SAN DIEGO, CA.-
Over 4,000 artworks held by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
will be preserved for future generations with help from the IMLS Connecting to Collections Bookshelf, a core set of conservation books and online resources donated by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). IMLS has now awarded almost 3,000 free sets of the IMLS Bookshelf, in cooperation with the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH).
Dr. Hugh M. Davies, The David C. Copley Director at MCASD, stated, "As a museum of contemporary art, MCASD faces the complicated and unusual conservation problems associated with modern materials. Artists in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s were experimenting with a varied palette of art materials -- from Plexiglas and automotive paint to unusual organic materials, unusual surfaces, and other issues such as electronics incorporated into artworks. We are constantly seeking advice and counsel on how best to care for works. The IMLS Connecting to Collections Bookshelf will be enormously helpful as a permanent resource for our staff to use as we continually address our collections' care as well as collections management and planning, emergency preparedness, and conservation issues related to the works in our collection."
MCASD's collection of 4,100 works includes paintings, sculpture, prints and drawings, video, and mixed-media works including installation and site-specific art, areas in which MCASD pioneered. There are also works of Modern furniture as well as artists' books and other print material. While the collecting purview extends to 1950, the strengths of the collection lie primarily in the period from the 1960s forward. It includes outstanding examples by such artists as Roy Lichtenstein, Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly, Andy Warhol, John Baldessari, Robert Irwin, and Edward Ruscha (often acquired when they were young and unknown) as well as many younger artists of subsequent generations who, in the future, may well be remembered as the equivalent icons of their own time.
"When IMLS launched this initiative to improve the dire state of our nation's collections, we understood that the materials gathered for the Bookshelf would serve as important tools for museums, libraries, and archives nationwide," said Anne-Imelda Radice, Director of IMLS. "We were both pleased and encouraged by the overwhelming interest of institutions prepared to answer the call to action, and we know that with their dedication, artifacts from our shared history will be preserved for future generations."
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will receive this essential set of resources based on an application describing the needs and plans for the care of its collections. The IMLS Bookshelf focuses on collections typically found in art or history museums and in libraries' special collections, with an added selection of texts for zoos, aquaria, public gardens, and nature centers. It addresses such topics as the philosophy and ethics of collecting, collections management and planning, emergency preparedness, and culturally specific conservation issues.
The IMLS Bookshelf is a crucial component of Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action, a conservation initiative that the Institute launched in 2006. IMLS began the initiative in response to a 2005 study it released in partnership with Heritage Preservation, A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America's Collections. The multi-faceted, multi-year initiative shines a nationwide spotlight on the needs of America's collections, especially those held by smaller institutions, which often lack the human and financial resources necessary to adequately care for their collections.