Our Artist Interview Workshop at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden

On April 20th we held our second Artist Interview Workshop at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. It was a fantastic turn out. Thank you to everyone who made it such a special event. We were overwhelmed by the cross-section of experience, the vibrant stories and shared concerns that emerged throughout the day. Participants had journeyed from all over the East Coast and Canada, from institutions including the Hirshhorn, Guggenheim, and Menil Collection as well as private practices and graduates from conservation programs. And their trips were rewarded; during the course of the day Susan Lake (Collections Manager & Chief Conservator, Hirshhorn) Gwynne Ryan (Sculpture Conservator, Hirshhorn) and Jill Sterrett (Director of Collections, SFMOMA) spoke about their own projects and how understanding artist interviews contributes to better practice. Held in the spectacular setting of the Hirshhorn’s Lerner Room overlooking the National Mall, principal instructor Richard Candida Smith (Professor of History, University of California) discussed approaches to interviewing and oral history, lessons to take away included the importance of interpersonal relationships with the interviewee as well as legal concerns of reproducing interview material. The group break-out sessions were a great example of the fruits of collaboration and practice. Thank you to Jesse Rigelhaupt (Assistant Professor of History & American Studies, UMW) who contributed to the day and guided participants on interview techniques and pitfalls. In the last two weeks we have received positive and constructive feedback, encouraging us further that the Artist Interview Project is an asset to conservators, collectors, educators and curators in the preservation of contemporary art. We are already in the throws of organizing the next workshop! Stay tuned.

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