Guggenheim Establishes Conservation Fellowship with Support from Trustee Vladimir Potanin

Saturday, May 11, 2019
Guggenheim Establishes Conservation Fellowship with Support from Trustee Vladimir Potanin

Announcement made in conjunction with discussion “Preserving the Future: Conserving Contemporary Art in the Digital Age” at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, held on the occasion of the vernissage of the 2019 Venice Biennale, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and F Trustee Vladimir Potanin.

Image: Guggenheim Museum, courtesy to the museum


At a special event at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, held on the occasion of the vernissage of the 2019 Venice Biennale, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation announced the establishment of an international fellowship program in the conservation of modern and contemporary art made possible through an endowment by Guggenheim Trustee Vladimir Potanin.


Guggenheim Museum, courtesy to the museum


To illustrate the range of issues the fellowship program will address, the announcement was made in conjunction with a panel discussion titled “Preserving the Future: Conserving Contemporary Art in the Digital Age,” led by Lena Stringari, Deputy Director and Chief Conservator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. The Vladimir Potanin Conservation Fellowship will give an outstanding Russian-speaking conservation professional the opportunity to deeply engage with the work of the Guggenheim for a period of twelve to eighteen months and to consider, through first-hand experience, the role of conservation in an increasingly global world. The program was supported by and developed in collaboration with the Vladimir Potanin Foundation and Vladimir Potanin, a Trustee of the Board of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation since 2002 and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg since 2003.

Richard Armstrong, Director of the Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, said in a statement: “Ambitious cross-cultural initiatives such as the Vladimir Potanin Conservation Fellowship can ensure that new generations are engaged stakeholders in preserving cultural heritage. Thanks to the generous support and foresight of Vladmir Potanin, this fellowship will contribute significantly to the international field of conservation, encourage new areas of scholarship, and bring together conservators, artists, scientists and historians to explore complex issues around the preservation of materials and methods of modern and contemporary art. We are grateful to our friend and trustee Vladimir Potanin for his generosity, but even more so for his prescience in recognizing the critical need for this work.”

Vladimir Potanin said in a statement: “In today’s world, it is more urgent than ever to develop and support platforms that combine creativity with knowledge, innovation with heritage, and establish dialogue between cultures and communities. Having preservation and conservation as their primary goals, modern museums must address local and global societal issues and share solutions across geographic and political boundaries. The Guggenheim is a leader among museums for its global outlook, intellectual daring, and record of achievement in scholarship and conservation. No institution is better prepared to undertake this fellowship program in modern and contemporary art. I am proud that the Vladimir Potanin Conservation Fellows will contribute to these vital efforts to advance understanding in the field, cultivate new talent, and promote cross-cultural exchange.”

While in residence at the Guggenheim in New York, the Potanin Conservation Fellow will contribute to ongoing collection research and to preparation for exhibitions in various stages of development, working alongside the Guggenheim Museum’s team to learn conservation techniques. The program will be designed to consider Guggenheim priorities as well as those of the fellow’s home museum and the fellow’s background and interests. The inaugural fellow in 2020 will work closely with Guggenheim conservators on an in-depth study of paintings in the museum’s collection by Vasily Kandinsky, to elucidate the artist’s methods and to assist in the preparation the canvases for a traveling exhibition.

The Conservation Department at the Guggenheim Museum is currently accepting applications for the Vladimir Potanin Conservation Fellowship through its website; the deadline is June 15, 2019 for a projected January 2020 start date.

Under the leadership of Lena Stringari, the Guggenheim’s Conservation Department collaborates with curators, scholars, engineers, scientists, and artists by conducting art-historical and scientific research on works in the museum’s collection; implementing policies and procedures to ensure the maintenance and long-term preservation of the works; establishing best practices for storage, transportation, and art handling; and undertaking projects designed to address new conservation issues. The Guggenheim’s conservation team has made important contributions to the field of time-based media and has developed new methodologies for treating unconventional artworks and for preserving both tangible and intangible resources. Together, these activities in research, treatment, and findings have made the Guggenheim a leader in the field of conservation.

The panel discussion “Preserving the Future: Conserving Contemporary Art in the Digital Age” was led by Stringari, who has overseen didactic exhibitions includingImageless: The Scientific Study and Experimental Treatment of an Ad Reinhardt Black Painting (2008) and Jackson Pollock: Exploring Alchemy (2017). She played a key role in formulating the Panza Collection Initiative and the Variable Media Initiative at the Guggenheim. She has served as an adjunct professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and has lectured extensively on the conservation of contemporary art.

Stringari was joined by:

Ysbrand Hummelen, Senior Researcher at the State Heritage Laboratory of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands.

Dimitri Ozerkov, Head of the Contemporary Art Department of the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, and Head of the Hermitage 20/21 Project for Contemporary Art.

Alisa Prudnikova, Director of Regional Development of ROSIZO-NCCA (National Centre of Contemporary Art) and Commissioner and Artistic Director of the Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art


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