Mellon Grant also Enables Creation of New Role, Director of Conservation Engagement
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum announced today a newly endowed leadership position within art conservation. Lena Stringari, who has served at the Guggenheim since 1992, has been named Deputy Director and Andrew W. Mellon Chief Conservator. The position is endowed as part of the fulfillment of a three-year, $3 million challenge grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, awarded in 2016 and then matched two-to-one to raise a total of $9 million to advance the ongoing work of the museum’s Conservation Department.
As the Deputy Director and Andrew W. Mellon Chief Conservator, Lena Stringari is responsible for the care and treatment of the collection, creation of policy and procedures for collections management, oversight of new conservation construction, participation in strategic planning, and direction of the Guggenheim’s conservation-focused programs, including the Panza Collection Initiative and the Conservation of Computer-Based Art Initiative. Stringari has organized several Guggenheim exhibitions, including Jackson Pollock: Exploring “Alchemy” (2017) and Imageless: The Scientific Study and Experimental Treatment of an Ad Reinhardt Black Painting (2008). She also has conducted and published research and preservation studies for Moholy-Nagy: Future Present (2016), Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting (2015–16), and other exhibitions. Recent writings include an essay and entries for the catalogue Thannhauser Collection: French Modernism at the Guggenheim and an essay on Amedeo Modigliani for the Burlington Magazine. Stringari is a founding member of the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art, a member of the International Institute for Conservation and the American Institute for Conservation, and an adjunct professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.
Under the direction of Stringari, the Conservation Department—comprised of conservators, fellows, and interns who specialize in paintings, works on paper, time-based media, and objects of the late nineteenth century to the present—plays an integral role in the research, preservation, and presentation of the Guggenheim’s collection. The conservation team works closely with colleagues at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, as well as with other arts professionals worldwide. They enable research and scholarship and train the next generation of conservators. In an effort to stimulate and contribute to the ongoing dialogue with contemporary artists, writers, architects, curators, and scientists, Stringari and the Guggenheim conservation staff continue to publish, educate, participate in and host symposia, and lecture at conferences and forums around the world. The Mellon grant enables the museum to continue to serve as a global leader in art conservation and to develop educational programs to convey information and best practices related to material culture and the preservation of collections.
The grant also supports the creation of another new position at the Guggenheim, Director of Conservation Engagement. The appointee to this new role will cultivate public awareness of conservation practices by working across departments at the museum to produce educational programming, experiential activities, and digital content that aim to promote the importance of preserving cultural heritage. By making art conservation and conservation science more visible through accessible and active outreach, this position will reinforce the Guggenheim’s efforts to more deeply engage audiences in matters related to long-term collections care and its philosophical framework.