TechFocus IV: Caring for 3D-Printed Art

Virtual symposium on October 25, 27, & 29, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. EST

3D printing, also known as rapid prototyping or additive manufacturing, is being utilized by architects, designers, artists, and consumers, and is becoming increasingly common and technically sophisticated. In short, it describes the process of creating a three-dimensional object via computer-aided design (CAD) programs and digital files, printing it using a range of materials from plastic to metal more conventionally, to all kinds of experimental materials like chocolate or shrimp shells. Originated as a technology to rapidly produce prototypes, 3D-printed artworks are now progressively entering collections. While long-term condition prognosis still awaits discovery, some printing materials are known to quickly yellow and degrade. At the same time, the inherent reproducibility of the technology challenges us to rethink appropriate preservation measures for cases where the boundaries of what constitutes the “original object” may not be as clearly defined.

The goal of this program is to address caretakers and creators alike and help them understand these objects’ technology, risks, and requirements. In this way, the virtual symposium will serve as a platform to develop guidelines within the community towards the long-term stewardship of both the printed object and accompanying digital files necessary if reprinting becomes a viable option.

The TechFocus IV conference was organized by Martina Haidvogl, Emily Hamilton, and Alexandra Nichols.

Program & Videos

Below is the program and speaker information for each day. Click on the hyperlink in the talk’s title to watch it on YouTube.

Day 1: October 25, 2021
Welcome Remarks
Martina Haidvogl (University of the Arts Bern) & Alexandra Nichols (Tate)
Approaching the Challenge: Caring for 3D-printed Art and Design
Martina Haidvogl (University of the Arts Bern) & Emily Hamilton (SUNY Buffalo State College)
The Eames Secret: Real 3D Modeling
Llisa Demetrios & Daniel Ostroff (Eames Collection)
High Resolution Multi-Material Additive Manufacturing: 3D Fabrication of Biologically Inspired Structures
Dr. James C. Weaver (Harvard University, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences)
School of Seeing: 3D Printing Workflows
Mark Hellar (Hellar Studios LLC)
School of Seeing: 3D Printing Methods
Nic Lee (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
School of Seeing: 3D Printing Materials
Dr. Charlotte Eng (Private Practice)
School of Seeing: 3D Printing Post-Production Processes
Daniel Lütolf (CL-Y LLC)
School of Seeing: 3D Printing Software
Mark Hellar (Hellar Studios LLC)
School of Seeing: Panel Discussion
Dr. Charlotte Eng (Private Practice), Mark Hellar (Hellar Studios LLC), Nic Lee (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Daniel Lütolf (CL-Y LLC)
Moderation: Alexandra Nichols (Tate)
Day 2: October 27, 2021
3D-printed Design in Collections and Exhibitions (Keynote)
Paola Antonelli (The Museum of Modern Art)
Acquiring 3D-printed Objects
Emily Hamilton (SUNY Buffalo State College)
Acquiring 3D Printing Digital Files
Peter Oleksik (The Museum of Modern Art)
At a Glance: Copyright Considerations in 3D Printing
Sriba Kwadjovie Quintana, JD (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)
Acquisition: Panel Discussion
Emily Hamilton (SUNY Buffalo State College), Sriba Kwadjovie Quintana (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), Peter Oleksik (The Museum of Modern Art)
Moderation: Martina Haidvogl (University of the Arts Bern)
Scanning in 3D Printing Workflows
Daniel Lütolf (CL-Y LLC)
Unnatural Materials
Virginia San Fratello (Rael San Fratello and Emerging Objects; San Jose State University)
Display, Conservation and the Printed Object: Entangled Identities 
Sarah Barack & Jessica Walthew (Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum)
Objects and .obj Files: Caring for Josh Kline’s Cost of Living (Aleyda)
Margo Delidow & Savannah Campbell (Whitney Museum of American Art)
Day 3: October 29, 2021
21st Century Readymade and Copyleft
Shirley Tse (Artist)
Readymade of the digital epoch: the (im)possible futures of Shirley Tse’s Negotiated Differences
Olivia Chow, Alessandra Guarascio, Dr. Aga Weilocha (M+)
Printing Errors: Lucky Accidents and Material Narratives
Dr. Tobias Klein (City University of Hong Kong)
Condition Issues and Degradation of 3D-printed Objects
Carolien Coon (University College London)
Tauba Auerbach’s “Altar/Engine” (2015) Pt. 2: A Case Study in Reprinting 4D Mesh
Megan Randall & Peter Oleksik (The Museum of Modern Art)
Engineering Fashion: Codes, Patterns, Replications, and Reproductions
Sarah Scatturo (Cleveland Museum of Art)
Focusing Forward
Jill Sterrett (Independent Arts and Culture Advisor)
Closing Panel
Martina Haidvogl (University of the Arts Bern), Emily Hamilton (SUNY Buffalo State College) and Alexandra Nichols (Tate)
Moderation: Jill Sterrett (Independent Arts and Culture Advisor)

