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New Strategies in the Conservation of Contemporary Art

This project belongs to the following research constellations:


Deborah Cherry


Deborah Cherry, Tatja Scholte, Sanneke Stigter, Hanna Hölling


This research project, organised in conjunction with The Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage (ICN), Maastricht University, and The Netherlands Graduate Research School WTMC (Science, Technology and Modern Culture) explores the contending theoretical models engaged in the conservation of contemporary art. It considers the ways in which new genres of contemporary art pose profound practical and theoretical problems to museum conservation and curatrial practices, not only because of the ephemeral, fragile and experimental nature of their materials and technologies, and sometimes unknown propensities, but because their status as events, acts or installations challenge pre-dominant concepts of conservation which focus on the object, and on strategies which aim to ‘freeze’ or at least maintain the object’s material condition at an agreed point in its history. The project investigates a range of theoretical and philosophical approaches, testing them against selected empirical and scientific case studies, drawn from a number of specific museum collections. Through a series of sub-projects, the research interrogates what happens to works of art on entering these collections - when documented, stored, exhibited, re-installed (on loan or in house), researched and restored. It analyses the pressures from colliding forces: such as institutions, exhibitions, concepts of the spectator, curators, conservators, and artists and their representatives.


2 PhD dissertations; 2 publications; 1 policy document; expert meetings with international participants.

NWO application, 2008.