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Pip Laurenson, the Tate’s head of collections care research and the leader of a new conservation initiative for ephemeral works of art.

Tate Given $1.5 Million Conservation Research Grant for Ephemeral Artworks

Emily Sharpe of the Art Newspaper reports that the Tate has received a $1.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to research new conservational models for artworks “that challenge the structures of the museum,” including digital art, performance art, and time-based media. The grant is the largest the museum has ever received specifically for research.

Pip Laurenson, the Tate’s head of collections care research and the leader of a new project called Reshaping the Collectible: When Artworks Live in Museums, said: “A lot of our current systems [in museums] are based around the idea that works of art are static. But we’ve come to recognize that they continue to unfold as they live in the museum, and in fact a lot of the art we collect today actually has change built into its DNA.” Laurenson’s team will be in touch with consultants and experts in the art world and various other fields such as philosophy and anthropology, as well as “a sociologist of expectations” from the science and tech industry, for guidance. The Tate will also sponsor a collaborative doctorate award and four visiting fellows with the University of Maastricht, where Laurenson is a professor in the school’s Center for Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage.

Six artworks will be chosen as case studies from the Tate’s holdings for the three-and-a-half-year initiative. The works have yet to be selected.

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