In 2007 the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) launched its Modern and Contemporary Art Research Initiative to address some of the acute challenges raised by the conservation of contemporary art. These include the immense variety of materials—not all intended to last—used by contemporary artists, the lack of established treatments, and, increasingly, the use artists make of new technologies, many of which are prone to obsolescence and call for new competencies for their maintenance and repair.

Although the initiative includes a strong research component, it also recognizes that one of the most effective ways of addressing these challenges is through networking and the dissemination of information among professionals in the field. One of the strategies adopted to achieve this goal is the organization of focused, singled-themed meetings, which present an opportunity to hear a range of different points of view, compare practices, and survey the state of thinking in the field at a certain moment in time. The symposium documented in these proceedings falls under this category. It took place from June 30 to July 2, 2016, at the Palazzo Reale and the Museo del Novecento in Milan and was the result of a collaboration between the GCI, the Museo del Novecento, the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (INCCA), and the Modern Materials and Contemporary Art (MMCA) working group of the International Council of Museums, Committee for Conservation (ICOM-CC).

The GCI has a long history of partnering with ICOM-CC. This is the third time that the interim meeting of MMCA has been organized in partnership with the GCI, and the second time that proceedings are published as a result of the collaboration. Partnerships and collaborations are an important way for the GCI to maximize the impact of the work we do and reach out to a larger audience. We are thankful to our partners, ICOM-CC, but also INCCA, and especially the Museo del Novecento for their contributions. We also gratefully acknowledge Rachel Rivenc and Reinhard Bek for their thoughtful editing of this volume.

Although the conservation of kinetic art is a very focused topic, the enthusiasm of the symposium participants demonstrated the continued need for research, exchange of ideas, and availability to conservators of reference material. The GCI is therefore delighted that these proceedings will be made available in both digital and print formats, especially since this is the first time we will be including videos in an online publication, taking advantage of the unique opportunity to present kinetic art as it was intended to be viewed … in motion.

  • Timothy P. Whalen
    John E. and Louise Bryson Director
    The Getty Conservation Institute