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April 04, 2024

National Gallery of Art Appoints Lena Stringari as Chief of Conservation

Lena Stringari

Lena Stringari
Photo by David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York. Copyright: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York. All rights reserved.

Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art announced today that Lena Stringari will join the museum as chief of conservation. Stringari comes to the National Gallery following a long career at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, where she has served most recently as deputy director and Andrew W. Mellon Chief Conservator.

When she begins her tenure on July 14, Stringari will lead one of the largest and most comprehensive conservation divisions among the world’s art museums. Heading six conservation departments, a scientific research department, and an administrative office, she will work to preserve the National Gallery’s growing collection, currently comprising some 160,000 objects, sustainably and in service of the nation.

In addition to preserving the nation’s art collection, the conservation division conducts innovative scientific research in collaboration with colleagues worldwide. It also works closely with museum curators, often undertaking technical art historical studies that unlock understanding of artists’ materials, practices, and processes. The division also publishes Facture, a biennial peer-reviewed journal that provides insights and scholarship in all aspects of the field.

“We are excited to welcome Lena Stringari to the National Gallery of Art in this important leadership position,” said E. Carmen Ramos, chief curatorial and conservation officer. “Lena’s impressive experience in leading complex teams and undertaking major conservation projects and research, as well as her commitment to sustainability and nurturing future generations of conservators, all make her an ideal leader for this role. I eagerly look forward to working with her in support of our talented conservation team and its service to our audiences and the nation.”

“I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to steward the nation’s collection and collaborate with the esteemed conservators and scientists of the conservation division at the National Gallery,” said Stringari. “My extensive tenure at the Guggenheim Museum, where I oversaw conservation efforts for a multifaceted global institution, has equipped me to embrace this important role. I bring with me an innovative spirit, a relentless curiosity, and a commitment to developing programs that illuminate the remarkable work dedicated to safeguarding our cultural heritage. Through the sharing of conservation narratives and the intersection of art and science, I aim to address fundamental inquiries about the purpose behind preserving both tangible and intangible cultural assets.”

Lena Stringari
Stringari has been deputy director and Andrew W. Mellon Chief Conservator for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation since 2010 and 2008, respectively. Across her full career at the institution, she held various other positions in conservation of contemporary art, exhibitions, and paintings.

A recognized leader in the field, Stringari’s work at the Guggenheim spanned conservation, scholarship, curation, mentorship, and public service. Most recently, she curated the 2022 exhibition Eva Hesse: Expanded Expansion, overseeing the treatment of a work previously considered unexhibitable. She was instrumental in establishing the Variable Media Initiative, which emerged in 1999 as an innovative preservation strategy for media-based and performative works. Under her leadership, the Guggenheim established one of the first labs for time-based media preservation in the nation. More recently, she oversaw the Panza Collection Initiative, a 10-year curatorial and conservation research project focused on minimal and conceptual works from the 1960s and 1970s. Stringari also developed Art Detectives, an innovative summer program that exposes teens from across five New York City boroughs to the intersection of art and science. She has lectured and published extensively on materials and processes of various artists, treatment strategies, and conservation ethics. Stringari served as the executive team liaison to the Guggenheim Green Team, an interdepartmental team that has embedded sustainability practices throughout the institution. She is also a member of the international working group for the Bizot Green Protocol refresh, which establishes greener guidelines for environmental conditions and collections care.

Stringari is on the board of directors of the Time In Children’s Art Initiative and the art advisory council of the International Foundation for Art Research. She was a founding member of the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (INCCA) and an adjunct professor at the New York University Institute of Fine Arts for many years. She holds an MS in art conservation from the Winterthur Museum/University of Delaware and a BA in art history from the University of Pennsylvania.

Contact Information

General Information
For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]

Chief of Communications
Anabeth Guthrie
phone: (202) 842-6804
e-mail: [email protected]

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