The GCI publication Mortality Immortality? The Legacy of 20th-Century Art has recently received several awards. The book—based on a GCI conference on the preservation of contemporary art, held at the Getty Center in March 1998—was a finalist in the fine art category of the 1999 Independent Publisher Book Awards. This spring, the volume also won second prize in the book category of the 1999 American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition.
In Mortality Immortality?, professionals from a variety of disciplines offer individual perspectives under the following headings: "Is Contemporary Art Only for Contemporary Times?," "Present and Future Perceptions," "The Challenge of Materials," "The Art Ecosystem," and "Who Is Responsible?" Authors include celebrated artists David Hockney, Judy Chicago, and Bill Viola; philosopher Arthur Danto; collectors Clifford Einstein and Agnes Gund; and museum professionals Roy A. Perry, head of conservation at the Tate Gallery, London; James Coddington, chief conservator at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Peter Galassi, chief curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art; and John Hanhardt, senior curator of film and media arts at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. The foreword is by Mildred Constantine, formerly a curator at the Museum of Modern Art.
In December 1998,History Told on Walls, the GCI video documentary on the royal bas-reliefs of Abomey, won the Prix Coup de Coeur at the 1998 International Audiovisual Festival/Museums and Heritage, organized by AVICOM, the audiovisual arm of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). The documentary—which had previously won the Gold Award for documentaries at the 1997 Houston International Film Festival—is the story of the successful collaboration between the Republic of Benin and the GCI to preserve the heavily damaged bas-reliefs that once adorned the Salle des Bijoux, or Hall of Jewels, part of the official palace of King Glélé in Abomey. (A book on the bas-reliefs and their conservation, Palace Sculptures of Abomey, will be published by the Getty later this year.)