Collecting and Conserving Performance Art – Videos

The German Association of Conservator-Restorers (VDR) is delighted to announce that, following the succesful International Symposium „Collecting and Conserving Performance Art“, all presentations can now be viewed online. The Symposium […]

The German Association of Conservator-Restorers (VDR) is delighted to announce that, following the succesful International Symposium „Collecting and Conserving Performance Art“, all presentations can now be viewed online. The Symposium was held in June 9-11, 2016 in Wolfsburg and was organized by The German Association of Conservator-Restorers (VDR) & Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany.

Performer Sämi Moor

Over the last decade, art collections and museums around the world have seen a rapid increase in the acquisition of historic and contemporary performance art and its relics. This emerging collection practice challenges artists and collection caretakers alike: How can the time- and site-specific experience of an artist’s live performance be expanded and transformed into an artwork with a sustainable collection life? What status do performance props and documentary materials hold within a collection, and how is their status determined? How can the artwork’s identity and integrity be preserved and experienced now and in the future? What information and components should be entering the collection to ensure the authentic reactivation of the work? How are copyright laws, artist’s rights and future interpreter’s rights accounted for in the acquisition contract? What are the vulnerabilities inherent to a performance artwork? And how are preservation risks identified, documented and responded to?

The two-and-a-half day event approaches issues surrounding the acquisition of performance art by bringing together conservators, curators, art historians, artists, collectors, researchers, art educators and other professionals, who are involved in the production, distribution, collection, documentation and conservation of performance art. Perspectives on heritage development and documentation in adjacent disciplines, such as theater and dance, are invited to inform the discussion. Under investigation will be a variety of existing practices for bringing an artist’s live performance into a  collection, including the license to re-perform the work based on an artist-provided score; film and video recordings of historic or recent performance iterations; autonomous art installations; documentation created by former audiences, participants and producers; and performance props and other objects that represent the live event.

Day 1, June 9, 2016

Conference Opening and Reception

Live Performance “Swap” (2011) by Roman Ondak

Day 2, June 10, 2016


Dr. Ralf Beil
Director, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg
Andrea Sartorius
Conservator, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, and Chair, Specialty Group “Modern Art and Cultural Heritage”, German Association of Conservators-Restorers (Verband der Restauratoren, VDR)


Session 1: The Medium Performance

Moderator: Andrea Sartorius

Collecting as Artistic and Documentary Practice: Towards a Fluid Access to Artefacts of/in Performance

Dr. Barbara Büscher
Professor, Felix Mendelssohn School of Music, Department of Dramaturgy and Media, Leipzig
Dr. Franz Anton Cramer
Department of Studies in Music and Dance, Paris Lodron University Salzburg


Between Media. Connections between Performance and Installation Art and their Implications for the Conservation of Performances

Dr. Tiziana Caianiello
Art Historian, ZERO Foundation

Session 2:  Collecting Live Performance

Moderator: Ulrich Lang

Collecting Live Performance at the Guggenheim Museum

Joanna Phillips
Conservator, Time-based Media, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Lauren Hinkson
Assistant Curator, Collections, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Assembling the Body, Reactivating Presence: Collecting, Processing, and Conserving Performance at The Museum of Modern Art

Athena Christa Holbrook
Collection Specialist, Department of Media and Performance Art, The Museum of Modern Art


Panel Discussion: Collecting Live Performance

with artist Roman Ondak, performer Sämi Moor, Joanna Phillips, Lauren Hinkson, and Athena Christa Holbrook
Moderator: Ulrich Lang, Conservator, Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt

Session 3: Documenting Live Performance

Moderator: Esther Rapoport

Report from the Audience. An Analysis regarding the Documentation of Performance Art by means of multi-perspective Witness Reports

Bruna Casagrande
Conservator and Research Assistant, Berne University of Fine Arts, Switzerland


A Fly on the Wall or the Elephant in the Room: the Role of the Photographer in the Production and Viewing of Photographic Documentation from Performance Art Events

Dr. Dave Kemp
Photographer and Assistant Professor, School of Image Arts, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

Session 4: Archiving Performance Art

Moderator: Gunnar Heydenreich

Archiving Performance Art in Asia

David Smith
Head of Digital, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong

The Legalities of Authenticity and Performance Art

Jean E. Brown
Teaching Fellow, Northumbria University, UK
Charles Danby
Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Northumbria University, UK


Panel Discussion: Documenting and Archiving Performance Art

With Bruna Casagrande, Irene Müller, Dave Kemp, David Smith, Jean E. Brown and Charles Danby
Moderator: Dr. Gunnar Heydenreich, Professor for Conservation of Contemporary Art, Cologne University of Applied Sciences

Day 3, June 11, 2016

Session 5: Performance Relics

Moderator: Anna-Catharina Gebbers

From Action to Object. On the Preservation and Conservation of Performance Art Relics

Dr. Carolin Bohlmann
Conservator, Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin
Ina Hausmann
Freelance Conservator, Berlin
Eva Rieß
Conservator, Müller Rieß Welther Restoration, Berlin

The variable and changing Status of Performance Art Relics and Artifacts in Museum Collections

Louise Nicole Cone
Conservator of Contemporary Art and Sculpture, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark

Capturing Ephemerality: Documentation of Carolee Schneemann’s Performance Work

Rachel Rivenc
Conservation Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles
Anja Foerschner
Art historian, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles

Session 6: Reenactment and Reperformance

Moderator: Eva Rieß

Restoration of Experience. Analysis of the Reenactment of the Performance “Change. My Problem Is a Problem of a Woman”, by Ewa Partum, 1974

Elżbieta Wysocka
Conservator and Archivist, Filmotheka Narodowa, Warsaw

Between Authenticity and Context: Challenges of preserving and re-enacting Performance Artworks from Dictatorship and Revolutionary Periods

Hélia Marçal
PhD Fellow in Conservation and Restoration, Department of Conservation and Restoration, Faculty of Science and Technology, NOVA University of Lisbon, Portugal
Rita Macedo
Professor of Contemporary Art History and Documentation, Art History Institute, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, NOVA University of Lisbon, Portugal

Reperformance Strategies for the Reiteration of Tino Sehgal’s „This Is So Contemporary“

Jessye Wdowin McGregor
Artist and Conservator, Victorian College of the Arts, The University of Melbourne, Australia
Robert Lane
Research Fellow, Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation, The University of Melbourne, Australia

Panel Discussion: Managing Authenticity – Curatorial Strategies of Reenactment and Reperformance

Anna-Catharina Gebbers in conversation with Tiziana Caianiello, Barbara Büscher, Franz Anton Cramer and Irene Müller


Open Floor Discussion with the Audience

Moderator: Joanna Phillips