An important aspect of the GCI's Modern and Contemporary Art Research Initiative is engaging in discussion and dissemination within the profession and the public via conferences and symposia. To this end, the GCI organized three events in fall 2015.
In October the GCI partnered with the University Art Museum at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach to present “FAR-SITED: Creating and Conserving Art in Public Places,” a three-day conference examining the creation and conservation of public art. Using the fiftieth anniversary of CSULB's historic 1965 California International Sculpture Symposium as the catalyst, the 2015 symposium explored the possibilities and the challenges of creating and presenting public art for the twenty-first century. The program included a keynote lecture by artist William Pope.L, followed by panel discussions dealing with site specificity, new technologies and materials, conservation issues, and alternative practices. Recorded sessions from the symposium will be made available on the GCI's YouTube channel in May.
In November the GCI co-organized “Abstract Expressionism: Time, Intention, Conservation, and Meaning” at the Getty Center, in collaboration with the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver. This one-day symposium brought together conservators, conservation scientists, scholars, and others interested in Abstract Expressionism to discuss what should or should not be considered acceptable change for these artworks, in view of their makers' intent and meaning. Presentations were given on Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Clyfford Still. Presentations from the symposium are available on Vimeo from the Clyfford Still Museum.
Finally, also in November, the GCI partnered with Tate in London and the Getty Research Institute to organize “Media in Transition” at Tate Modern. This conference explored the conservation implications for collecting and conserving time-based media art, though many of the ideas explored also resonated for a broad group of contemporary artworks and for the practice of different disciplines. Following the format of the Getty's 2008 conference, “Object in Transition,” this event explored—through papers, discussions, demonstrations, and dialogues—how the field is responding to newer forms of artistic practice, many of which have their roots in the 1960s and 1970s. The conference also showcased emerging modes of collaboration among artists, conservators, art historians, technical experts, and curators, and it considered how these can help advance the field.
The conference included keynote speeches by artists Susan Hiller, Runa Islam, and Hito Steyeri, followed by a number of case studies involving in-depth and interdisciplinary discussions about specific works of art by Joseph Beuys, David Lamelas, Gustav Metzger, Bruce Nauman, Nam June Paik, Julia Scher, and Bill Viola. Videos from the conference session are available from Tate.