News

Sep 16, 2021

Conservation Center Appoints Steven Weintraub and Denyse Montegut as 2021-2022 Judith Praska Distinguished Visiting Professors in Conservation & Technical Studies

The Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts is pleased to welcome Steven Weintraub and Denyse Montegut as the 2021–2022 Judith Praska Distinguished Visiting Professors in Conservation and Technical Studies. Weintraub, founder and Principal of Art Preservation Services (APS), and Montegut, Professor in the Fashion and Textile Studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology, will teach in fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters, respectively.

Now approaching its tenth year, the Praska Distinguished Visiting Professorship recognizes a distinguished conservator or scientist who brings new areas for research and teaching to the program in conservation. Weintraub will teach Color and Perception in the fall of 2021 and Montegut will teach Polymers, Fibers, Yarns and Weave Structures in Fabrics in the spring of 2022. Both will deliver public lectures during their tenure.

Christine Poggi, the Judy and Michael Steinhardt Director of the Institute of Fine Arts, said, “We are thrilled that these distinguished alumni of the Institute will be joining us at the Conservation Center in the next academic year. Their knowledge of and practical experience with material science and conservation will serve as a rich resource for our students.”

Michele D. Marincola, Chair of the Conservation Center and Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of Conservation, notes, “Steve’s specialization in the perception of color is a crucial addition to our program; we are privileged to be able to host him in the fall term. Denyse’s expertise in fiber identification and textile chemistry complements the course offered by Steve and will attract students from different specialties, with its emphasis on mastering polarizing light microscopy, identification of weave structures, and assessing treatment options for fiber-based objects.”

Steven Weintraub is the founder and Principal of Art Preservation Services (APS), established in 1988. He specializes in the preservation of museum collections. In addition to environmental consultation work for museums, he has done pioneering research in the areas of museum lighting and museum microclimates. The primary focus of his research on perception of color is to provide a scientific basis for establishing a balance between the need to minimize light-induced damage on artworks without sacrificing the qualitative experience of viewing art in a museum setting. Weintraub holds a B.A from Colgate University, and an M.A. in Art History and a Certificate in Conservation from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

Denyse Montegut, a textile conservator, is Professor in the Fashion and Textile Studies Department, School of Graduate Studies, at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her specialties are microscopy, fiber chemistry, and material science, and she was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Teaching in 2004. She was Chair of her department from 1996 to 2019, during which time she developed its conservation component into a well-respected Master’s training program. She holds a B.A from Brooklyn College, and an M.A. in Art History and a Certificate in Conservation from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She is A.B.D. in Art Conservation Research at the University of Delaware, where her dissertation studies focused on textile forgeries of Rhenish 13th–15th century metal printed textiles, a topic that she was introduced to during her 1993 Kress Fellowship at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum. Most recently in 2020, Professor Montegut was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Textile Specialty Group of the American Institute for Conservation.

June 1, 2021

The Conservation Center and the University of Akron School of Polymer Science and Engineering to Produce Improved Lining Adhesives for Canvas Paintings

Research supported by the Getty Foundation through its Conserving Canvas Initiative

Students flattening out an artwork with specialized equipmentFormer Conservation Center students perform overall humidification and flattening of a nineteenth-century portrait. Sarah Mastrangelo operates a heated suction table while Hae Min Park and Kimberly Frost monitor the painting's surface and gently manipulate the canvas with their hands.

The Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University and the University of Akron School of Polymer Science and Engineering have joined forces for a major research project to identify improved lining adhesives for the conservation of canvas paintings, from Old Masters to Modern and Contemporary artists. The research partnership addresses a critical need to develop a satisfactory replacement for the original formulation of Beva 371, the industry standard for lining adhesion for paintings conservation that is no longer supported by available commercial ingredients. Conservators and scientists will work together to fine-tune and optimize adhesion performance and tailor the strength of the new lining adhesive products to minimize risks to the many types of paintings on canvas. This multi-institutional, cross-disciplinary project will be overseen by Professor Michele D. Marincola, Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of Conservation and Chair of the Conservation Center during the grant period, and Christopher McGlinchey, Senior Research Scholar at the Conservation Center and the Project Director for this exciting initiative.

