Richard Serra in conversation with Brad Epley in 2012.

Richard Serra in conversation with Menil Director of Conservation Brad Epley in 2012.


Conservators of contemporary art face unique challenges. Unlike old masters, contemporary works are often materially ephemeral, time-based, interactive, or conceptual. In restoring these works, conservators rely heavily on documentation of an artist’s materials, techniques, and intent, frequently needing to consult the artist directly. When an artist is no longer living, the available information can become quite scarce.
To address this problem, conservator Carol Mancusi-Ungaro conceived of the Artists Documentation Program (ADP), in which conservators interview artists in the presence of their artworks, in order to understand their materials and techniques. The ADP creates a lasting record of an artist’s attitudes toward restoration and exhibition of their works–a “living will” for their work.
Founded at the Menil in 1990, with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the ADP has incorporated interviews from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art/Harvard Art Museums, where Ms. Mancusi-Ungaro held dual positions. The program has captured interviews with such noted artists as Frank Stella, Jasper Johns, and Cy Twombly.

Since 2023, generous support for the Artist Documentation Program and partnership has been provided by Nadia Zilkha and the Vivian L. Smith Foundation.  New interviews are being conducted every year, as the ADP continues to evolve in mission and scope.  
Project Directors:

  • Dr. Corina Rogge, Director of Conservation, The Menil Collection; and Vice President, The American Institute for Conservation
  • Matthew Skopek, Melva Bucksbaum Director of Conservation, The Whitney Museum of American Art

The Artists Documentation Program (ADP) interviews artists and their close associates in order to gain a better understanding of their materials, working techniques, and intent for conservation of their works. All interviews are conducted by conservators in a museum or studio setting.

Generous support for the Artist Documentation Program and partnership is provided by Nadia Zilkha and the Vivian L. Smith Foundation. Initial funding for the program was provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (1990-2021).