Artist Archives Project, New York University

Over the course of two years (2015 – 2017), faculty, staff, and graduate students at NYU will undertake a pilot project to develop a model for creating digital archives relating to exhibiting and conserving contemporary art.

Past Projects

Electronic Sculptures Need the Human Touch

Studio 360 Radio Program Interview with Glenn Wharton & CT Lui. Nam June Paik was one of the first artists to engage seriously with electronic technology as both a subject and a creative medium, and he’s considered the father of new media art.

Conserving a Nam June Paik Altered Piano

In 1993 MoMA acquired a piano modified with a floppy-disc drive player unit. In the gallery it plays jazz show tunes really loud. The piano also has 15 cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors stacked on it. Some of them play two bright colorized videos with images of John Cage and Merce Cunningham. And that’s not all. The other monitors stream live-feed images of the moving piano keys and hammers from two security cameras that are mounted on the piano. The keys are lit with a spotlight on a tripod. Black cables from the monitors hang haphazardly down the sides of the piano connecting some to laserdisc decks that play the two videos, and others to video feed from the security cameras.

Conserving a Nam June Paik Altered Piano, Part Two

After exhaustive research prior to conserving Untitled (Piano), it was time for reflection. MoMA curators and conservators discussed the difficult decisions ahead. We knew that Nam June Paik playfully changed his works with each installation, and often incorporated new audio and video technologies into his older video sculptures. Should we continue this tradition, or freeze the existing technologies at the moment of his death?