The research is supported by a grant from the Getty Foundation as part of its Conserving Canvas initiative, which focuses on expanding knowledge and skills for the structural care of paintings on canvas. The project was developed in response to recommendations from leading experts in the field following a convening in 2019 of the international paintings conservation community, the Conserving Canvas Symposium organized by the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at Yale University and also made possible with Getty support.

“The Getty Foundation’s generous grant brings together two industrious institutions at the cutting edge of museum work and applied macromolecular chemistry,” remarked Professor Marincola. McGlinchey notes, “The Linings Adhesive project has all the promise of fulfilling a crucial need in the conservation field. We aim as well to take advantage of the emerging trend of bespoke polymer structure, something perfectly suited for the demanding but limited scale that conservation materials comprise for the chemical industry. The award affirms the Conservation Center at NYU continues to lead the field of identifying the qualities of those carefully tailored conservation materials.”

The two-year project involves an expansion of personnel to include two postgraduate fellows: a Getty Conserving Canvas Research Fellow based at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, and a Getty Conserving Canvas Science Fellow based at The University of Akron. The Fellows will work under the direction of Professor Marincola, McGlinchey, NYU’s Clinical Professor Dianne Modestini, Ali Dhinojwala, Interim Director of the School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, The University of Akron, and Professor Abraham Joy, The University of Akron.

Professor Dhinojwala observed, “We are excited to collaborate with the IFA Conservation Center at New York University on this innovative project. Our goals are to develop new adhesive formulations for adhering paintings on canvas. We already have several key ideas on how to formulate the next generation of adhesives and are looking forward to working with a talented cross-disciplinary group of experts. The sharing of expertise amongst our two institutions and colleagues will result in innovative research that will have a significant impact on the future approach to the conservation of canvas paintings.”

The project begins with an experts’ kick-off meeting conducted virtually in late September 2021. As research progresses, the team will hold two additional expert meetings in 2022 and 2023 in New York and Florence, Italy that will document, share, and archive the work of the program with the goal of disseminating and providing access to technical scholarship of adhesion science. There will also be a workshop for practicing conservators in the summer of 2023. Additional project team members include senior conservators from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The National Gallery of Art, and the Cleveland Museum of Art and adhesion scientists from Virginia Tech, Paris Tech, and TU Delft’s Adhesion Institute. Conservation scientists from SUNY Buffalo State College, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, and the University of Amsterdam will also participate. The program is also fortunate to be working with industrial partner CTS Conservation.

"Conservation has always been a core area of our grantmaking,” said Antoine Wilmering, Senior Program Officer at the Getty Foundation who oversees the Conserving Canvas Initiative. “This project is an exciting and essential step forward in identifying a viable alternative to BEVA 371. The paintings conservation community worldwide will be eagerly awaiting the results.”

May 14, 2021

National Endowment for the Humanities Awards the Institute $150K in Support of Research on the Abydos Brewery and the Emergence of Kingship in Ancient Egypt

The Division of Archaeological and Ethnographic Field Research of the National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts $150,000 to support the project “Excavation of Egypt’s first industrial-scale brewery, located at the ancient site of Abydos.” These funds will specifically support two field seasons of excavations at Abydos that aim to address the question of the relationship between beer production on such an enormous, truly industrial scale and the early development of Egyptian kingship and the state.

British archaeologists excavated the brewery at Abydos in the early 20th century, but its importance was not understood at that time and the exact location was lost. The North Abydos Archaeology team, consisting of individuals from the Institute of Fine Arts (IFA) at New York University and from Princeton University, working in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, located and began excavating the brewery in 2018 and continued the investigation in 2020. The press release on this discovery can be accessed online.

