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Subject: Ethics and materials

Ethics and materials

From: Geoffrey I. Brown <gibrown>
Date: Monday, October 9, 1995
In response to the inquiry of Simon Hogg regarding the ethics of
advising artists on materials, I suggest that this is not so much an
ethics concern but one of responsibility.  I strongly believe that
it is our responsibility as conservators to instruct/advise artists
on what we know about the longevity of the materials they might be
using or might consider using.  The problem, more often than not, is
that most of the artists that I have met are simply not interested
in such information, nor are many of the art instruction programs.

On the other hand, I have enjoyed many associations with artists who
are concerned about materials and have expended the time and effort
(and occasionally fees) to seek my help with both specific and
general concerns.  Whenever I give presentations to the public,
particularly when I expect attendance by artists or art faculty, I
discuss the issue of materials selection.  I believe that
conservation concerns should be taught routinely in art schools, but
I expect to wait a long time before this is prevalent.

We can not force artists to take our advice, or even to listen to
us, so it is not an ethical question for us.  The ethics issues are
for the artists, providing that we are willing to provide them with
the information.  Part of our professional responsibility is public
education and the public includes the artists.

Geoffrey Brown
Kelsey Museum
University of Michigan

                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:33
                 Distributed: Tuesday, October 10, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-9-33-010
Received on Monday, 9 October, 1995

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