Richard S McCoy

Richard McCoy is an art and design consultant in the state of Indiana, educator, writer.

I know that this is meant to be a thought-provoking discussion but it seems to be preposterously absurd and a little sophomoric.  Of course art history is not dead and it’s not dying.  Evidence? You’re convening a discussion about it on your Tumblr!

In the same way that journalism is not dead and not dying just because the way information is published has dramatically changed. 

For one very recent example, my column this month on Art21’s blog features an art-historical based conversation around the need to preserve digital art and features a video that was recorded at the Museum Computer Network’s Annual Meeting with Anne Goodyear, a curator at the Smithsonian, Penelope Umbrico, an important artist whose practice is innovative and contemporary, Koven Smith, Director of Technology at DAM, and myself a conservator at the IMA.  

How can you listen to that panel and think for a second that art history is dead?  It is alive, breathing, and running around in new and exciting ways.

I would have much preferred a question asking how the way art history is being written and spoken is changing to be more open and available, and also much more interdisciplinary.  

Finally, and though art conservators are not mentioned in this as someone they’d like to hear from, I want to say that today’s art conservators are uniquely positioned to convene relevant art historical discussions and projects that are centered on artworks, their preservation, fabrication, and material aspects.   


Is art history dead? Is the digital revolution passing art historians by? What is the future of publishing in art history?

We’ll be exploring these topics next week on The Getty Iris, and we’re kicking off with a short Google+ Hangout, “Resuscitating Art History,” on Monday, March 4, at 4:00 p.m. PST.

We’d like to hear from artists, students, art historians, authors, and, especially, art history grad students: Is there a question the field needs to address? A challenge you face? A radical idea art historians need to be for (or against)? Please let us know here, on Facebook, or via tweet to @thegetty (hashtag: #digitalhumanities).

Books in the Research Library at the Getty Research Institute. 010101 is a real book.

IMA Blog Post on Cabinet by Emile Bernard

Check out this quick look into an ongoing conservation and research project in the Objects and Variable Art Laboratory at the IMA.

Questions that Lead to More Questions 

by Laura Kubick

No Preservatives | The State of Affairs in the Conservation of Contemporary Art

Conservation training is material-based, and yet our dilemmas are not primarily material ones. We can spot paint cleavage at twenty paces. We know how to fix rips and remove grime from fragile surfaces. But the most difficult questions are not about what we can do, but what we should do. Codes of ethics say that conservation treatments should be “appropriate”. Appropriate to what exactly? We have no training, no terminology even to address these “non-matierial” aspects.

— Barbara Appelbaum - Conservation Treatment Methodology  (via sofielh)

(Source:, via sofielh)

Reading about Eames on Art21’s Blog.

The second part of our interview with Daniel Ostroff about the work and life of Charles and Ray Eames is now up on Art21’s Blog.  The interview, conducted with Tricia Gilson, covers a lot of ground, including ideas around patina, preservation, presentation, and exhibition.  Along with lots of background info on the new website

It’s broken up into two posts: 

Part I

Part II

Let me know what you think.

I spent last week in Lisbon attending the International Council of Museum’s Committee for Conservation (ICOM-CC) 16th Annual Triennial Conference. It was a really great week not only for the conference but also for all of the interesting folks I met along the way (and, of course, the city!).   

I was particularly glad to meet Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) editor Sarah Everts, who writes the blog “Artful Science.”  I’ve been a long-time fan of her important coverage of the intersection between science and art.  She’s provided a great write up of the conference in three blog posts (images above grabbed from her blog).  Here they are, go read all three!

Fixed. theme by Andrew McCarthy