The fieldwork over the next two years will focus on the further exploration of the royal brewery and the analysis of the evidence for the ritual use of beer in the nearby royal funerary temples, or “cultic enclosures.” Excavation work at the brewery will aim to define fully the scale of the facility and its total production capacity, and to investigate the details of the beer production process. In addition, the team will strive to refine the dating of the facility, which at present can only be assigned to a broad period, approximately 3200–2800 BCE. Study of the beer making process will be based in part on the paleobotanical analysis of preserved organic residues. Analysis of the ritual use of beer in royal contexts will involve the excavation of a series of large deposits of discarded ceramic beer jars found at the monumental cultic enclosures that Egypt’s early kings built not far from the brewery. Here too, paleobotanical analysis will be used to examine organic residues in the beer jars, to allow for comparison between the beer used in the royal monuments with what was produced in the nearby brewery. The investigation of the Abydos royal brewery provides important new evidence on how the control of staple resources, the ability to mobilize labor, and the administrative capability necessary to manage such a large-scale operation helped define the nature of early Egyptian kingship and the state.

The site of Abydos stretches over several square miles of the margins of the desert on the west bank of the Nile in southern Egypt and has an equally expansive history. It was the burial place of Egypt’s first kings and later became the primary cult place of the god Osiris, ruler of the land of the dead. For millennia the site was held to be one of Egypt’s most sacred and was a place of pilgrimage, where visitors could witness the great festival procession of Osiris, in which episodes of his myth were re-enacted in the sacred landscape. Later kings built their own temples at Abydos to associate themselves both with Osiris and with their royal ancestors buried at the site. Visitors to the site today can still walk through the magnificently decorated monuments of Seti I and his son Ramesses II.

“It is truly an honor to be one of the first projects awarded support under the NEH’s new Archaeological and Ethnographic Field Research grant program” observes Matthew Adams, co-director for IFA of the Abydos project. “This recognition from the NEH will be instrumental in maintaining the momentum of our work at Egypt’s first industrial-scale brewery.”

Christine Poggi, Judy and Michael Steinhardt Director of the Institute of Fine Arts, remarked, “We are delighted that the NEH has made this commitment to sustaining empirical field research at Abydos. We are sincerely grateful for this critical support that will aid in the further exploration and documentation of the discoveries being made at Abydos’s royal brewery.”

May 6, 2021

The Institute to Honor Marica Vilcek
Great Hall of the Historic Duke House to Be Renamed for Board Chair

The Institute of Fine Arts is renaming the Great Hall of the James B. Duke House in honor of its Board Chair, Marica Vilcek. A member of the Institute’s board since 2013, Marica has supported numerous fellowships in art history, archaeology, and conservation. In 2018, Ms. Vilcek and her husband, Dr. Jan T. Vilcek, endowed the Institute’s Marica and Jan Vilcek Curatorial Program, ensuring the Institute’s position as a premier school in the training of curators for the global arts community.

William R. Berkley, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at NYU, said, “I'm thrilled to recognize Marica’s incredible contributions to the Institute with the naming of the Marica Vilcek Great Hall at the Institute of Fine Arts. Marica’s generosity, passion, and leadership have allowed the Institute to grow and thrive and we are honored to have her as such an important member of the Institute and the NYU community.”

“As a Board Member and Chair,” said Andrew Hamilton, President of New York University, “Marica has steadfastly supported the Institute’s mission: excellence in scholarship, and development of the next generation of leadership in art history and curation, archaeology, and conservatorship. I cannot think of a more apt distinction than to name the Great Hall, the heart of the IFA’s long-time home, after Marica, who has so devotedly sustained the heart of IFA’s work.”

Christine Poggi, the Judy and Michael Steinhardt Director of the Institute of Fine Arts, said, “It is particularly fitting to have Marica Vilcek’s name grace our Great Hall because it’s emblematic of her role at the heart of the Institute. It is in this iconic space that we host so many of the Institute’s events, gatherings, and exhibitions. Future events and celebrations in this hall will take on a new meaning as we recognize such a devoted patron of the arts and of the Institute.”

Ms. Vilcek was born in Bratislava, Slovakia (then Czechoslovakia), and earned advanced degrees in art history from Comenius University in Bratislava and Charles University in Prague. Upon graduation, she began her professional career in a curatorial position at the Department of Prints and Drawings of the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava.

