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Museum Consortium Launches Second Phase of Media Matters

A consortium of curators, conservators, registrars, legal advisors, and media technical managers from New Art Trust, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), and Tate has launched the second phase of Media Matters, an innovative website designed to provide international guidelines for the care of time-based media works of art (e.g. video, slide, film, audio, and computer-based installations). The consortium launched the first phase, on loaning time-based media works, in 2004. The second phase, launched in 2007, raises awareness about acquiring time-based media works.

Since the late 1960s and early 1970s, artists have sold works to museums and collectors incorporating 35mm slides, video, film, audio, and computer-based elements. In light of advances in technology, which made the presentation of time-based media more accessible, such works have become an integral part of the contemporary art scene. Media Matters has, for the first time, brought together a group of professional curators, registrars, conservators, and technical and legal experts to raise awareness of the requirements of these works and to provide a practical response to the need for international agreement among museums.

The challenge of preserving and managing time-based media is best met collaboratively, and, it is the group's hope that others will not only benefit from this information but will also contribute over time to the further refinement of methods for care of these works of art. The material is intended to aid to artists, collectors, dealers and museums, the primary custodians of time-based media.

The second phase of Media Matters is the result of a two-day meeting held in January 2007 at MoMA, sponsored by New Art Trust. Giving particular focus to the process of acquiring time-based works, the new content provides effective and practical acquisition methods, as well as tools for their implementation. The website addresses what to consider prior to purchasing a specific work, the activities that need to be completed before title can change hands, and how to prepare work for its future life within a collection. A range of templates has been provided, including copyright and purchase agreements, structure and condition reports, and a cost assessment. The consortium hopes that the information will be a valuable resource for artists, collectors, dealers, and museums who are especially concerned with the acquisition of time-based work.

Contact: Pip Laurenson, Tate Gallery, e-mail: pip.laurenson@tate.org.uk; www.tate.org.uk/mediamatters