“Saving Art”: Fall 2021 Art History Association lecture series kicks off Oct. 21


All are welcome to a new series of virtual lectures organized by the SUNY New Paltz Art History Association, one of the longest-running student clubs on campus.

The theme of this year’s talks – which will be held on Oct. 21, Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 – is “Saving Art: Conservation, Ethics, and Activism.” All three guest speakers are New York City-based professionals and educators working in art history and conservation.

We hope you can join these conversations! Please register in advance, and we will send you the Zoom link on the day before the event. See below for more details about each talk.


“Cultural Heritage Conservation as a Human Practice: Ethics and Decision Making in an Unstable World”
Michele Marincola, Chair of the Conservation Center, NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts
Thursday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m.
Click here to RSVP and receive the Zoom link

Ethics help guide the decision making of art conservators, whether explicitly in the form of codes of ethics and charters, or implicitly in our sense of a personal, moral obligation to care. And yet controversies abound, in both the public discourse and the profession itself. Are our codes and charters failing us?

This talk will explore the development of shared principles that aim to shape the actions of conservators and provide guidance in practice. Just how shared and stable are those principles today? Are there alternative ways of decision making, different ethical approaches, that can better reflect contemporary values and lead to acceptable conservation actions? A few case studies will provide context for discussion of these and other questions related to conservation as a human practice now.


“After the Fall: Conservation of Tullio Lombardo’s Adam”
Carolyn Riccardelli, Objects Conservator, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Tuesday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m.
Use this link to RSVP and receive the Zoom link

Tullio Lombardo’s Adam was once part of the Vendramin Monument, which is now located in the church of Santi Giovani e Paulo in Venice. Dated 1490-95, Adam is considered the most important monumental Renaissance sculpture in the United States. In October 2002, the sculpture fell to the floor of the Vélez Blanco Patio when the pedestal beneath it collapsed. The impact of the fall smashed the marble sculpture into several large pieces and many small fragments. This talk reveals the story behind how the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s conservators and curators investigated new approaches to large scale sculpture treatment to save this masterpiece. Riccardelli will speak about her leadership role in this project and in maintaining the works of art on display in the Met’s many galleries during the Museum’s closure due to COVID-19.


“A Conversation with America’s Only Full-Time Art Crime Professor”
Erin Thompson, Associate Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Tuesday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m.
Use this link to RSVP and receive the Zoom link

Dr. Thompson studies the damage done to humanity’s shared heritage through looting, theft, and the deliberate destruction of art. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, CNN, NPR, and the Freakonomics podcast, among other publications. Her book Possession explores the history of the private collecting of Greek and Roman antiquities, and it was named by NPR as a Best Book of 2016. Currently, she is researching the ways in which terrorist groups both sell and destroy art to support their genocidal campaigns as well as the legalities and ethics of digital reproductions of cultural heritage.


Interested in learning more about the study of Art History at SUNY New Paltz? Visit the Department webpage for details about courses, events, opportunities for students and much more.