During my first graduate summer work project at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), I researched collection items from 2CE to present including:

  • Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors: installation and exhibition maintenance
  • Kenneth Snelson, Âudrey I, 1965: condition report and treatment proposal
  • Pascale Marthine Tayou, Sauveteur 3, 2014: prepare artist interview questions
  • Outdoor sculpture collection: annual maintenance

These projects permitted me to research unconventional materials (e.g. porcelainized aluminum); how the artist can impact conservation; considerations for organizing an artist interview; and different approaches to considering conservation of installation-, interactive-, and immersive artworks.

Rearching and interacting with these artworks allowed me to explore the philosophy of conservation and how it changes when caring for contemporary artwork. Some of these questions surrounded terminology and perception; how these factors influence our decision as conservators and other parties; how artists’ view of a material affects interventive treatment; and how to define and monitor deterioration/damage.

These experiences add to my understanding of the complications of modern and contemporary art.

Natalya Swanson