In 1965, Ms. Vilcek, with her husband Dr. Jan T. Vilcek, immigrated to the United States. Shortly after arriving in New York, Ms. Vilcek accepted a position at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, beginning a 32-year tenure at the institution. As the Metropolitan Museum’s associate curator in charge of the Accessions and Catalogue Department, Ms. Vilcek dedicated the majority of her time with the museum to collections management and was responsible for processing and cataloguing the museum’s new acquisitions. Ms. Vilcek authored the museum’s procedural manuals on accessioning and cataloguing, and advised scores of curators, administrators, students, and interns on collections management.

Ms. Vilcek has served as a consultant to nonprofit organizations including the Commission for Art Recovery of the World Jewish Congress, the Jewish Museum in New York City, and the Jordan National Gallery in Amman. She is Chair of the NYU Institute of Fine Arts Board of Trustees, and a board member of the New York Youth Symphony and the Foundation for a Civil Society. Ms. Vilcek also serves as an honorary trustee of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In 2005, Ms. Vilcek joined her husband, a biomedical scientist, in giving the New York University School of Medicine one of the largest gifts in its history. In recognition of their generosity, the school has named several programs, chairs, and facilities in their honor. In 2005, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America recognized Dr. and Ms. Vilcek as Humanitarians of the Year, and in 2011 they received the Outstanding New Yorker award given by the Center for an Urban Future in New York City. In 2012, Ms. Vilcek accepted, on behalf of the Vilcek Foundation, the Steven K. Fischel Distinguished Public Service Award from the American Immigration Council in Washington, DC.

Ms. Vilcek cofounded the Vilcek Foundation with her husband in 2000. The foundation’s primary mission is to recognize and celebrate the contributions of immigrants in the United States. The foundation’s dual focus on biomedical research and the arts derives from the couple’s respective interests and careers. Since the foundation’s inception, Ms. Vilcek has played an integral role in the conceptualization and administration of its programs and exhibitions. She has also used her experience as an art historian and curator in the development of the Jan T. and Marica Vilcek Collection, a promised gift to the Vilcek Foundation, which includes an unparalleled group of American Modernist works, as well as significant examples of pre-Columbian art and Native American pottery.

April 5, 2021

Hank Willis Thomas will be the Inaugural Speaker of the Sam Wagstaff Photography Lecture Series

Hank Willis Thomas (Photo Credit: Andrea Blanch).

The Institute of Fine Arts is pleased to announce that Hank Willis Thomas will give the inaugural Sam Wagstaff Photography Lecture on Thursday, April 22, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. in conversation with New York-based artist Chris Berntsen.

This new lecture series honors the legacy of Samuel J. Wagstaff Jr. (November 4, 1921 –January 14, 1987). Wagstaff attended the Institute of Fine Arts in the 1950s, studying Italian Renaissance Art under Richard Offner, and went on to become a notable American art curator, collector, and patron of the arts. Through his influential collecting, teaching, and curatorial work, Wagstaff promoted photography as a fine art medium. His groundbreaking collection was purchased by the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1984, constituting the cornerstone of its newly formed Department of Photographs. Sam Wagstaff’s devotion to the medium contributed to its rising status over the years. The Institue of Fine Arts is delighted to celebrate his achievements by naming our annual photography lecture in his honor.

“The Sam Wagstaff Photography Lecture creates an important opportunity for the Institute community to discuss critical issues in the field of photography through the perspective of contemporary artists and historians” said Christine Poggi, Judy and Michael Steinhardt Director, Institute of Fine Arts. “It is with great pleasure that we present this new series in the name of one of the great scholars of the 20th century”

Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture.” His work is included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. Thomas is a recipient of the Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship (2018), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2018), the AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize (2017), and the Soros Equality Fellowship (2017). Heisa former member of the New York City Public Design Commission.

Chris Berntsen is a New York based artist who uses photography to explore themes related to queerness, identity, and intimacy. Chris’ work has been exhibited in MoMA PS1, Aperture Foundation, New York, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans. He received his BFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and is an MFA candidate at Hunter College, New York. He has worked alongside artist Hank Willis Thomas for the past fourteen years.

