Materiality in Japan: Making, Breaking and Conserving Works of Art and Architecture

A conference organized in conjunction with the Mellon Research Initiative

Materiality in Japan: Making, Breaking and Conserving Works of Art and Architecture A conference organized in conjunction with the Mellon Research Initiative | Events Calendar

With Monika Bincsik, Rosina Buckland, Ivan Gaskell, Christoph Henrichsen, Murielle Hladik, Deborah L. Krohn, Yukio Lippit, Jennifer Perry, Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere, Andrew Watsky, and George Wheeler

Upper E Side

The Institute of Fine Arts at NYU | 1 E 78th St.

Materiality in Japan: Making, Breaking and Conserving Works of Art and Architecture

A conference organized in conjunction with the Mellon Research Initiative

Friday, April 11, 2014

Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
1 East 78th Street, New York City
RSVP required

Japan is widely regarded as an exemplar in terms of the preservation of material integrity, the perpetuation of historical production techniques and the responsible preservation of works of architecture and artifacts in museum contexts. The Japanese certification system for Cultural Property – which also includes the category of Living National Treasures for specialist craftsmen who embody manufacturing techniques as Intangible Cultural Property – has earned far-reaching acclaim. It is frequently overlooked, however, that there is actually a wide range of divergent approaches towards originality and authenticity even in contemporary Japan. While some of these inconsistencies find their counterparts in the West, others are related to pre-modern cultural practices, e.g. concurrent concepts of artifacts in divergent contexts of reception and evaluation. This conference attempts to shed light on this issue with a series of case studies as a means to deconstruct overly simplistic explanatory models.

The conference schedule will be comprised of three sessions:

I “Object practices” will address practices of production, maintenance, repair and renewal in pre-modern Japan.

II “Ensemble cultures” will address relevant practices which employed artifacts in larger contexts of spatial organization, object groups or decorative ensembles.

III “Approaches to curating and conserving” will examine dichotomies among the contemporary approaches to authenticity and material integrity in Japan, Europe and North America.

More information is available by clicking here:


Monika Bincsik, Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow, Department of Asian Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Rosina Buckland, Senior Curator of Japanese Collections, National Museums Scotland, Edinburg
Ivan Gaskell, Professor; Curator and Head of the Focus Gallery Project, Bard Graduate Center
Christoph Henrichsen, Architectural conservator and independent scholar, Cologne
Murielle Hladik, Architect and curator, Paris and Associate Professor, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'architecture de Clermont-Ferrand ENSACF
Dipti Khera, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History and the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
Deborah L. Krohn, Associate Professor, Bard Graduate Center
Yukio Lippit, Harris K. Weston Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University
Jennifer Perry, Conservator for Japanese paintings in the Department of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere, Handa IFAC Curator for Japanese Arts, British Museum and Research Director, Sainsbury Institute
Andrew Watsky, Professor of Japanese Art History, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University
George Wheeler, Director of Conservation Research, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University; Research Scientist, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Organized by Anton Schweizer, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

For a conference agenda click here:
This conference will be streamed live on this webpage:

RSVP information:
This event is open to the public, but an RSVP is required. To make a reservation for this event, please click here. Please note that seating in the Lecture Hall is on a first-come first-served basis with RSVP. A reservation does not guarantee a seat in the lecture hall. We will provide a simulcast in an adjacent room to accommodate overflow.

About the Mellon Research Initiative
In March 2010 the Institute of Fine Arts was awarded a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a four-year project to examine the state of advanced research in the fields that are the primary components of the program at Institute of Fine Arts: art history, archaeology, and conservation. The aim of the project is to ask where these areas are going, what are the strengths in given areas of study, what do they require in terms of resources to pursue advanced research, how these resources are best managed, and how is learning best delivered in curriculum and training programs. The project acknowledges the Institute's leading role in these fields, but is also intended to review the IFA's current position, organization, and research activities and to suggest ways to enhance and to forward its leadership. For more information, please click here: