Nagy opened her presentation with examples from her extensive experience in treating Donald Judd’s sculptures, sharing her deep knowledge in specific qualities of the artist’s materials and fabrication details. She noted that Judd held a standard for the “highest quality” which is not the same as perfection – a quality we often project on his work. The notion of perfection in the 1960s/70s is different from what can be achieved today, given that fabrication methods are much more precise. Nagy also presented the treatment of Ice Bag-Scale C, a kinetic sculpture by Claes Oldenburg in the Whitney collection, which provided a good case study for exploring fine line between replacing elements in an art work vs. deeming the entire work a replica. This project also exemplified the new role of the conservator of contemporary art as facilitator and master documenter, and the importance of maintaining a network of specialists as dictated by the needs of complex works of contemporary art.
(Text: Michelle Barger)
Sculpture Conservator, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
After several internships and contract works in Europe, sculpture conservator positions at the Furniture and Decorative Arts Conservation Department of the CCI and at the Guggenheim Museum New York. Since 2005 sole proprietor for Modern Sculpture Conservation LLC. Additionally since 2011 sculpture conservator at the Whitney Museum, New York. Numerous publications and presentations on Donald Judd, Claes Oldenburg, Alexander Calder and Paul Thek and on conservation methods for Modern and Contemporary Art with Kress, Getty and NEA grant supports.
Symposium at the Hamburger Kunsthalle
6-8 December, 2013
© Verband der Restauratoren (VDR) e.V. / Hamburger Kunsthalle
Recording: Jonny Rechlin
Editing: Tobias Boner