March 10, 2021

Institute of Fine Arts to present
Cauleen Smith, H-E-L-L-O: To Do All At Once

Cauleen Smith, H-E-L-L-O (video still), 2014, digital video, 11:06 minutes. Courtesy the Artist and Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago.

The Institute of Fine Arts is pleased to announce its spring exhibition, Cauleen Smith, H-E-L-L-O:
To Do All At Once, presenting the 2014 film H-E-L-L-O by filmmaker and multimedia artist Cauleen Smith. The exhibition proudly continues the Great Hall Exhibition series’ commitment to celebrating the contributions of exemplary women artists and is the first in the series to take place online. Spanning and intertwining film, installation, and material objects, Smith’s practice expands on the experimental film and third world cinema traditions in order to explore the spaces of historical memory, collectivity, and compensatory possibility. In this way, Smith’s work emerges as a talismanic touchstone for contemporary activism and community building. In the artist’s words: “Future and past, you want to hold all of that. You want to celebrate, you want to protest, you want to do all at once.

Read moreAbout Cauleen Smith's exhibition at the Institute

March 2, 2021

A New Faculty Appointment Strengthens Scientific Research at the Conservation Center

Photo credit: Philipp Hitz

The Conservation Center is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jens Stenger as Assistant Professor of Conservation Science. Stenger’s extensive experience and training in heritage science and imaging techniques will bring a new depth of knowledge to the Conservation Center’s academic program.

As assistant professor, Stenger will be involved in teaching graduate-level conservation, art history, and archaeology students in the conservation treatment of artifacts and artworks from historical, archaeological, and cultural contexts. This new position will highlight Stenger’s expertise in imaging techniques as they are applied to the examination, documentation, treatment, and scholarly interpretation of a broad scope of cultural heritage materials.

Jens Stenger studied physics at the University of Konstanz, the University of Göttingen, SUNY Stony Brook, and Humboldt University of Berlin where he received a PhD in 2002. After a two-year post-doctoral research position in the Chemistry Department at the University of California, Berkeley, he joined the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at the Harvard Art Museums in 2004 as The Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Conservation Science. Following his fellowship, he continued his research at the Straus Center until 2013 when he joined the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at Yale University as Associate Conservation Scientist. He has also held positions at the Swiss Institute for Art Research and the Cologne Institute for Conservation Sciences before his current research appointment as Senior Scientist at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen.  

Christine Poggi, the Judy and Michael Steinhardt Director of the Institute of Fine Arts, said, “We are delighted to welcome Jens to the Institute of Fine Arts and look forward to his arrival at the beginning of the spring semester in 2022. His strong interest in cross-disciplinary research and collaboration will enhance the learning environment for both the conservation students and the Institute’s students in art history and archaeology.” Hannelore Roemich, Chair and Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Conservation, notes, “Jens’s specialization in imaging and color science opens new avenues of teaching in our program. His broad experience in various fields of heritage science will allow us to offer new core curriculum courses as well as advanced science courses that are highly relevant for our students."

Founded in 1960, the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts awards a dual MA/MS in art history, archaeology, and conservation after four years of full-time study and practice. The Center teaches students to examine, document, research, and treat works of material culture, and to design, implement, and administer preventive care. The program strives to build skilled, socially aware, resilient, and adaptable conservators of cultural heritage.

“Jens Stenger has the experience, expertise, and breadth of knowledge in the field of conservation science to become an invaluable asset to the Institute of Fine Arts,” observes Michele Marincola, Chair of the Search Committee for this position and Sherman Fairchild Professor of Conservation. “This appointment comes at a pivotal moment as we seek to strengthen the range of talent on our faculty. I am looking forward to working with Jens in the years to come.”

About the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University: The Institute of Fine Arts is an international leader in research and graduate teaching, and committed to global engagement and advancing the fields of art history, archaeology, and the theory and practice of conservation. New York City, with its incomparable resources and vitality, provides a backdrop and extended campus for the Institute’s activities.

Founded in 1960, the Conservation Center is the oldest degree-granting graduate program in art conservation in the United States. The Conservation Center offers a four-year, dual MA/MS graduate program combining training in art conservation with historical, archaeological, curatorial, and scientific studies.

