Saturday, April 13, 2019

"Guggenheim 'decommissions' conceptual and Minimalist works over questions of authenticity"

The Art Newspaper:
For nine years, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has been foraging for answers to some of the most confounding questions raised by Minimalist and conceptual art from the 1960s and 70s: What makes a work genuine? If an artist decides he prefers an earlier or later iteration of his original work, which one should have pride of place in a museum? If an artist disowns a work altogether, how should the museum label and classify it?

The answers can be as complicated as the questions themselves, which spring from the Guggenheim’s acquisition in 1990-92 of a trove of nearly 350 Minimalist and conceptual works amassed by the Italian count and fervent collector Guiseppe Panza di Biumo. In some cases what Panza had purchased was not a physical work of art but the right to fabricate one from industrial materials according to specifications the artist set down on paper, often under the assumption that more than one version might be produced. The artists—most notably, Donald Judd—were sometimes dismayed by Panza’s fabrications, raising further questions about whether a work of art should be considered authentic.

Armed with a $1.23m grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the museum set out in 2010 to conduct rigorous research into questions surrounding the preservation and display


To date, the museum has decommissioned 16 works . . . . That means that they are deemed to be “unviable”, she said: “They do not represent the artist’s wishes or the moral rights of the artist.”