Speaker Information

Paola Antonelli is Senior Curator at The Museum of Modern Art in the Department of Architecture & Design, as well as MoMA’s founding Director of Research & Development. Her most recent exhibition, Broken Nature, opened at MoMA in November 2020. She is also currently working on @design.emergency, an Instagram and book project that explores design’s role in building a better future for all, in collaboration with critic Alice Rawsthorn. 

Sarah Barack is the Head of Conservation and Senior Objects Conservator at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. She holds a Masters of Art and Certificate of Advanced Conservation from the Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University and a Masters of Business Administration from Columbia Business School. Recent research has ranged from plastics polishing protocols to technical study of 18th Century European porcelain. She served for four years as Treasurer for the American Institute of Conservation/Foundation for the Advancement in Conservation and is the co-founder and co-chair of the AIC K-12 Outreach Working Group.

Savannah Campbell is a Video and Digital Media Preservation Specialist at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She has previously been a Fellow in Magnetic Media Preservation at The Standby Program and has worked on audiovisual preservation projects for the Dance Heritage Coalition, CUNY TV, and Crawford Media Services. Savannah holds an MA in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation from New York University.

Olivia Chow is Assistant Curator, Visual Art, at M+, the new museum of visual culture in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District. She participated in the curatorial process for the M+ exhibitions Shirley Tse: Stakeholders, Hong Kong in Venice (2019), Hong Kong’s presence at the 58th Venice Biennale, and Shirley Tse: Stakes and Holders (2020). Before joining M+, she held various curatorial positions at Para Site (Hong Kong) and at The Works Art and Design Festival (Edmonton). At Para Site, she edited The Unappropriated Recipes, an unconventional cookbook that responds to Hong Kong through contributions from artists, curators, and collaborators in the local and international art community.

Carolien Coon is a SEAHA doctoral student at UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage investigating the stability of Additive Manufactured plastics. At UCL she obtained an MRes in Heritage Science (2015) and worked as Research Assistant on the Horizon 2020 project NANORESTART: Nanomaterials for the restoration of works of art. Previously, Coon obtained a Fine Art degree from Central University of Technology, Free State, South Africa (1999) and a BA (Hons) in Conservation at City and Guilds of London Art School (2009). As conservator she has worked for the National Trust, Plowden and Smith Ltd. and the Victoria and Albert Museum. 

Margo Delidow, Assistant Conservator for the Whitney Museum of American Art, completed a Masters of Arts and Certificate of Advanced Study in Conservation from The Art Conservation Program at Buffalo State, The State University of New York. She is a partner at Whryta Contemporary Art Conservation and a Professional Associate Member of AIC.

Llisa Demetrios has been archiving the material from the Eames Office at 901 Washington in Los Angeles for over twenty-five years. Most recently, she facilitated the loans for “The World of Charles & Ray Eames” exhibition that started at the Barbican Centre in England in 2015 and continued to Sweden, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Michigan, and the Oakland Museum of California in February 2019. Demetrios loves how a single object can tell a larger story of how her grandparents, Charles & Ray Eames, approached the problems of their day, like sustainability and conservation, which can help us face similar challenges today.

Charlotte Eng has a PhD in materials science and engineering from Stony Brook University, NY. She was previously a Senior Conservation Scientist at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) where she used noninvasive and micro-invasive methods to examine diverse works of art from LACMA’s collection. Projects she enjoyed working on included materials identification of contemporary jewelry, use of spectroradiometry for the evaluation of light sources to be used to illuminate artworks, and preservation issues of 3D printed objects.  Currently, she is a staff scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Chemical and Isotopic Signatures Group of the Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division.