For more information please contact: Hannelore Roemich, Chair and Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Conservation at hannelore.roemich@nyu.edu or Aakash Suchak, Grants Administrator, at amsu@nyu.edu.

February 16, 2021

World’s Oldest Industrial-Scale Brewery Identified at Abydos, Egypt, ca. 3000 BCE

General view of the south exterior of the enclosure of King Khasekhemwy (ca. 2750 BCE). A massive deposit of beer jars was found extending over nearly the entire excavated area. (Photo by Greg Maka for the North Abydos Project.)

A team of American and Egyptian archaeologists excavating at the site of Abydos in southern Egypt has uncovered evidence for the world’s oldest known industrial-scale beer production facility, an ancient complex with the capacity to produce enough beer to serve thousands of people in a single batch.

The archaeological team from the Institute of Fine Arts (IFA) at New York University and from Princeton University dated the brewery to the dawn of ancient Egyptian history, ca. 3000 BCE, the approximate time of the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt and the emergence of the pharaonic state, the era of King Narmer.

Read more about the discovery at Abydos [opens in new window]

February 10, 2021

National Endowment for the Humanities Awards The Institute's Conservation Center $150K in Support of New Teaching Modalities in Conservation Education

Sarah Montonchaikul treating “Cult Head,” purportedly from the Congo, in the collection of NYU Africa House. Image credit: N. L. Roberts

The Division of Preservation and Access of the National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts Conservation Center $150,000 to support the project “Managing Change: Developing New Teaching and Learning Modalities in Conservation Education.” In addition to these outright grant funds, the NEH will match up to $100,000 raised from third-party donations for a total of $350,000 in combined federal and third-party funding. These funds will enhance remote and in-person teaching of graduate-level art and artifact conservation through guest lectures, student fellowships, and summer work placements in US cultural institutions.

In response to the necessary transformation of teaching by the COVID-19 pandemic, the project will focus on developing new modalities for art conservation that will blend traditional instruction with remote learning technologies. The project will take place over three years and produce faculty/student-tested videos, images, and assessments of e-learning. The aim is to provide conservation students enrolled in the program and larger humanities communities with novel resources for teaching and learning.

Read more about the NEH grant [PDF opens in new window]

December 16, 2020

The Institute Mourns the Loss of A Distinguished Alumna

The Institute of Fine Arts would like to recognize the passing of Frederick G. Schab who was a close friend and alum of the Institute. On May 14, Frederick died in Woodstock, NY at the age of 95. He was born in 1924 in Lucerne, where his father, William Schab, had founded a branch of his Viennese firm, Gilhofer und Ranschburg.  The firm dealt in rare books, illuminated manuscripts and drawings. The family moved back to Vienna in 1926. In 1938, following annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany, the family fled to Switzerland. In 1939 they moved to New York where his father founded the William H. Schab Gallery. 

Frederick received his Bachelor of Arts degree at Columbia University and received his Master of Arts at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. He studied under the famous art historians, Richard Krautheimer, Walter Friedlander and Carl Lehmann. In the early 1950’s he joined his father’s gallery that dealt with European Master Prints and drawings as well as early printed books. Frederick and his father added to the collections of prints, drawings, and rare books at the National Gallery, the Cleveland Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The National Museum of Canada, the Getty Museum and many other museums and libraries around the world. Frederick was instrumental in the assembling the private collections of Lessing Rosenwald and Ian Woodner who then later donated their collections to the National Gallery in Washington. He also built the collection of the Arthur Ross Foundation now at the Yale University Art Museum.

December 9, 2020

A Prominent Conservator Brings New Areas for Research and Teaching to the Conservation Center

The Institute of Fine Arts Conservation Center is pleased to welcome Lynda Zycherman as the 2021 Judith Praska Distinguished Visiting Professor in Conservation and Technical Studies. Zycherman serves as Conservator of Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The Judith Praska Distinguished Visiting Professorship in Conservation is awarded to a prominent conservator or scientist who brings new areas for research and teaching to the program in conservation. Zycherman will teach modern and contemporary sculpture conservation in the spring 2021 and will deliver a virtual public lecture during her tenure.

