Soon Kai Poh will give a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Monday, November 11, at 12:15 pm. His talk is entitled “Conservation as a Human Science at BGC.”

For many years, the practice of conservation has been tacitly accepted in the life of objects. In recent decades, the work of conservators and conservation as a professional field has drawn increasing attention from both individuals and institutions who interrogate the object, although there has been less critical scrutiny from broader humanist perspectives. The Cultures of Conservation and Conserving Active Matter initiatives at Bard Graduate Center have explored these ideas over the last seven years, and continue to do so, culminating in an exhibition slated for Spring 2022. The exhibition aims to provide a refreshing take on what it means to display conservation and its associated activities through its conception as a human science. In this talk, Soon Kai Poh will describe how an early career objects conservator can benefit from the wide-ranging intellectual life at Bard Graduate Center, as an experimental proof-of-concept of conservation as a human science. Drawing from this research, the talk will also briefly discuss the ongoing development of the exhibition, informally introducing it to the Bard Graduate Center community.

Soon Kai Poh is a recent graduate of the dual MA/MS program in the History of Art and the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works at the Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, specializing in objects conservation with a particular interest in Asian and Near-Eastern works of art. He has completed internships and worked on projects in the conservation labs of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As part of his graduate training, he worked on-site at New York University’s Excavations at Aphrodisias in Turkey, and participated in multiple conservation projects at Villa La Pietra, New York University’s academic center in Florence, Italy.