Alessandra Guarascio is the Conservator, Installation Art, at M+ Museum in Hong Kong. As part of the conservation team, she is responsible for the day-to-day care and documentation of the installation art collection. She obtained her master’s degree in Conservation of Contemporary Art in Milan, with a thesis on the documentation and rearrangement of a complex installation by John Bock. Prior to her current appointment, she collaborated with the Museo del Novecento, Hangar Bicocca, and the Museo del Design Italiano in Milan. In 2013 she moved to Singapore, where she spent six years working on all phases of conservation at the ArtScience Museum and National Gallery Singapore. 

Martina Haidvogl is a lecturer in Conservation of Contemporary Art at the Bern University of the Arts. Prior to this appointment, she was Associate Media Conservator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2011-2019), where she has piloted documentation and preservation initiatives for SFMOMA’s Media Arts collection. Haidvogl has lectured and published internationally on media conservation and its implementation within collecting institutions. Her research focuses on cross-disciplinary collaboration practice fostered through digital tools, serving the needs of the art of our time.

Emily Hamilton is the Assistant Professor of Objects Conservation at Buffalo State College. Previously, she was the Associate Objects Conservator at SFMOMA, Assistant Objects Conservator at the Saint Louis Art Museum, and the Samuel H. Kress Sculpture and Media Conservation Research Fellow at MoMA. Hamilton earned a B.A. in Art History from Reed College and an M.A. in Art Conservation from SUNY Buffalo State College.

Mark Hellar is a technology consultant for cultural institutions and the owner of Hellar Studios LLC. He specializes in innovative yet practical digital media and software-based solutions for multimedia artists and institutions that support their work, with an emphasis on developing systems for exhibition, documentation, and preservation. Hellar is currently working on new media conservation initiatives at SFMOMA, including the conservation and care of their software-based artworks. He is also the software developer for the studio of artist Lynn Hershman Leeson and faculty at the San Francisco Art Institute, teaching on the topics of virtual reality and augmented reality.

Sriba Kwadjovie Quintana, J.D., currently serves as the Intellectual Property Manager at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), where she manages copyright and assesses compliance with intellectual property laws and policies affecting the museum’s operation, exhibition programming, events and publications. She has presented on matters involving IP and the arts for the American Bar Association, Western Museums Association and at Stanford University. Kwadjovie Quintana is also a trained dancer and has performed with various modern/contemporary dance companies throughout the Bay Area.

Nic Lee is a computational designer at the MIT Media Lab. His research combines design, digital fabrication, material development and energy evaluation in order to create end to end pipelines for sustainable construction. Through his work, he aims to bridge the gap between grown and built environments. Lee graduated from the University of Virginia with bachelor’s degrees in biomedical engineering and neuroscience and received his MDes from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In 2020, he received his MAS at the Mediated Matter Group and he is currently a PhD candidate at the MIT Media Lab.

Daniel Luetolf lives and works in Zurich. In 2001 he obtained a degree in structural engineering in Zurich and 2010 a MSc ETH Zurich in architecture.  From 2010 to 2016, he was an art producer for Urs Fischer in New York and Zurich. In 2016, he founded his own company CL-Y GmbH for 3D art production which is realizing national and international projects in art and architecture. He has been researching and teaching at the ETH Zurich since 2016. Furthermore, he is a member of the art collective CKÖ and winner of the 2014 Swiss Art Award.

Alexandra Nichols is a Time-Based Media Conservator at Tate, focusing on exhibitions and displays. Prior to working at Tate, she was a Sherman Fairchild Foundation Fellow at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and a Samuel H. Kress Fellow at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York concentrating on the conservation of time-based media. Alexandra Nichols holds an M.S. in Art Conservation from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation and a B.A. in Art History from the University of Maryland.

Peter Oleksik is Associate Media Conservator at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) where he has been working since 2011 to conserve the museum’s vast time-based media collection across curatorial departments. Outside of MoMA, Oleksik regularly writes and teaches various topics within time-based media conservation as well as works with artists, filmmakers and musicians to preserve and provide access to their media collections. Oleksik received his BA in Cinema Studies from the University of Southern California and his MA from New York University’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) program.

