Tate has been awarded $1.5m to develop new models for the conservation and management of recent and contemporary works of art.
The grant from The Andrew W Mellon Foundation is the largest single grant ever made to Tate. It is for a three-and-a-half-year period from January 2018. The foundation is a US-based non-profit that provides grants to support work in the arts and humanities.
The initiative, Reshaping the Collectible – When Artworks Live in the Museum, builds on Tate’s previous research and expertise in conservation. It will contribute to theory and practice in collection care, curation and museum management.
The project will focus on recent and contemporary artworks which challenge the structures of the museum – such as time-based media, performative, live and digital art.
Maria Balshaw, director of Tate, said: “Tate was the first museum to collect live and performance art and the first to recognise the need to develop time-based media conservation. The ways in which artists are working today mean we must deepen our expertise and look at how museums need to change.
“Thanks to support from the Mellon Foundation, this initiative will transform the way we meet the challenges at the forefront of artistic practice today. It will bring together pioneering practitioners and thinkers to reshape capacity to respond flexibly and with dynamism.”
The research will be grounded in six case studies drawn from works which unfold over time and exist in multiple forms. The research team will work in partnership with a range of senior academics from around the world.
The project will be led by Professor Pip Laurenson, head of collection care research, with the assistance of Tate’s collection care division.
Professor Laurenson said: “At the heart of this initiative is a desire to open up the museum and provide a generous invitation to our public, making visible the invisible lives of these artworks as they unfold within, and in dialogue with, the museum.”
Tate is a network of four museums that house the UK’s national collection of British art, as well as international modern and contemporary art. It is made up of the Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives and Tate Modern.
Image: c. Tate.