Tate will host an online conference, “Reshaping the Collectible: Learning Through Change”, on September 14, 15 and 16, 2022. This international conference will bring together different voices from within and outside the museum, including artists, collection managers, conservators and curators and from different fields within academia. The conference provides an opportunity to share research and reflect on an ongoing dialogue, exploring new questions and perspectives.
In January 2018 Tate was awarded a major grant from the Mellon Foundation for a programme of research named Reshaping the Collectible: When Artworks Live in the Museum. This initiative was an invitation to think anew about practice in response to the conservation and management of recent and contemporary works of art, in particular time-based media, performative, live and digital art. The research focused on works that unfold over time, that question the boundaries between the artwork, archive and record, and that have complex social or technological dependencies. The conference this September is the culmination of this project, designed to explore and consider the shifting landscape of museum practice in a rapidly changing world.
The research is organized around six in-depth studies; three monographic, focused on the work of Tony Conrad, Richard Bell and Ima Abasi Okon, and three thematic, focused on “Remaking, Remastering and Reproducing”, “When Archives and Records Live in the Museum” and the “Lives of Net Art.” The works span different places, communities and historical moments, from the 1970s to now, as they evolve. Over the course of the project, they have shaped understanding of change, persistence, memory, visibility, agency in the present and visions of the future.
The research team has worked in collaboration with a range of practitioners and senior academics who have brought different fields of critical thought to the project. The conference will explore: artworks that generate archives, the relationship between memory and the future, “radical hospitality” and love, replication and the carbon impact of exhibition copies, changing museum practice, what is at stake in making conservation and collection management practices more visible, what it means to “learn an artwork”.