Time Will Tell: Ethics and Choices in Conservation
Friday, May 22, 2009–Sunday, September 6, 2009
This exhibition offers a rare opportunity to explore the process of fine arts conservation, uncovering the relationship between curators and conservators and the objects entrusted to their care. Each of the works in the exhibition, which includes Asian ceramics, African ritual objects, ancient statues and mosaics, and American and European paintings and decorative arts from the Yale University Art Gallery’s collection, illustrates a different conservation dilemma. What does cleaning a painting’s surface reveal? Should fragmented objects be displayed as pieces or reassembled into a convincing pastiche? Should damaged objects be repaired for aesthetic reasons? The passage of time impacts not only the physical state of an object but also the techniques used to preserve it. Time Will Tell examines the evolving science of conservation and the questions that arise in preserving works of art while staying faithful to the artists’ intentions.
Exhibition organized by Ian McClure, the Susan Morse Hilles Chief Conservator; Laurence Kanter, the Lionel Goldfrank III Curator of Early European Art; and Lisa R. Brody, Associate Curator of Ancient Art. Made possible by the Robert Lehman Endowment Fund.