About SITAH

2014 Summer Institute in Technical Art History For Doctoral Students in Art History

The Summer Institute in Technical Art History (SITAH) is an intensive two-week course, geared towards PhD candidates in art history who are looking to delve more deeply into technical studies.  Students are immersed into the world of technical art history and conservation of works of art, with faculty ranging from conservators to conservation scientists, curators, art historians, and artists.  The course takes full advantage of the wonderful resources of New York City, and many sessions are held in local conservation labs, where attendees have the opportunity to closely examine works of art with experts in the field.  Off-site visits also include artists’ studios, museum permanent collections, and, where relevant, special exhibitions and galleries.  A priority is placed on case studies and discussions, and students are encouraged to build relationships within the group, in the hopes of enriching their own research.

Course Topic

The Artist’s Book: Materials and Processes
June 9-20, 2014

A good understanding of material aspects of works of art is becoming increasingly important to art historical studies. The Artist’s Book is a two-week, intensive seminar that examines how technical art history might simultaneously clarify and complicate established art historical narratives of this important art form. The program will focus on works from the modern era, and will consider a variety of different formats. These might include: traditional letterpress printed books, deconstructed texts and book blocks, artists’ photo books, and other unique works. Bound volumes, as well as forms like scrolls, fold-outs, concertinas, loose leaves kept in boxes, and e-books may all be examined.  This topic will allow us to explore the intersections of book construction, photography, printmaking, and graphic design within the context of literature, both experimental and traditional.

Under the direction of Professors Constance Woo (Long Island University) and Michele Marincola (Institute of Fine Arts, New York University), participants will study with distinguished conservators, book artists, scholars and master craftspeople.  We will consider specific artworks as case studies, examine materiality and process through close looking and recreation of techniques and processes, and create a book in the studio. Participants will ascertain how these methodologies materially and theoretically inform their own diverse research interests.  This seminar will provide a forum to develop critical skills in the interpretation of object-based analyses related to the scholarship of artist’s books.

Generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the seminar will be held at the Institute of  Fine  Art’s Conservation  Center,  with  selected  sessions  at  area libraries, artist  studios  and  in  the conservation labs of New York City’s leading museums.

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