Musicians rehearse for a performance of Tony Conrad’s Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain 1972

Filming rehearsals for LightNight 2019: performance of Tony Conrad’s Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain 1972
Photo: Roger Sinek

Reshaping the Collectible: When Artworks Live in the Museum is a major research project focused on recent and contemporary artworks that challenge the practices of the museum. It contributes to theory and practice in collection care, curation and museum management.

The project started in June 2018 and was due to end on 30 June 2021, but due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic it has been extended to December 2022 to allow time for the remaining project publications, finalisation of audience research, and a conference. Registration is now open for Reshaping the Collectible: Learning Through Change, which will be held online on 14, 15 and 16 September 2022.

Reshaping the Collectible is grounded in six studies focused on works in the Tate collection: works that unfold over time and exist in multiple forms; works that challenge the boundaries between artwork, record and archive, and rely on complex networks of people, skills and technologies outside of the museum.

At the heart of this initiative is a desire to open up the museum and provide a generous invitation to Tate’s public, making visible the invisible lives of artworks as they unfold within, and in dialogue with, the museum.

We are adding material to the website as it becomes ready for publication. Further texts are forthcoming, and the next grouping will be on the study of ‘When Archives and Records Live in the Museum’.


Follow @TateResearch on Twitter for the latest updates.

Upcoming event

The Lives of Artworks

The Lives of Net Art

  • Look Closer

    What are internet artworks and how do we care for them?

    Explore the challenges faced by a museum when collecting and conserving 'net art'
  • Tate Modern

    Lives of Net Art

    A day-long series of talks, workshops and interactive experiences that explored how artists use the internet
  • Tate Modern

    Lives of Net Art: Christiane Paul

    A conversation about how museums engage with internet art, with Christiane Paul, Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, Gary Stewart and Anne Barlow
  • Read

    (Net) FOREVER Art :)

    Marina Valle Noronha

    Reporting on the Lives of Net Art events, Noronha asks what might we learn from net art’s impermanence?

Tony Conrad

Tony Conrad (1940–2016) was an American artist, composer, musician, performer, teacher and filmmaker. A key figure in the New York avant-garde art scene in the 1960s, Conrad is best known for his seminal experiments in minimal, long-duration sound and structural filmmaking. His works explored the conceptual and material properties of film and he used video and performance to explore themes of power and authority. The subject of this focused study is Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain, first performed in 1972, a powerful audio-visual performance that pairs hypnotic film loops with droning strings.

Ima-Abasi Okon

How have we approached this research?

About us & our work

Led by Professor Pip Laurenson, working in close collaboration with staff in the Collection Care Division, researchers are embedded within various teams across Tate and all work in close collaboration with a range of staff across the organisation. The initiative also hosts four visiting fellowships and two collaborative doctoral students.

Subscribe to our mailing list

For general enquiries or to join our mailing list, please contact

Mellon Foundation logo

Reshaping the Collectible: When Artworks Live in the Museum is funded by a grant from The Mellon Foundation, and runs until 2022.