Caroline Villers Research Fellowship

Masking Tape: From Innovators to Early Adopters and Majority Groups

Thursday, 9 May 2013

18.00, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

painting of rectangle almost split into two triangles, one white, one black
Gardar Eide Einarsson, detail of Arrow Painting, 2011, acrylic on canvas

Speaker(s): Dr Pia Gottschaller (Caroline Villers Research Fellow 2012-13, The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Professor Aviva Burnstock

The presentation of initial findings of research into the history of the use of tape in modern and contemporary painting includes a discussion of the material history of tape manufacture as well as the technical implications of different kinds of pressure sensitive tape. Examples of works by members of the American Abstract Artists group, including Harry Holtzman and Charles Shaw, and by Latin American Concrete artists are juxtaposed with tape experiments by Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman to explore questions of cause and effect: why did these artists choose to work with tape in some cases but not in others, how did these choices guide their process, and how do the results influence our interpretation of geometric abstraction? Can psychophysical experiments help us establish whether the ability to distinguish clearly between various qualities of line is innate or learned? A final focus on contemporary practitioners such as Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Mel Bochner, Magnus Plessen and Bernard Frize explores how these artists developed this painting method in innovative ways.

Pia Gottschaller took a BA in art history at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and trained at The Courtauld Institute of Art to become a painting conservator (Dip 1997), then worked at the Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, and at the Menil Collection, Houston. She received her Ph.D. in 2003 from Technische Universität München for a thesis on the painting technique of Blinky Palermo. Subsequently, she held the position of Associate Conservator at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte in Rome, and Assistant Fine Arts Director at the German Academy Villa Massimo, Rome. Other work experience includes freelance curatorial work for museums and private collections. Her research interests focus on issues of technical art history, in particular with regard to postwar and contemporary European and American artistic practices. Among her publications are monographs on Blinky Palermo and Lucio Fontana, as well as essays on Max Beckmann, Mark Rothko, Donald Judd, David Reed, Italian postwar artists, Minimalism and developments in contemporary art conservation.

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