Conserving Contemporary Art.
Issues, Methods, Materials, and Research.
By Oscar Chiantore and Antonio Rava.
The Getty Museum, 2013. 332 pp., 180 color and 37 black & white illustrations, 6½x9½".
Since the advent of the avant-garde in the early twentieth century, visual artists have adopted new techniques and materials, some of whose characteristics of aging and wear are still largely unknown today. The conservator's intervention has become increasingly delicate, problematic, and experimental and requires not only technical knowledge of these materials but also a greater awareness of an artist's intellectual universe. Translated from Italian to reach a wider audience, Conserving Contemporary Art: Issues, Methods, Materials, and Research is one of the first books to give a comprehensive overview of the many considerations faced by the conservator of modern and contemporary art.
The book takes into account both the material and ethical aspects of contemporary art, focusing on the enormous variety of techniques and materials used by contemporary artists, as well as on their deterioration. It also emphasizes the need to understand the meaning of these works when devising an appropriate conservation strategy. A number of chapters are dedicated to specific conservation treatments, such as cleaning and reintegration, while the many issues introduced are illustrated with examples from painting, photography, sculpture, installation art, video, and web-based art.
Oscar Chiantore is a professor of chemistry and polymer technology at the University of Turin. Antonio Rava is a conservator, also based in Turin, where he has headed the conservation firm Rava & C. for over thirty years.