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Tate presents online conference Reshaping the Collectible: Learning Through Change

September 14–16, 2022

On September 14, 15, and 16, 2022, Tate will host an online conference titled Reshaping the Collectible: Learning Through Change. Artists, collection managers, conservators, curators, and representatives from various academic disciplines will all be represented at this international conference, which will bring together voices from both inside and outside the museum. The conference offers a chance to exchange research, consider an ongoing conversation, and consider fresh issues and viewpoints.

Tate received a sizable grant from the Mellon Foundation in January 2018 for a research project titled Reshaping the Collectible: When Artworks Live in the Museum. In response to the conservation and management of recent and contemporary works of art, particularly time-based media, performative, live, and digital art, this effort was an invitation to reconsider practice. The study concentrated on artworks that have complex social or technological dependencies, that question the distinctions between the artwork, archive, and record, and that develop through time. The conference in September is the capstone of this initiative and is intended to study and consider how museum practice is changing in a world that is changing very quickly.

The research is organised 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 collaborated with a variety of practitioners and senior academics who have contributed to the project from many critical thought domains.

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”

The conference is made possible thanks to a grant from the Mellon Foundation.

The conference, free and open to all, will be delivered online on September 14, 15 and 16,  2022.

The conference finishes with a performance by Guillermo Gómez-Peña: An Open Letter to the Museums of the Future
Followed by guided workshop on writing your own letter to the museums of the future

Session 3, September 16, 2:30–5pm
Introduced by:
Michael Wellen, Senior Curator, International Art, Tate

Guillermo Gómez-Pena is an insider/outsider interdisciplinary artist who rewrites and re-stages what is commonly referred to as “Western art history” while exposing the colonial legacy of the systematic exclusion, demonization, and fetishization of women and BIPOC. This performance speech (and now ongoing project) calls for an honest dialogue and response regarding drastic internal restructuring(s) and questions modern art museum procedures.

“I invite you, dear foreigner in my performance country, to dream with me and send me your own letters imagining a better art world or rather a myriad of art worlds, coexisting in synergy with nature, radical imagination and community – your surrounding multiple communities. Do you have ideas to propose for a museum of the future?” —Guillermo Gómez-Peña