Pia Gottschaller is a specialist in modern and contemporary art, with a focus on issues of technical art history in postwar painting practice. Pia holds a BA in art history from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, a Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings from The Courtauld, and a PhD in art technology from Technische Universität München.
Before joining the Conservation & Technology Department as Senior Lecturer, Pia was a Senior Research Specialist in the Science Department of the Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles. Prior appointments included positions as paintings conservator at the Tate, London, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and at the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge MA. As an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at The Menil Collection in Houston, she conserved the Rothko Chapel paintings with the museum’s chief conservator, Carol Mancusi-Ungaro. She was also an associate curator at Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, and Assistant Fine Arts Director at the German Academy Villa Massimo in Rome. From 2005-7, she was a Postdoc Research Fellow at Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Rome, and in 2012-13 a Caroline Villers Research Fellow in Technical Art History at the Courtauld.
Pia’s research interests are informed by the variety of her work experiences in different cultural contexts and disciplines. In her publications she explores the meaningful relationship between an artist’s subject, materials and methods, for which she often relies on interviewing artists. Most recently at the Getty, she led the GCI’s technical study “Concrete Art in Argentina and Brazil,” a collaborative research project with the Getty Research Institute and Argentine as well as Brazilian partner institutions. She also co-curated the resulting exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum, “Making Art Concrete: Works from Argentina and Brazil in the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros,” co-edited and wrote for the exhibition catalogue, and will be contributor and co-editor of a forthcoming scholarly volume on the subject.
More recent essays examine the development of geometric abstraction and its readings in relation to neuroscience and painterly choices made by modern and contemporary artists, in particular since the invention of self-adhesive tape in the 1930s; the subject of temporality and transience in contemporary painting; and the artistic practice of Cheyney Thompson. She has also published books and essays on Blinky Palermo, Lucio Fontana, Mark Rothko, Italian postwar art, Conceptual and Minimal Art, and a variety of other contemporary painters. Current research interests are the work of Jay DeFeo and the role of tools in contemporary painting.