material life of things: seminar



Weighing the Evidence

Friday, 28 January 2011

17.30, Research Forum South Room

minimal image in pastel and graphite of taupe and grey marks
Robert Ryman (American, born 1930), Untitled, 1976. Pastel and graphite on plexiglass with steel, 49 5/8 x 49 5/8" (126.1 x 126.1 cm). Gift of UBS. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Image: courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2010 Robert Ryman

Speaker(s): Jim Coddington (Research Forum Visiting Conservator, The Courtauld); and Agnes Gund Chief Conservator, Museum of Modern Art, New York)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Drs Aviva Burnstock and Francesco Lucchini

Modern art has embraced many different means of and materials for creating art. In recent decades this impulse has developed at an increasingly frenetic pace. If we are to attempt to understand these diverse works from a material point of view how do we determine the priority of that material evidence? Can we refer to classic approaches to the technical study of art as a methodological guide? Does the historical narrative of art history and criticism bear upon our interpretation of the material evidence? Specific examples of restored and unrestored works that propose these questions will be presented for examination of the evidence in each case and how these larger questions might influence the weighing of that evidence.


Jim Coddington is a Graduate of Reed College and a Masters in conservation from the University of Delaware. Prior to MoMA was a Mellon Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum. Research has included the theory and practice of conserving contemporary art, structural restoration of paintings, new imaging technologies for art and studies of the materials and techniques of Cezanne, Pissarro, Miro, Pollock and de Kooning. Co-editor with Maryan Ainsworth of summer 1996 Art Journal on Conservation and Art History.



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