As Business and Admissions Director of ARCA’s Masters Program in International Art Crime Studies, I have had a number of prospective students, current students, figures in the field, and others pose this question to me. Many have often queried, “Where are the opportunities in the field of art crime?” While not everyone can, or will, become a private art investigator, there are still opportunities within the fields related to art crime. This is the first post in a series on life after the MA in International Art Crime Studies. The first student profiled is Julia Brennan ’09.
Julia has worked in the field of textile conservation for over twenty-five years (in practice). She established Textile Conservation Services in 1995 to serve private collectors, galleries, museums, and institutions. Early training included six years in a private atelier specializing in the conservation of 16th-20th century tapestries, Oriental carpets, Asian textiles and American samplers and quilts. Ms. Brennan helped establish the textile storage and conservation facility at the Philadelphia College of Textile’s Paley Design Center, and was the editor for a manual of conservation stitches. In 1989 she received a Getty Research Grant focusing on the analysis of dyes in historic Thai textiles, as well as treatments for oriental carpets. During her five years as Assistant Conservator for Exhibitions at the Textile Museum in Washington, she prepared over 30 exhibits, and was the guest curator of a contemporary textile show on Faith Ringgold.
She does regular contract work and maintenance of textile collections for The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, The Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Smithsonian Institution Museums. For more info about Julia’s work see her site “Caring for Textiles.” Recently, she contributed a chapter on teaching preventative and textile conservation in Asia and Africa in Frances Lennard and Patricia Ewer eds. Textile Conservation: Advances in Practice. Butterworth Heinemann. March 2010, pp 336.