IIC 2004 Bilbao Congress

Modern Art, New Museums

IIC's twentieth international congress took place in Bilbao, northern Spain, at the invitation of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao together with the City of Bilbao and the Regional Government of Bizkaia. This was a wonderful opportunity for those who had never visited Bilbao to see the extraordinary Frank Gehry building at the heart of this fascinating and historic city; those already familiar with Gehry's masterpiece needed no reminding of its importance as an architectural phenomenon and as a world-class showcase for modern and contemporary art.

The title of the conference consciously reflected the double theme that any encounter with the Guggenheim evokes. It was a conference to interest conservators, curators, art historians, conservation scientists, architects, museum managers, and students. Its scope was broad, encompassing the whole field of modern (i.e. post-1900) art and newly-created museums of recent years - whether they were new buildings, extensions to old buildings or adaptations of previous structures. We were confident that the programme reflected current interests and concerns in these very active areas.

Papers presented at an IIC congress and published in the contributions undergo a rigorous peer review process. The IIC Council appoints a committee of international experts who make a selection from the proposals received and invite draft papers; they then review the drafts and determine the final content of the programme. The members of the Technical Committee on this occasion were:

Andreas Burmester
Director, Doerner-Institut, Munich

Jim Coddington
Agnes Gund Chief Conservator, Museum of Modern Art, New York

Tom Learner
Senior Conservation Scientist, Tate, London

Carol Mancusi-Ungaro
Director of Conservation, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Thea van Oosten
Coordinator, ICOM-CC Working Group on Modern Materials & Contemporary Art, Instituut Collectie Nederland, Amsterdam

Paul Schwartzbaum
Chief Conservator, Guggenheim Museums

under the chairmanship of David Bomford, National Gallery, London. Ashok Roy (National Gallery) and Perry Smith (IIC) have edited the contributions for publication.

The platform presentations were complemented by posters, which were displayed prominently throughout the meeting. An extensive summary of each poster was published in the conference papers to provide a permanent record and point of contact.

The language of the congress and its publications was English, with simultaneous translation in English and Spanish (Castellano) for lectures and general sessions.