The Getty Conservation Institute, in collaboration with the Clyfford Still Museum Research Center, will present a daylong symposium, Abstract Expressionism: Time, Intention, Conservation, and Meaning, on November 12, 2015, at the Getty Center.
Abstract Expressionism was one of the most significant artistic movements of the twentieth century. Clyfford Still, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Willem de Kooning, and others employed new materials and techniques in art making that presented the medium of paint, and how it was applied, as an agent of expressive communication. Their works, many now over sixty years old, inevitably are aging, and their once-innovative techniques and physical choices present conservation challenges. These artists’ works now exist in a unique moment, suspended between memories of them fresh and new—as if directly from the artist’s studio—and their present appearance as historical artistic documents of a past era. The way scholars and conservators address these changes will impact future generations’ understanding of the artists and the movement itself.
This one-day symposium will bring together conservators, conservation scientists, scholars, and others interested in Abstract Expressionism to discuss these developments and consider what should and should not be deemed acceptable change for the artworks, in view of their makers’ intent and their meaning.