New York University: NYU’s IFA Conservation Center Receives $1M Grant from Mellon Foundation in Support of Time-Based Media Art Conservation Education

The Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, has ben awarded a $1 million grant from the Mellon Foundation for the four-year project Actualization of Time-based Media Art Conservation Education and Training. This project will strengthen its already advanced program in this unique specialization, the only one of its kind in the U.S. The grant will support graduate student fellowships in time-based art conservation, summer internships for students to work at museums locally and globally, researchers and faculty to teach and supervise student progress, public lectures promoting the field, and workshops for mid-career professionals.

Established in 2016 with a development grant from the Mellon Foundation, the Conservation Center’s curriculum in time-based media art conservation was designed to address the changing field of contemporary art conservation, as artists increasingly use unconventional components, including sound, performance, light, or movement that unfold over time via slide, film video, software, or the internet. Preserving these works presents particular challenges given their conceptual nature and use of components that extend well beyond traditional art materials.

The curriculum implementation began with a second award from the Mellon Foundation when the first cohort of students enrolled in September 2018. Now entering its fourth year, the TBM curriculum has exceeded expectations vis-a-vis interest and participation. The symposium Reflections and Projections: Time-based Media Art Conservation Education and Outreach will conclude this grant on June 30-July 1, 2022, by presenting teaching concepts developed by instructors, as well as student perspectives. It is hoped it will inspire other educators embarking on similar initiatives.

Professor Michele D. Marincola, Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of Conservation and Chair of the Conservation Center, is principal investigator on the new award, which allows for the expansion of TBM activities. She remarked that “this unique and timely specialization has attracted wide audiences and will diversify our student cohorts. It is an honor to receive the Mellon Foundation’s award, which recognizes our efforts in preparing conservators to address the challenges posed by these complex artworks.”

Professor Christine Poggi, July and Michael Steinhardt Director of the Institute of Fine Arts, observed, “We are grateful to the Mellon Foundation for facilitating the development and implementation of this curricular specialization. We look forward to actualizing our objectives with this and seeing the program flourish.”