Christine Poggi, the Judy and Michael Steinhardt Director of the Institute of Fine Arts, said, “We are delighted to welcome Lynda to the Institute next year. Her impressive expertise gained through many years of technical research and hands-on practice will bring a new perspective to our objects conservation courses.”

Margaret Holben Ellis, Chair and Eugene Thaw Professor of Paper Conservation, notes, “Lynda’s specialization in sculpture conservation is a valuable addition to our program; we are so fortunate to be able to tap into local talent. Her research has expanded our material knowledge of modern sculpture and her unique and personal approach is an excellent model for our students to follow.”

Lynda Zycherman is Conservator of Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art. She has over forty years’ experience examining and treating modern three-dimensional art and has particular expertise in metals conservation. She holds a BA from the City College of New York and an MA from the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, with an Advanced Certificate in Art Conservation. She formerly held conservation positions and fellowships at the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; and the Corning Museum of Glass. Her most recent publication addresses the conservation of Larry Bell’s glass sculpture Shadows (1967). Lynda will teach a treatment course for conservation students on modern and contemporary sculpture conservation.

November 19, 2020

Sheldon H. Solow In Memoriam

The Institute of Fine Arts mourns the loss of Sheldon Henry Solow, who passed away on November 17, 2020 at the age of 92. Born in Brooklyn in 1928, Solow attended NYU, studying engineering and architecture, but left in 1949 to begin a career in real estate development. He eventually became one of New York City’s most influential builders, often choosing innovative architects to design elegant and distinctive towers. Among his most iconic skyscrapers is the Solow Building at 9 West 57th Street, designed in 1974 by Gordon Bunshaft. Solow also assembled a remarkable collection of Renaissance and Modern art, as well as Egyptian antiquities and African art. His collection comprises important paintings and sculptures by Sandro Botticelli, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Franz Kline, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Cy Twombly, among others.

Sheldon Solow was a generous, even visionary, benefactor to the Institute, whose many gifts ranged from student fellowships, to faculty positions, to the renovation of the façade of the James B. Duke House, to two floors of the building at #3 East 78th Street for the construction of the Sheldon H. Solow Library and Study Center. Sheldon and his wife Mia Fonssagrives Solow, a sculptor and jewelry designer, joined the Institute’s Council of Friends in 1973 (today’s Connoisseurs Circle). Solow became a trustee of the Institute in 1985, and served as Chair of the Board of Trustees from 1992 to 2003. He established two professorships: the Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture (currently held by Jean-Louis Cohen), and the Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art in honor of his sister (currently held by Thomas Crow). During the financial crisis of 2009-2011, his generosity provided financial support to over 200 Institute students. As recently as last August, he made a gift to the Director’s Discretionary Fund to assist students affected by the pandemic. Read more

October 15, 2020

Festschrift in Honor of Colin Eisler to be Published by the University of Toronto

The Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies (CRRS) at Victoria University in the University of Toronto will publish a Festschrift in Honor of Institute Professor Colin Eisler. Edited by Institute alumnae Yassana Croizat-Glazier & Sarah Harris Weiss, Exploration and Revelation: French Renaissance Studies in Honour of Colin Eisler is a significant contribution to scholarship on French Renaissance art. This collection of articles includes contributions from several Institute alumni including: Suzanne Boorsch, Yassana Croizat-Glazer, Mary L. Levkoff, Anne L. Poulet, Stuart W. Pyhrr, George A. Wanklyn, and Ian Wardropper.


Read more on the The Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies website.

October 7, 2020

The American School of Classical Studies Students and Friends Name Evelyn B. Harrison Room in New Student Center

The American School of Classical Studies at Athens is pleased to announce a gift from the Students and Friends of Evelyn Byrd Harrison in support of the renovated Student Center. The Evelyn B. Harrison Room, located on the second floor of Loring Hall, is named in honor of the distinguished art historian and teacher whose long association with the School spanned more than sixty years.

Evelyn (Eve) Harrison (1920–2012) was one of the preeminent scholars of Greek art in the second half of the 20th century and a professor at the Institute from 1974 to 2006. Read more on the American School of Classical Studies website.