Daniel Ostroff has worked with the Eames Office since 2006, during which time he has written 300 blog posts on various aspects of the work of Charles and Ray Eames. Since 2001, he has also advised institutions and private companies, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, Vitra Design Museum, Bonham’s Auctioneers, The Cummins Foundation, Herman Miller, Gillett and Caudana Appraisers, and J. F. Chen Ltd. Ostroff was the editor of An Eames Anthology: Articles, Film Scripts, Interviews, Letters, Notes and Speeches by Charles and Ray Eames (Yale University Press) and is active as a film and television producer.

Megan Randall is an Objects Conservator at the Midwest Art Conservation Center (MACC) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Prior to MACC, Randall was an Associate Objects Conservator at the Museum of Modern Art. She earned her graduate degree at the Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, and completed internships at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas and the American Museum of Natural History. Prior to entering the field of conservation she worked as a finisher at Modern Art Foundry in Astoria, Queens. She received a master’s degree from Christie’s Education in 2008 and a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College.

Virginia San Fratello draws, builds, 3D prints, teaches, and writes about architecture and interior design as a cultural endeavor deeply influenced by craft traditions and contemporary technologies. She is a founding partner in the Oakland, CA based make-tank Emerging Objects and the co-author of Printing Architecture: Innovative Recipes for 3D Printing (Princeton Architectural Press 2018), a book that reexamines the building process from the bottom up and offers illuminating case studies for 3D printing with materials like chardonnay grape skins, salt and sawdust. Her work has been published widely, including in the New York Times, and is recognized by several institutions including: LACMA, The National Building Museum and included in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Design Museum in London.

Sarah Scaturro is the Eric and Jane Nord Chief Conservator at the Cleveland Museum of Art. From 2012 – 2020 she was the Head Conservator of the Costume Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she developed a materials-and values-based approach to the conservation of fashion that foregrounds fashion as a time-based phenomenon. Previously, Scaturro was the Textile Conservator and Assistant Curator of Fashion at the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. She graduated with an MA from the Fashion Institute of Technology in Fashion & Textile Studies and is a PhD candidate at Bard Graduate Center, researching the history of costume conservation.

Jill Sterrett is an arts and cultural advisor. She was Interim Director and Deputy Director at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago (2018-2020) and Director of Collections and Art Conservator at the San Francisco Museum of Art (1990-2018). She is engaged in ways to revitalize museums for our times and plays an active role in Voices in Contemporary Art, an international consortium of conservators, curators, collectors, educators, and students who recognize the need for new forms of collaboration. She has lived and practiced on four continents and believes this business of objects has always been about people. 

Shirley Tse works in the mediums of sculpture, installation, photography, and text. She deconstructs the world of synthetic objects that carry paradoxical meanings, while constructing models in which differences might come together. Tse’s work has been exhibited extensively in the US and internationally in the last 20 years. She represented Hong Kong at the 58th Venice Biennale. Her work is featured in numerous publications including ‘Akademie X: Lessons in Art + Life’ (2015), ‘Sculpture Today’ (2007), and others. Tse received the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2009. She has been on the faculty at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) since 2001.

Jessica Walthew is an objects conservator at Cooper Hewitt, working with both the Product Design & Decorative arts and Digital collections. Her research interests include the history and theory of conservation, and technical research, especially with imaging technologies. Her current work focuses on plastics (both their conservation and cultural history). She served as co-curator of Natural Plastics (2019) at Cooper Hewitt and is currently researching the use of bioplastics in design.

Aga Wielocha is a collection care professional and a researcher specialized in contemporary art. Currently, she holds a position of Conservator, Preventive at M+ in Hong Kong. She holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam. Her doctoral research carried out within the program ‘New Approaches in the Conservation of Contemporary Art’ (NACCA), situated at the crossroads of art history and theory, conservation, museology, and heritage studies, is focused on the lives and futures of contemporary art in institutional collections, particularly on works which are variable and unfold over time. Prior to her doctoral studies, she served as a conservator at the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw.


This program is being made possible by the generous support of the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. FAIC relies on your contributions to support these and its many other programs. You can learn more and support the foundation at the FAIC donation page.