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Friday, May 17 • 2:30pm - 4:30pm
Art on Paper Discussion Group

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Expanding the Tool Box: Making Artists' Materials Reference Collections Relevant to Conservation Practice
Moderators: Rebecca Pollak and Harriet K. Stratis

As conservators we are drawn to artifacts, whether for their beauty, their spiritual or intellectual significance, or the tactile qualities they display. Most conservators can also attest to their love of art-making materials, and many of us have personally amassed or enjoyed collections of beautiful papers, pigments, pastels, ink and paint. But beyond their sensual appeal, how are they used to inform our practice, our understanding of works of art made with them, and our treatment of these objects? The Art on Paper Discussion Group (APDG) of the Book and Paper Group (BPG) will gather together practicing conservators, scientists and those in academia to make short presentations followed by a panel discussion on the role of various art-materials reference collections, the mission surrounding their acquisition and use, and practical challenges of management and access.

Reference Collections – What’s Out There?
Michelle Facini, National Gallery of Art
Marjorie Shelley, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Jodie Utter, The Amon Carter Museum of Art
How have various institutional collections formed, are they static or do they continue to evolve? And if evolving, how are contributions by individuals solicited or purchases of new materials made? Once a collection begins to take shape, accessibility and the cost of access require consideration. To make a collection truly accessible, the materials require cataloguing. What platforms are being used for this purpose – is it simply institutional knowledge or use of a searchable database? And if a collection is made accessible, questions of who has access, and who services and oversees that access need to be addressed.

Reference Collections – Accessibility
Dr. Fenella G. France, Amanda Satorius, Andrew Davis
Library of Congress Center for the Library’s Analytical Scientific Samples (CLASS)
A significant challenge in increasing access to materials is the creation of a robust platform that can include information from a range of institutional collections, as well as upload extant reference collection information. How can we effectively allow sharing of collections and along with access, control uploaded information to assure accurate data entries?

Preservation Reference Materials: Physical Collections and Digital Infrastructure 

Making Reference Collections Relevant to Conservation Practice
Amanda Hunter Johnson, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Margaret Holben Ellis, Conservation Program, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU
Joseph Barabe, Barabe & Associates LLC, Oak Park, IL
It is important to find ways to use artists’ materials reference collections to inform conservation practice and to aid scholarship. Sometimes condition can be assessed outright, and sometimes we need to know what a material is supposed to look like before we can make an assessment. For example, paper tone changes over time and in response to treatment; and paper sample collections can help us to determine what our target tone with treatment may be. Equally important are the use of artists’ materials for scientific analysis, for making reference sets for identification purposes, and for making mock-ups to determine methods of manipulation and overall appearance.

Harnessing Private Art Materials Collections
Paul Messier, Conservator of Photographs and Head of the Lens Media Lab at the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, Yale University
As conservators, we seem to be naturally drawn towards artists’ materials, and many of us have formed personal collections that we wish to make more meaningful by seeking support for cataloguing and scientific analysis. How is this done and ultimately, how does one choose a home for their collection of art materials?

Moving Forward
After the speakers have made their presentations, an interactive panel discussion will follow for audience members to share information about the location of artists’ materials collections, and their own use of these materials for study, analysis, and to inform treatment. Finally, the possibility of establishing a national database of collections will be considered.

avatar for Joseph G. Barabe

Joseph G. Barabe

Scientist/Researcher, Barabe & Associates LLC
Joseph Barabe is the Director and Senior Research Microscopist at Barabe & Associates LLC, specializing in art, document and historical object analysis. Joe served McCrone Associates for 24 years as a Senior Research Microscopist and Director of Scientific Imaging. He mentored under... Read More →
avatar for Margaret Holben Ellis

Margaret Holben Ellis

Chair; Eugene Thaw Professor of Paper Conservation, Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU
Margaret Holben Ellis received her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from Barnard College, Columbia University (1975) and completed her Master’s Degree in Art History and Advanced Certificate in Conservation at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (1979). In... Read More →
avatar for Michelle Facini-[Fellow]

Michelle Facini-[Fellow]

Conservator, National Gallery of Art
MICHELLE FACINI is a paper conservator at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where she performs treatments, makes exhibition and storage recommendations, conducts technical scholarship and advocates for educational outreach and mentorship. Her most recent publications... Read More →
avatar for Amanda Hunter Johnson

Amanda Hunter Johnson

Conservator, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Amanda Hunter Johnson is the Conservator of Works on Paper at SFMOMA. Her tenure at the museum began in 2001 as the Fellow for Conservation of Contemporary Art. Working with living artists such as Claudy Jongstra, Richard Tuttle, Rosana Castrillo Díaz and Wangechi Mutu is a highlight... Read More →
avatar for Marjorie Shelley

Marjorie Shelley

Conservator in Charge, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paper Conservation Department
Marjorie Shelley (MA Art History, Institute of Fine Arts; Certificate Degree, Conservation Center, NYU) oversees the conservation of The Met's holdings of art on paper and parchment from seventeen curatorial departments. A specialist in fifteenth- through early twentieth-century drawings... Read More →
avatar for Jodie Lee Utter

Jodie Lee Utter

Conservator, Amon Carter Museum of American Art
Jodie Utter is the conservator of works on paper for the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. She has worked in paper conservation as a technician, contract conservator, sole proprietor, and staff conservator in private practice and in institutions for the past twenty-five years. She... Read More →

Friday May 17, 2019 2:30pm - 4:30pm EDT
Earth Ballroom A Earth Convention Center, Mohegan Sun