Bard Graduate Center Logo
  Banner Image

Conserving Active Matter
On View March 25–July 10, 2022
Bard Graduate Center Gallery

How do you care for and repair the objects you hold dear, when the materials they are made from are constantly changing in response to use and to variables like light, temperature, humidity, and time? Today’s museum conservator uses a variety of tools developed over the last 150 years to do this work. In the future, new kinds of materials and a new scale of change will pose unprecedented challenges for the profession. How will conservators reconsider their roles in preserving such “active matter” and in conversations about environmental and cultural sustainability?

Conserving Active Matter explores the activity of matter through objects that span five continents and range in time from the Paleolithic to the present. From the things that clothe us to those that shelter us, and from sacred objects to the profane, this exhibition envisions the work of conservation as essential for the lives of the things that sustain us. 

Ticket provides entry into Conserving Active Matter and Richard Tuttle: What Is the Object?. Proof of COVID vaccination, photo ID, and the use of masks are required of all visitors to BGC Gallery. Please see our visitor policies for complete COVID policies.


Conserving Active Matter is part of Cultures of Conservation, a multi-year initiative generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. More information about the initiative can be found here.

This exhibition and publication are generously supported by donors to Bard Graduate Center.

Buy the Book!
Conserving Active Matter
Conserving Active Matter draws together the main lines and interim conclusions of a five-year research project embedded in a ten-year effort to reimagine the relationship between conservation knowledge and the humanistic study of the material world—Cultures of Conservation. Learn More Button
Exhibition Image