Volume 1, Number 3, Sept. 1979, p.3.



Committee for Outdoor Objects and Monuments in Public Trust

WAAC Members are requested to review the following document, and forward their comments to Myrna Saxe, 4351 Allott Avenue, Sherman Oaks, California 91423. Comments must be received no later than September 30, 1979 in order that the Membership of WAAC can pass a Resolution at the next meeting in Portland. This resolution will urge the Western States Council of the American Institute of Architects, Departments of Historic Preservation, Departments of Parks and Recreation and Departments of State Architects to attempt to follow these guidelines and to make them aware of the existence of the Western Association of Art Conservators and the availability of professional art conservators in the care of artistic and historic objects.

Guidelines and Procedures for the Conservation and Preservation of Artistic Monuments and Artistic Portions of Historic Monuments

The term "ARTISTIC" refers to any object, or any portion of an object, either free standing or incorporated into a structure, that contains particular aesthetic value in the form of surface finishes, natural or manufactured patina, paint, design, sculpted forms, incisions, unique or unusual craftsmanship, or unique or unusual materials.

I. Documentation and Analysis

Before commencing the actual work on the object or monument it is essential that the following information and documents be provided by a professional conservator together with appropriate experts.

  1. A professional analysis of the chemical and physical nature of each element of which the monument is composed, and the nature and extent of degradation of that element.
  2. Architectural drawings (elevations), when applicable.
  3. History of the object or monument, including previous treatments.
  4. Detailed, current photographs of the entire monument, each element of the object or monument must be readily identifiable.
  5. A set of the oldest available photographs.

II. Treatment and Procedure Proposal

When the above documents and information have been amassed, a detailed treatment proposal will be provided by a professional Art Conservator. The treatment proposal will include all of the following items and will form the basis of a binding contract between client and conservator, separate from any architectural contract. Any change in the procedure must be approved by both parties.

  1. The sequence of treatment, from beginning to end, of the entire conservation and restoration procedure and the techniques that will be used in the course of that treatment.
  2. The nature and quality of the materials to be used in the treatment.
  3. Future care recommendations, including precautions for possible incompatible treatments.

III. Performance of Condition and Restoration Treatment

The conservation and restoration of artistic monuments differs from other structures in the fact that minute surface details, such as texture, patinas, color, refractive index and proportions of one element to another are intrinsic to the nature of the object in the manner produced by the original artist. It is therefore essential that:

  1. The terms "conservation" and "preservation" imply that as much of the original monument will be preserved; that is, cleaned, consolidated and/or repaired to the greatest extent possible.
  2. Those elements that cannot be conserved may be replaced by "restoration" procedures to resemble the original pieces to the end that the object or monument after completion of treatment is the same, visually and functionally, as the original monument.
  3. Treatment on all artistic elements must be performed by a professional art conservator or by experienced artisans skilled in the treatment of delicate materials and under the direct supervision of a professional art conservator.
  4. Because unusual chemicals and tools are used in many conservation treatments, and because of the often erratic shape of artistic monuments it is essential that the conservator adhere to the Building and Occupational Safety requirements of the City, State and Federal Governments.

Artist Interviews

The Artist Interview Committee is presently working on a standard form which can be used by the interviewer to extract as much information as possible from the artist. It is obvious, from the replies received during initial correspondence with the committee, that each area of discipline will require its own form.

Ms. Pat Nauert, Registrar at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Vice-President of the Registrar's Committee of the American Association of Museums, feels that registrars would be extremely interested in participating in our interviewing activities. She is certain that if we are able to initiate a standard for interviews, that registrars can easily incorporate this information form into their daily routine. As you know, registrars are continually in touch with artists concerning exhibitions, shipping, and storage and asking these questions could become second nature for them.

The next AAM meeting is in Portland the week after WAAC's October 11 and 12th meeting. Ms. Nauert will, at that time, present her suggestions regarding the work of our Artist Interview Committee. To this end, we would like to have our ideas as developed as possible, so that we may present the AAM with a solid format or several formats which they may consider.

The committee encourages participation from all the WAAC membership and looks forward to your input at the Portland meeting or by correspondence. Please contact Victoria Blyth or Denise Domergue at the WAAC mailing address.

Name Change

The committee responsible for examining a name change for WAAC, as discussed at the April meeting, has considered numerous possibilities over the last few months. The committee has decided that no dramatic name change is necessary. After considering the pros and cons of using the word "art" in our name, the feeling is that the term "Art Conservation" still best describes our field of interest--whether it be in the field of fine arts or in historical artifacts conservation. Therefore, the committee will recommend at the Portland meeting that there be either no change in the name or we reaffirm the change to Western Association for Art Conservation, the choice being directly related to the resolution of the question of professional categories. If anyone wishes to comment on this recommendation, please contact Leslie Kruth in Los Angeles or Pauline Mohr in San Francisco.

Committee on the Role of the Conservator in the Development of Museum Programs for the Handicapped

The AIC has formed an official Committee for Conservation and the Handicapped with Jim Greaves as Chairman. If your institution has a program or has had particular problems or successes in dealing with the handicapped, please contact Jim. Response through administrative channels is often incomplete or non-existent so it is especially important that conservators respond with their experiences and views.

Resource Booklet

The Resource Booklet Committee is still gathering information for conservation sources on the West Coast. Please continue to send information to your local committee representatives. They are: Teri Oikawa-Picante, San Francisco; Scott Haskins, Provo; Judith Rieniets, Oakland; Sarah Fisher, San Diego; A.A. Dwan. Nevada City, Leslie Kruth and Zora Pinney in Los Angeles. Judy Larson is resigning as committee chairman because she is moving to the east coast. A new chairman will be chosen at the fall meeting. We are still open for new committee members. If you would like to join, please write to the attention of the Secretary-Treasurer, WAAC in care of LACMA for information.

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