The Guggenheim Gets $750,000 to Help Answer Knotty, Existential Questions About the Nature of Conceptual Art
After years spent carefully studying and researching a prized blue-chip collection of postwar art acquired from a private collector, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is getting ready to share its findings with the rest of the world.
The museum has embarked on the third and final phase of a years-long collaboration with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that the New York Times has described as “one of the most ambitious conservation projects ever to address the deep uncertainties raised by Minimalism and Conceptualism.” The endeavor marks the first time the field has sought to reach consensus on how to display and preserve artwork that might otherwise exist only as a diagram or an idea.
Now, the Mellon Foundation is awarding the project a hefty grant of $750,000 (following the first two phases, which were funded by awards of $1.25 million and $1.23 million, respectively). The so-called Panza Collection Initiative has been quietly chugging along since 2010 and centers on the study of the most perplexing, fragile, and intellectually confounding works the museum purchased in the early ’90s from controversial Italian collector Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo. (At the time, the Guggenheim made headlines for selling off works by Modigliani and Kandinsky to fund the purchase.)
As part of the initiative’s third phase, the museum will publish an archive of all its research and interviews online and convene a symposium next spring in partnership with the Los Angeles-based Getty Conservation Institute. The Guggenheim also plans to publish a book of its research and conservation findings in 2020.
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