first and foremost seeks to understand what the work is and how it functions within and beyond its historic moment. Outsiders often refer to conservation as a homogenous field of activity that aims at prolonging the cultural objects’ lives into the future. But there are, in fact, different conservations that operate with respect to diverse theories, types of artifacts, institutional settings, historic contexts, and the cultures that produce them. We will sketch a picture of conservation that always exists somewhere between a set of dichotomies of hands and minds, practice and theory, the tangible and the intangible, and the traditional and the new. By putting today’s conservation into an historical perspective, we will examine how the attention paid to materials and materialities effectuated from the persistence of science and how new conservation became of necessity a reflective, critical practice.

Spring 2016 and 2017  Methodologies of Making
University College London, Department of History of Art, 10 weeks level 2 module

This course focuses on the experimental system of art making, remaking, collecting, mediating and conserving. It encompasses readings and discussions centred around theories related to the materiality and the immaterial, makers and their tools, the workings of collections, including questions of conservation, and the notions of time and archive.

Fall 2016  Methods, Materials, Materialities
University College London, Department of History of Art, 10 weeks level 2 module

This course addresses methods and materials employed by the artist, with a particular emphasis on artistic developments of the second half of the 20th century. It focused on the heterogeneous assemblages of installation art, Land art and earthworks, and technology-based media such as film, video, television, and software-based art. Food and biodegradable art, and art based on the implementation of the human body will offer an insight into organic materiality, while Conceptual art based on a pure idea will (paradoxically) reveal the significance of material support. The course expands on the issue of decay, degradation, and alteration of materials, and the aspect of technological obsolescence in order to draft conclusions regarding the complex correlation between the materiality of artworks and their meaning as anchored in this very materiality.

Spring 2015  Revisions: Art, Materiality, and Continuity in Fluxus
Bard Graduate Center, Andrew W. Mellon curriculum, 12 weeks elective graduate course

This course interrogates the materiality of artworks and artifacts created in the spirit of Fluxus and other avant-garde aesthetic movements of the1960s and 70s, with a special emphasis on Nam June Paik’s first Fluxfilm, Zen for Film (1962-64). Participants will engage in the planning and development of the upcoming Focus Gallery exhibition In Focus: Revisions—Zen for Film and its digital components. We will examine the ways in which the archive (as a conceptual space and a place of consignation), the document, and the trace partake in the life of the artwork from an array of perspectives. We will seek to identify the conditions that determine curatorial, presentation and conservation cultures, leading to the emergence of a multifold character of the artwork, evident in its many manifestations. While largely practically oriented, this course combines methods of art history, material culture studies, philosophy, and the theory and practice of conservation.

Spring 2014 Beyond the Object Principle: Object, Event, Performance, Process
Bard Graduate Center, Andrew W. Mellon curriculum, 12 weeks elective graduate course

The emergence of new forms of artistic expression in the 1960s and 70s has introduced new perspectives not only to museum presentation and collection practice, but also to conservation. Conservation philosophies and principles have been increasingly challenged by shifting paradigms of what once was acknowledged as the unique, singular, or authentic ‘object.’ As a result, today’s museum curators and conservators must adopt a diversified approach in order to engage seriously with new forms of cultural heritage that change our conception of the object and its relation to world, transfiguring our understanding of what and how it once was. This course will employ the prisms of art, cultural and conservation theories to focus on the challenges of conserving and presenting artworks and artifacts that may be better understood as events, performances, and processes. We will reevaluate the meaning of the ‘conservation object’ by exploring its relation to conceptions of time, archive and identity. The participants will be asked to prepare oral presentations and submit a term paper or virtual presentation. The course is conceived as a preparation for the Focus Gallery Project.

Fall 2013 & 2014 Cultures of Conservation I&II: Between Object and Subject—On Sites Rites and Paradigms
Bard Graduate Center, Andrew W. Mellon curriculum, 12 weeks elective graduate course

What is conservation?  Simplistic as it may seem, this question has many possible answers. From the contemporary perspective, conservation no longer aims simply to prolong its objects’ material lives but is seen as an engagement with materiality—that is, with the many specific factors determining how objects’ identity and meaning are entangled with the aspects of time, the environment, ruling values, politics, economy, conventions, and culture. Accordingly, this course explores diverse cultures of conservation derived from anthropological-humanistic, aesthetic, and scientific approaches. Centered around the conservation of a variety of artworks and artifacts, our discussion will examine the challenges of traditional and contemporary materials and the so-called ‘new’ and technology-based media. We will explore the conservation cultures of multiple institutions and stakeholders, and examine the historical conditions that have shaped conservation discourse and theory, especially as reflected in the split between scientific and humanistic cultures and the move from objects to subjects. teaching