September 16, 2020

The American School of Classical Studies Named a Student Center after James R. McCredie

The American School of Classical Studies at Athens is pleased to announce a munificent gift from Marian M. McCredie in support of the renovated Student Center. Mrs. McCredie has renamed West House in memory of her late husband, James R. McCredie, whose close association with the School spanned six decades. McCredie House will be a lasting tribute to his extraordinary impact on the School.

Read more on the American School of Classical Studies website.

June 22, 2020

Fall 2020 Curricular Plan for the Institute

The Institute of Fine Arts will resume in-person coursework for the Fall 2020 semester to the fullest extent possible while taking into consideration the safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

Read the Plan

June 3, 2020

Statement of Solidarity

To the members of the Institute of Fine Arts Community,

This has been an especially painful week, filled with horrifying news and images that are now seared into all of our memories. We have witnessed yet another brutal murder of an African American, George Floyd, following the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others. This has caused enormous pain, suffering, and rage within the Black community, which is shared by all those who support justice, equality, freedom, and peace for everyone. At this time when the outbreak of the coronavirus has disproportionately affected people of color and other vulnerable groups, demonstrating the disastrous effects of systemic racism, we should be working together to create an egalitarian and just society. We stand in solidarity with all those who fight against racism and police brutality.

Read the full statement

May 20th, 2020

Tom Sokolowski (1950-2020)

Tom Sokolowski seated at a lecture listening intently Photo Courtesy Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers.

Thomas W. Sokolowski, who received his MA from the Institute in 1975, died in New Brunswick, N.J. on May 6th 2020. Tom was a pioneering curator and a courageous museum director who, throughout his career, created exhibitions that sought to advance the cause of social justice.

At the Institute, he studied Early Modern European art. His particular interest (fostered at the University of Chicago where he did his undergraduate degree) was the art of seventeenth and eighteenth century Italy. He studied with Anthony (Tony) Clark, former Director of the Minneapolis Institute of Art and Curator of European Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum. Clark became adjunct professor at the IFA in 1973. After Clark’s untimely death in 1976 Tom worked with Donald Posner on a dissertation (which he did not finish) on Roman painter Sebastiano Conca.

Read more about Tom Sokolowski

February 4th, 2020

Chika Okeke-Agulu is Named 2020 Kirk Varnedoe Visiting Professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU

The Institute of Fine Arts is delighted to welcome Chika Okeke-Agulu as the Kirk Varnedoe Visiting Professor for the spring 2020 semester.

Chika Okeke-Agulu is Professor of African and African Diaspora Art at Princeton University. His books include Yusuf Grillo: Painting. Lagos. Life (Skira Editore, 2020), Obiora Udechukwu: Line, Image, Text (Skira Editore, 2016); Postcolonial Modernism: Art and Decolonization in Twentieth-Century Nigeria (Duke, 2015); and (with Okwui Enwezor), Contemporary African Art Since 1980 (Damiani, 2010). He is co-editor of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art and maintains the blog Ọfọdunka.  He has co-organized several art exhibitions, including El Anatsui: Triumphant Scale (Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2019), Who Knows Tomorrow (Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 2010), 5th Gwangju Biennale (Gwangju, 2004), The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945 1994 (Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, 2001), Seven Stories About Modern Art in Africa (Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1995), and the Nigerian section at the First Johannesburg Biennale, 1995. Read more about Professor Okeke-Agulu

January 28th, 2020

Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Awards $2.5 Million to Endow Doctoral Programs at Five Universities

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation announced today the selection of five new institutional partners for Frankenthaler Scholarships, a multi-year initiative that has dedicated more than $4 million to art and art history graduate programs around the country. For the program’s next phase, the Foundation is awarding $500,000 to five different universities—The Graduate Center, CUNY; Harvard University; the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University; Stanford University; and University of Chicago—to support the creation of named endowments that will offer one or more annual fellowships for doctoral students studying art history. These endowment gifts build on the inaugural round of Frankenthaler Scholarships, which support MFA programs in painting.

Read more on the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation website [opens in new window]

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