The practice of reprinting damaged photographic artworks as a preservation strategy has increasingly become a topic of research in conservation, as well as a matter of debate among conservators, curators, and artists. SFMOMA’s Artist Initiative, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is redefining the museum’s approach to reprinting and, more broadly, to the acquisition, stewardship, and display of contemporary photography. In the first phase of the project, a cross-disciplinary team of curators, conservators, and art historians interviewed photographers who are interested in reprinting their work in SFMOMA’s collection.
A second phase of the project saw the team travel to meet with colleagues in American and European art institutions to share findings and learn about their experiences. An international symposium was convened at SFMOMA to further explore the complexities of reprinting color photographs as a preservation strategy.