Panel discussion on Paik at the MoMA (February 16, 2007)

contributor(s) Ulrich Lang (conservator ); Rudolf Frieling (curator ); Jochen Saueracker (artist’s assistant ); Gwynne Ryan (conservator ); Glenn Wharton (conservation researcher ); Barbara London (curator );

The International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art - North America (INCCA-NA), together with the Museum of Modern Art and the American Institute of Conservation organised a panel discussion on the conservation of Paik's time-based media work titled: ' Preserving Nam June Paik's Video Installations: the Importance of the Artist's Voice.' The discussion was kindly hosted by the Museum of Modern Art, New York and took place in conjunction with the College Art Association's (CAA) 2007 annual meeting. Nam June Paik (1932 - 2006) was a South Korean-born American artist internationally recognised as a pioneer of video art and known for his active participation with curators in re-installing and technically upgrading his works. His recent death has had a major impact on how his works will be viewed and installed in the future. This panel explored what happens when there is an absence of the artist's voice and addressed two primary concerns: the loss of visual components as certain technologies become obsolete, and the loss of conceptual components when there is no definitive roadmap of the artist's intent to guide future curators. The event featured presentations by a conservator, curator, and artist who have been closely involved with Paik's work with the goal of examining best practices for documenting and archiving time-based media. The featured panelists brought a combined expertise and insight into Paik's working method to provide a unique opportunity to closely examine the roles an artist plays in the long-term preservation of their work and the options available to contemporary conservators. Presenters and their topics were: Rudolf Frieling, Curator of Media Arts at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, presented research in video art conservation through the project 40yearsvideoart: Digital Heritage as it relates to the work of Nam June Paik. Ulrich Lang, Chief Conservator at the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt, Germany and Jochen Saueracker, Nam June Paik's assistant of twenty years, discussed their case study of Paik's One Candle from the Inside Installations project. The panel was moderated by Gwynne Ryan, Objects Conservator at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, with Barbara London, Associate Curator of MoMA's Media department, and Glenn Wharton, Research Scholar at the New York University Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, acting as discussants.

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