'The grant, which the museum will need to match two-to-one (raising an additional $6 million), endows the position of deputy director and chief conservator, held since 2007 by Carol Stringari, and a new position, director of engagement, conservation and collections.' ...
'Stringari expressed her gratitude in a phone conversation. “We are so honored and excited about the grant,” she said. “It’s an extraordinary endorsement of the interdisciplinary work we’ve been doing for the past several years and hope to do in the future. Conservation has come a long way in terms of its ability to reach out to the public and let them know what it means to preserve cultural heritage. It’s no longer a field where the work stays in a lab, especially at our institution.”'
I had the pleasure of meeting Carol Stringari during a conservators tour of the Guggenheim's Alberto Burri exhibition. She discussed the research efforts that went behind the paintings. While most of Burri's work had been well documented, the aging process of the modern materials and techniques Burri used needed to be followed very closely with meticulous research. Not many artists of the time worked destruction of materials into the work. Burri used new, for the time, synthetic adhesives and coatings to seal and protect his torn burlap canvases. He would also use thick coats of PVA to varnish his paintings. As time passed, this technique has very slightly yellowed and in some cases has become cloudy. After researching, it was the opinion of the conservators that this was an intentional element of the works life. The Guggenheim's conservation department is an integral part in the continuing documentation of artist's materials.
While the grant shows well deserved recognition of a world class art conservation department, I am concerned about the amount of attention needed to continue conservation research effort being over-shadowed by the necessity to fund-raise in order to keep the endowment for the future.