Internship Photographs & Preservation at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam


From May till the end of August 2014 I did an internship at the NWO-funded Science4Arts-project Photographs & Preservation. The project is a collaboration between the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the Art History department of the University of Leiden. Within the Science4Arts program, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded funding to the research project “Photographs and Preservation. How to save photographic artworks for the future?”.  The research is dedicated to understand and develop conservation strategies for contemporary photographic artworks. The works examined will mainly be post-1960s photographic works of art to which different materials such as paint, dyes, adhesive, paper, metal are deliberately applied onto the surface or are manufactured by unconventional means. The selected works of art will be studied from three different disciplines: art history, organic chemistry, and conservation and museum practices. The project started on 1 June 2012 and will run until June 2016, with an extension to 2017 for the concluding international conference.

At the start of the project, a small list of the so called photo works was made. My job was to make a complete overview of the photo works that are housed within the modern art collections of large Dutch museums. Which artists are involved? Within which collections and museums are they? What are their characteristics and what condition are they in?
During these months I visited several museums to research their collections and to make a complete inventory. The institutions I’ve visited were Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed, Museum de Pont, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Centraal Museum Utrecht & Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht. Next to this I’ve complemented the already existing inventory of the Stedelijk Museum, the Van Abbemuseum and the Kröller Müller Museum. Following up on my internship I will write a small text in which I will discuss my findings and conclusions of the inventory.

Image: Ger van Elk, Russian Diplomacy (1974), color photo on Perspex, overpainted with acrylic paint, collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

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