Thursday, March 26, 2009

Updates for the month of March

Big new ECPN updates for the month of March! The ECPN has a new status as a committee within AIC. This will not change our name or any of the projects we are working on. It is just a new way to identify our group and our structure within the larger organization of AIC. We are very excited with this new status.

We also have formal leadership positions in place now. As you may have seen on the NING site, we had open nominations for the position of chair, co-chair, and communications coordinator. Because the nominees ran unopposed, they have all been appointed to their positions. AIC appointed Laura Brill as chair and Rachel Penniman as co-chair. The two nominees for the communications position have agreed to share the role. Katie Mullen is now in charge of internal communications while Jason Church is heading up our external communications/outreach efforts. Also, Amber Kerr Allison has also offered to take over as educational development and training liaison.

Sadly, due to personal reasons Laura Brill has stepped down from her position as chair of ECPN. While she was only officially the chair for a short time, she has spent a year as an unofficial ECPN leader and inspiration. Her hard work has gotten this organization off the ground and we are so grateful for all she has done. With Laura’s departure, Rachel has stepped up into the role of ECPN chair. This leaves the co-chair position vacant and open for nominations. We are hoping some motivated ECPNer will consider taking a more active role and fill this position.

Our next step is to work with AIC on developing our charge as a committee to be presented to the AIC board for approval. Keep your eyes peeled for more on this in the future. Join us for our next conference call on April 16 at 1 PM (EDT)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

APT Student Scholarships

APT is now accepting abstracts for this year's Student Scholarships to be awarded for its APT LA 2009 Conference. Applications are due 31 March 2009. Information and a submission form are available at

Please forward this information to every student, professor and school you know with a personal invitation to participate. You're also encouraged to send it to colleagues who have similar contacts.

A summary...
Selected students are awarded a scholarship used to participate in the conference and a complimentary one-year APT membership. One student is also awarded the Martin Weaver Student Scholarship for research. Selected students will be invited to give an oral presentation supported by an electronic presentation during one of the Conference paper sessions. Each student will be assigned a mentor and a Session Chair to ensure that he/she develops a quality program.

For additional information or questions contact one of the Student Scholarships Committee Co-Chairs:

Joan Berkowitz
(646) 437-1326

Mark Rabinowitz
(301) 943-8249

Thank you for your help.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hirshorn Museum: Sculpture Conservator Wanted

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is looking for a full time sculpture conservator to care for the museum’s collection of indoor and outdoor sculpture. The successful applicant will work in the conservation lab of the Hirshhorn Museum as well as in the outdoor sculpture garden, and on both modern and contemporary sculpture.

Duties of this position include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Performs a full range of technical and analytical examinations of objects to identify the materials, structure and construction; determines their condition as well as the appropriate conservation procedures to be performed.
  • Performs examinations, treatments, and general maintenance of the sculpture collection of the Hirshhorn Museum, including the art works installed outdoors on the museum plaza, sculpture garden, and on long-term loan.
  • Carries out and oversees the maintenance program for museum sculptures, including those installed in galleries, outdoors on the plaza and in the sculpture garden, on long-term loan to SI Affiliate members located nationwide and stored at on and off-site facilities.
  • Publishes articles in recognized art and/or conservation journals and/or gives talks at international, national, regional, and or educational meetings and conferences, highlighting a treatment or a series of treatment.
  • Assists with the installation of oversized sculptures and room-sized installations, involving the use of cranes, gantries, cherry pickers, forklifts, pedal lifts, and palette jacks; oversees the work of contractors hired to treat oversized outdoor sculptures on the premises of the museum or at specialized facilities.
For more information, visit:

Questions regarding the job description and responsibilities should be directed to Susan Lake, Chief Conservator and Director of Collection Management: or 202-633-2731

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity employer.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Best Thing I've Ever Seen on the Interwebs (plus what I wrote down on a bar napkin last night).

One of my interests is in the documentation of contemporary art installations; I’ve been working on this for a while at my museum, which is getting ready to put 7 new commissioned works in a place we've started to call 100 Acres. Last year I presented some research along side Rebecca Uchill on the subject.

With this in mind, I was particularly stoked to find the following thing. A web thing. It can help people who document art.

I’ve showed it to everyone that’s come near me or my laptop; I’ve sent the link to folks that I thought might find it interesting and even printed a few copies and placed them strategically in other departments at the IMA.

Here it be:

It was made by Inside Installations. You can download your own copy here. The download is much higher resolution than that image. You should look at that one. And, check out the Legend for the diagram, and check out the description of the Basic Modules. It's super detailed and worth spending some time looking at.

It's important because it’s very useful, it’s free, and available right now. It describes how we collect and store information about artworks.

Here’s why Inside Installations made it:

“Documentation of contemporary art covers a wide spectrum of technical and conceptual aspects, i.e. the documentation of light, sound, space, movement, video, interaction with visitors, tactility and olfactory, etc. In order to preserve, present and understand these artworks there are innovative instruments and structures required. Without adequate documentation and conservation management many of these works will not be accessible in the future. Today many museums are using digital collection management systems for documentation and maintenance of their artworks. These systems have been developed for traditional artworks such as paintings and sculptures. Complex multimedia installations are presently not considered, while the need for an adequate documentation of these works is extremely urgent for future preservation and re-presentation. The related media management is a major challenge for many museums. Within this project it was the aim to develop new strategies, tools and templates for the documentation, administration and maintenance of contemporary art.”

I agree and think that creating documentation around contemporary artworks, and especially museum-commissioned artworks, is one of the most important specialties inside the field of art conservation.

And the graphic design is so beautiful that I assume it was made by someone that usually illustrates super complex things like automobile transmissions or the inner workings of metropolitan water systems. There's no way I could create such a thing.

Yesterday I spent my first day participating in a project called "ConservationSpace". I think this is an amazing project filled with great potential. And last night I was having a beer with some folks involved with the project and perhaps foolishly came up with what we thought was the most important ideas around conservation documentation. Here's what they are:

It's totally oversimplified, but really, as conservators isn't this basically we want to do better?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

2009 Angels Project

The 2009 Angels Project will take place on Tuesday, May 19, at the Sherman Indian Museum in Riverside, CA (about 45 minutes from downtown LA). The Sherman Indian Museum is located on the campus of the Sherman Indian High School, which derived from the Perris Indian School, the first off-reservation Indian Boarding School in the state of California. The museum is dedicated to preserving and exhibiting more than a century of the school’s history, student body history, Indian boarding school history, and the ethnographic history of the staff and students. The museum’s collection contains objects representing tribes from all over the United States, as well as school records, photographs and other memorabilia. In addition to holding significance for current Sherman Indian school students and school alumni, the museum’s collection and archives are an important and unique resource for the greater Native American community and the general public.

During my grad studies in the UCLA/Getty Program, I had the opportunity to work with this museum and its only staff member, Lorene (Lori) Sisquoc. She has a lot of projects in mind, and on Wednesday, my former classmate, Ozge Gencay Ustun, and I will visit the museum and discuss the possible projects with Lori. We will likely do a few things that day, focused on surveying and re-housing objects, archival materials and electronic media from this collection. Ozge and I are helping Paul Messier organize the project this year, so if you have any questions or are interested in volunteering please email me at

Thanks again, and look for updates as I find out more info...

and if you're interested, here's a link to a radio/podcast interview with Lori from 2005, where she discusses the museum and its history: