Introducing Dr. Alison Bracker

July 08, 2022

Video Transcript

Speaker: Dr. Alison Bracker

Dr. Alison Bracker: Hello, I'm Alison Bracker. I'm originally from Los Angeles. I then worked and lived in England for 25 years. And now I live and work in the south of France – in Nice.

How do you choose which artists to spotlight in your Context seminars?

Dr. Alison Bracker: Boy, this is a complex question. I'm going to take the easy route and say that if I've chosen an artist to spotlight for Context, it's because there's something about that practice that has grabbed me and it may not be something definable. And together, maybe we can define what it is that attracts me to their work. But I want to share it. I want to bring others closer to an artist's practice and somehow illuminate their work and what they're doing and why they're doing it for others. And if I have achieved that through my Context seminars, then I'm happy.

Can you tell us about your experience working in the London Art Scene? How did this shape your career?

Dr. Alison Bracker: My first post in London was at the Royal College of Art and Victoria & Albert Museum, where I did a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Conservation of Unusual Materials and Contemporary Art. This was a topic that was very much at the forefront of conservation at that particular time, because museums and artists alike were starting to having to get to grips with the ramifications of artists' use of nontraditional or organic or ephemeral materials. And that position introduced me to artists, museum directors, curators and conservators who were having to deal with these topics and issues. I've maintained those relationships to the to this day and they very much shaped my career. I continue to do research in this topic.

What is something most people don’t know about the field of Art Conservation?

Dr. Alison Bracker: Well, there are a couple of points. I suppose the primary thing that most people don't realize is that conservation and restoration are two very different things. Restoration means bringing an object back to its original condition. So you are restoring it to what it was at the beginning of its life. In conservation, one maintains or cares for an object and that may never include restoring it. In fact, conservation takes into account the history of an object. Whereas restoration, you erase that history.

Dr. Alison Bracker: The second thing I'd like people to know is about my field – the Conservation of Unusual Materials or Ephemeral, Non-traditional Organic Materials and Contemporary Art. And that is if we don't care for them – if we don't conserve them – then we risk losing them.

Dr. Alison Bracker: If we lose objects and thus the material evidence from our cultures, then we may not understand that history or that culture – and that would be a terrible loss for present audiences and future generations.

What is your favorite Context seminar to teach?

Dr. Alison Bracker: I truly don't have a favorite. I've loved every one of them. And what I most enjoy about delivering the online talks is something that Marcel Duchamp said about an artwork. And that is that an artwork is not complete until the audience views it. And I feel the same way about my seminars and courses. I love putting them together. I've always loved research, but they are not complete until I present them to an audience and we get to the questions and answers. And that to me is the most exciting part, and also the part that makes it all worthwhile and inspiring.

Produced with Vocal Video