In May the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Getty Conservation Institute cosponsored several days of meetings at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City to discuss aspects of scientific research needs, strategies, and partnerships in the conservation of materials in modern and contemporary art.

Until now, with a few exceptions, little systematic and coordinated scientific research on the material aspects of modern and contemporary art has been done. Conferences, seminars, and publications on this subject have focused on the historical, theoretical, informational, and ethical aspects of this body of work, rather than on technical and scientific issues. There is much that needs to be done to address the conservation requirements of materials used in these artistic expressions.

The meetings at MOMA—cochaired by Thomas Learner, conservation scientist at the Tate Gallery in London, and Alberto de Tagle, chief scientist at the GCI—defined specific research needs in the conservation of contemporary art materials, set research priorities, and established explicit research goals, projects, and partnerships. A document reflecting the discussions and the results of the meeting was drafted and is being circulated among participants. It will then be circulated among a larger group of professionals to solicit input. By this fall, the revised material will be made available to the conservation community.

conservation image
Enlarge