Controversial Art Conservation and Restoration: A Three Part Course with Dr. Alison Bracker

Controversial Art Conservation and Restoration: A Three Part Course with Dr. Alison Bracker


Regular price $105.00 Save $-105.00
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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

Conservators act on behalf of present and future audiences. Whether conserving objects, buildings, or heritage sites, they strive to convey materials, meanings, and cultural values across time. However, these elements change and remain open to interpretation, and societies diversify as generations pass. Therefore, conservators continually wrestle with the questions, "For whom are we carrying out conservation? How are we conserving? And, what exactly are we preserving?" 

This course delves into these questions by exploring conservation via notable predicaments and solutions. Among other case studies, we'll consider Oslo's contentious decision to remove a Picasso mural from a government building, a site-specific installation in an English river that "failed," and whether we can still refer to a damaged Joseph Beuys "Felt Suit" as an art object. You'll learn the differences between conservation and restoration, why site-specific and art conservation often spark controversy, and why defining the work of art is the most critical aspect of contemporary art conservation. 

Led by Dr. Alison Bracker, an art historian specializing in ethics and theories of contemporary art conservation, this course considers conservation decision-making. Designed to inform curiosity and future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding and appreciation of cultural heritage preservation. 

Lecture One: “Understanding Conservation"
This session introduces conservation and restoration, their differences, and their fundamental principles. We'll discuss how sculptor Antonio Canova influenced those principles, conservation's role in assigning and perpetuating cultural value, and the debate some notable restorations have provoked.

Lecture Two: “Contemporary Art: Concept vs. Material”

One of the most pressing questions in contemporary art conservation is whether to preserve an art object’s concept at the expense of its materiality, or its materials, even if doing so undermines its underlying concept. Another seeks to determine the lifespan of impermanent works of art and define their mortality. This session devotes itself to the query, "What, exactly, is the art object?"

Lecture Three: "Site-specific and Public Art”
Site-specific artworks engage with the physical features and meanings of the environments in which they sit. But what happens if that environment proves inhospitable to the work of art? What elements threaten art’s preservation? And, why must conservators reckon with the public’s reactions to such art? We'll grapple with these issues through relevant case studies.

Dr. Alison Bracker is an independent art historian specializing in the conservation of unusual materials in contemporary art. She co-edited Conservation: Principles, Dilemmas, and Uncomfortable Truths (Elsevier, 2009), praised as "one of the most significant books in the field of heritage conservation." Additionally, she has interviewed over 100 artists, curators, museum directors, and conservators about the ethics and issues arising from contemporary art conservation. Dr. Bracker also lectures and publishes on modern and contemporary artists more broadly, including Hugo Wilson, Lenz Geerk, Ai Weiwei, Anselm Kiefer, Édouard Manet, and David Hockney. Having spent her childhood in Los Angeles, she lived and worked in England for 25 years before settling in Nice, France.

How does it work?
This is a three-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture. 

When will I receive the Zoom link?
Your link to enter the Zoom room will be the same for all ten sessions. It will be sent to the email address used to place your order 30 minutes prior to each lecture's start time.

Is there a reading list in advance?
Though the course is open to participants with no background on this topic, there are suggested readings for further investigation. These will be provided at the course's conclusion.

How long are the lectures?
Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.

How much is the course?
The course is $105 USD for three lectures.

Is a recording available?
Yes. All registered participants will be sent a recording link within 48 hours of each session's conclusion.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
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(3)
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E
E.F. (Toronto, CA)
An outstanding series

It was a privilege to hear Dr. Bracker's lectures. I have listened to many Context lectures since the beginning of the pandemic and enjoyed them all. But, this series was far and away the best thanks to Dr. Bracker's expertise, her preparation, her thoughtfulness and her insights. Thank you so much, Dr. Bracker. And, thank you Context for providing us with access to Dr. Bracker. She let us know at the conclusion of the series that she was considering continuing her relationship with Context. I do hope that she does and can assure you that we will be joining whatever lectures she might give.

C
C.F. (Laguna Niguel, US)
Saving Art

If you're thinking the topic of art restoration is limited to cotton balls and water to spruce up the Sistine Chapel Ceiling, think again. This is a most intensive course, taught by the masterful and eloquent Dr. Alison Bracker, in which she shows the intersection of sociology, art, science, and ethics--not to mention time and space. Her presentation is nonpareil, clearly and compellingly told, with space at the end of each session for questions. Very often, instructors with Context, expert as they are, tend to cram with too many slides, cover too much territory, leaving no room for important elucidation and questions by viewers. Dr. Bracker is poised, telling the stories of contested works of art, such as the Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond, Virginia. You feel that you're watching a great mystery unfold. The course is a gem, a must-see for anyone interested in how art is preserved. I'm only sorry the course was a mere three weeks long. If you have a chance to take a seminar from Dr. Bracker, hesitate not one second! Sign up!

C
C.F. (Laguna Niguel, US)
Natural Light

Dr. Bracker is a gifted lecturer about a vast subject that has immediacy in today's world--who decides what to save, to eliminate, to change in works of art the world over. She speaks with authority, in a clear voice, and presents slides and case studies of many works of art, from 14th Century Tibetan Buddhas, to Michelangelo's Sistine ceiling to 20th Century Beuys' Room 1. And for whom is art preserved? The artist or viewer? Current times or future generations? Her style is lucid, graceful, all-consuming. Three parts are not enough. Do take this course if you value art. Dr. Bracker is an LED bulb that will illuminate you on the subject of art preservation.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
100%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
E
E.F. (Toronto, CA)
An outstanding series

It was a privilege to hear Dr. Bracker's lectures. I have listened to many Context lectures since the beginning of the pandemic and enjoyed them all. But, this series was far and away the best thanks to Dr. Bracker's expertise, her preparation, her thoughtfulness and her insights. Thank you so much, Dr. Bracker. And, thank you Context for providing us with access to Dr. Bracker. She let us know at the conclusion of the series that she was considering continuing her relationship with Context. I do hope that she does and can assure you that we will be joining whatever lectures she might give.

C
C.F. (Laguna Niguel, US)
Saving Art

If you're thinking the topic of art restoration is limited to cotton balls and water to spruce up the Sistine Chapel Ceiling, think again. This is a most intensive course, taught by the masterful and eloquent Dr. Alison Bracker, in which she shows the intersection of sociology, art, science, and ethics--not to mention time and space. Her presentation is nonpareil, clearly and compellingly told, with space at the end of each session for questions. Very often, instructors with Context, expert as they are, tend to cram with too many slides, cover too much territory, leaving no room for important elucidation and questions by viewers. Dr. Bracker is poised, telling the stories of contested works of art, such as the Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond, Virginia. You feel that you're watching a great mystery unfold. The course is a gem, a must-see for anyone interested in how art is preserved. I'm only sorry the course was a mere three weeks long. If you have a chance to take a seminar from Dr. Bracker, hesitate not one second! Sign up!

C
C.F. (Laguna Niguel, US)
Natural Light

Dr. Bracker is a gifted lecturer about a vast subject that has immediacy in today's world--who decides what to save, to eliminate, to change in works of art the world over. She speaks with authority, in a clear voice, and presents slides and case studies of many works of art, from 14th Century Tibetan Buddhas, to Michelangelo's Sistine ceiling to 20th Century Beuys' Room 1. And for whom is art preserved? The artist or viewer? Current times or future generations? Her style is lucid, graceful, all-consuming. Three parts are not enough. Do take this course if you value art. Dr. Bracker is an LED bulb that will illuminate you on the subject of art preservation.