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Stringari and McGlinchey receive 2009
College Art Association/Heritage Preservation Award for work on Ad Reinhardt

A research project and exhibition that explored and explained to the public advanced issues in modern art conservation has been awarded the 2009 College Art Association/Heritage Preservation Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation. Carol Stringari, Chief Conservator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Chris McGlinchey, Sally and Michael Gordon Conservation Scientist at the Museum of Modern Art, have received the award in recognition of their work on the exhibition Imageless: The Scientific Study and Experimental Treatment of an Ad Reinhardt Black Painting, and for the research project that led to the exhibition.

The project came about when the insurance company AXA Art offered to donate Reinhardt’s Black Painting (1960-66), which had been deemed a total loss because of damage during exhibition-related travel, to the Guggenheim Museum. Funded by a research grant from AXA, Carol Stringari led a seven-year research effort whose goal was not the restoration of the painting but rather the kind of aggressive examination and experimental treatment that is only possible with a work that most likely cannot be salvaged.

The research and exhibit have received national media attention in such publications as the New York Times and in ARTINFO.com.

The piece in the Times by Holland Cotter highlighted the unique circumstances that allowed the combination of AXA’s gift and the awardees’ dedicated efforts to be so effective: “It is in this area [attempting to do no harm when working to conserve artworks] that the AXA donation, which was accompanied by a conservation study grant, has been especially valuable. It meant that advanced but still tentative technologies could be applied to a “real” Reinhardt without the usual inhibiting precautions.”

The College Art Association/Heritage Preservation Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation recognizes outstanding contributions to the understanding of art through the application of knowledge and experience in conservation, art history, and art. Heritage Preservation is proud to co-sponsor this award, and applauds Carol Stingari, Chris McGlinchey and the team at the Guggenheim for their valuable contributions to the field.

Previous winners have included Elizabeth Bolman in 2008 for her work on the conservation of the wall paintings in the Red Monastery and in 2007 Lawrence Becker and Christine Kondoleon for their publication The Arts of Antioch: Art Historical and Scientific Approaches to Roman Mosaics and a Catalog of the Worcester Art Museum Antioch Collection.

Guidelines for nominations for the 2010 award can be found at www.collegeart.org/awards/info-heritage.html or by contacting Emmanuel Lemakis of CAA atelemakis@collegeart.org.