I once asked Cy Twombly if his art had ever been decisively damaged. He replied, “only by restorers.” That retort launched a nineteen-year conversation. Through that exchange, I saw anew the primacy of the artist’s voice in determining what should be preserved for posterity. The synergy between artist and conservator is what I would like to explore in a book on Twombly. In 1990, I founded the Artists Documentation Program wherein artists are interviewed about materiality and preservation. I have also written on other artists. My writing on Twombly would be distinguished by the depth of our engagement and enriched by the Cy Twombly Foundation Archives in Rome. With some duration, I want to experience the complexity of time, a shared interest with the artist and a bedrock of conservation, in a place where Twombly lived. Such an opportunity would afford a more nuanced account of my work with Twombly and would frame the value of the artist/conservator nexus, absent in our scholarship.
The photograph of Carol Mancusi-Ungaro was taken by Roger Picard.