I am an art conservator and a professor, specializing in conservation and the study of modern and contemporary art collections. In the Museum Studies Program at New York University, I teach seminars on the conservation of museum collections and the museum life of contemporary art. These courses allow me to work with graduate students across the university to analyze social, legal, and material dynamics of acquiring and managing contemporary art. We engage in contemporary debates around intellectual property and copyright, the notion of authorship, and various conceptual frameworks such as object biographies, intentionality, and authenticity. We often conduct student-led interviews of artists in New York collections.

Glenn Wharton

From 2007-2013, I served as Time-Based Media Conservator at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), where I cared for the video, performance, and electronic collections. My major projects at MoMA were to document media works for future exhibition and conservation, re-format them to keep them operable on new technologies, and organize a repository for the digital collections. This frequently involved interviewing the artists to learn about their technical production and how they want their work conserved and displayed. With colleagues from MoMA, Tate, San Francisco Museum of Art, and New Art Trust, I served on the Matters in Media Art project to establish guidelines for best practice in managing time-based media.

In 2008 I established a 501(c)-3 non-profit corporation, the Voices in Contemporary Art (VoCA). I served as founding executive director, and was later invited onto the board when we hired a paid director.

My recent publications address the concerns of documenting and managing contemporary art in museums. I published a book in 2012 with the University of Hawai’i Press, titled The Painted King: Art, Authenticity, and Activism in Hawai’i.  In this book I present a case for doing cultural work through conservation, using the community-based conservation of a sculpture of King Kamehameha I as a case study.