Much of the artwork that rose to prominence in the second half of the twentieth century took on novel forms—such as installation, performance, event, video, film, earthwork, and intermedia works with interactive and networked components—that pose a new set of questions about what art actually is, both physically and conceptually. For conservators, this raises an existential challenge when considering what elements of these artworks can and should be preserved.
This is an introduction to a volume titled Object—Event— Performance: Art, Materiality, and Continuity Since the 1960s which I edited for Bard Graduate Center, New York in 2022 (Cultural Histories of the Material World series). The book revisits the traditional notions of conservation and museum collecting that developed over the centuries to suit a conception of art as static, fixed, and permanent objects. Conservators and museums increasingly struggle with issues of conservation for works created from the mid-twentieth to the twenty-first century that are unstable over time. The contributors ask what it means to conserve artworks that fundamentally address and embody the notion of change and, through this questioning, guide us to reevaluate the meaning of art, of objects, and of materiality itself. Object—Event—Performance considers a selection of post-1960s artworks that have all been chosen for their instability, changeability, performance elements, and processes that pose questions about their relationship to conservation practices. This volume will be a welcome resource on contemporary conservation for art historians, scholars of dance and theater studies, curators, and conservators.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Series Editor’s Preface
Introducing Fluxus with Tools
Hanna B. Higgins
Exhausting Conservation: Object, Event, Performance in Franz Erhard Walther’s Werkstücke
Hanna B. Hölling
Video Art’s Past and Present “Future Tense:” The Case of Nam June Paik’s Satellite Works
Resurrecting Hannah Wilke’s Homage to a Large Red Lipstick
Mutable and Durable: The Performance Score after 1960
Sometimes An Onion: Simone Forti and the Choreographic Logic of Objects and Institutions
Views of Nature: Preserving Land (Art) with Collective Intent
Enlivened Pieces: Richard Tuttle at the Whitney Museum of American Art 1975
The Cheapness of Writing Paper, and Code: Materiality, Exhibiting and Audiences after New Media Art
The Propensity toward Openness: Bloch as Object, Event, and Performance
Johannes M. Hedinger and Hanna B. Hölling
To access the introduction, click on this link.