Volume 15, Number 1, Jan 1993, p.1-2

President's Letter

by Patricia Leavengood

The 1992 WAAC Annual Meeting was held in the beautiful and culturally vibrant city of Santa Fe, and offered to those attending a diverse program of slide lectures, a symposium on Tibetan thangkas, and a one-day workshop on cleaning techniques presented by Richard Wolbers. Past president Tatyana Thompson was responsible for the pre-conference preparations and the hour-to- hour planning of the meeting. Due to the imminent birth of her son Nicholas, Tanya was not able to attend. She was deeply missed, and all those who stepped in to fill her place were extremely grateful for her foresight and meticulous planning. I know I speak for all members in expressing heartfelt thanks to Tanya for her extraordinary efforts in behalf of WAAC during the past year.

We are also greatly appreciative of Victoria Blyth-Hill and Susan Sayre Batton for their organization of the symposium on Tibetan thangkas. Presentations by art historians, collectors, and a gallery owner were an educational complement to the conservation segment of the program. During the lectures we were treated to many exquisite slide images of thangkas, as well as reflections on both their physical and spiritual properties. (Summaries of the presentations on page 5.)

Visits to Santa Fe galleries and museums were enhanced by the papers of local conservators Landis Smith, Claire Munzenrider, Keith Bakker, and Bettina Raphael, who provided fascinating and thought-provoking information on the arts of the Southwest; in particular, how conservators' approaches to the objects they treat are affected by art historians, curators, the art market, and other taste arbiters. (Summaries on pages 23-26.)

I would like to thank Richard Wolbers, as well, for his patient and clear explication of the new methods he has developed for the cleaning of cultural materials. The day devoted to these revolutionary techniques was enriched by the illustrated case histories presented by Anita Noennig and Chris Stavroudis, and a presentation by Sharon Shore, as well as by questions and comments from the audience. (Summaries on pages 7-9.)

Conservator Luis Neri-Zagal and the Institute for American Indian Arts deserve special thanks for the beautiful reception held at the IAIA, which included Luis's wonderful homemade hors d'oeuvres.

Finally, the meeting would not have been the success it was without the unstinting work of the local conservators, most especially Landis Smith, who labored tirelessly for several weeks on the day-to-day details of the conference and who kept everything on course during the meeting. Claire Munzenrider provided support and hospitality at the Museum of New Mexico, and David Rasch was the unflappable and highly efficient master of the slide projector. To each of you--and to Steven Prins, Bruce and Janice Takami, Bettina Raphael, Molly Mehaffey, Patricia Morris, Martha Little, and Rob Proctor for your contributions--a sincere thank you.

Congratulations to our new WAAC vice president, Lesley Bone, and to the new members-at-large Jane Bassett, Sharon Shore, and Elisabeth Mention. Mary Piper Hough has graciously agreed to continue as our Secretary-Treasurer, contributing much-needed continuity to this complex position. Our indispensable membership secretary remains Chris Stavroudis.

WAAC Members have been offered a special discount on Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts (AATA), which will no longer be a free benefit of membership in IIC. Thank you to Janet Bridgland and others at the Getty Conservation Institute who arranged for this discount.

Planning for the next Annual Meeting, 2-5 October 1993, is already underway. Acting on the requests of many WAAC members, we have arranged to hold the meeting in a retreat-like setting that will afford a relaxed and intimate atmosphere for presentations and discussions.

The Marconi Conference Center is located on the Marin County coast in northern California. Information about attractions in the area and a description of the center are provided on page 4. Because the California Parks Department, which operates the conference center, requires full payment in advance for all facilities and services, we must ask WAAC members to pay the conference registration fee--and, if you will be staying at the conference center, the lodging and meals fees--earlier than usual. Although payment in full is required in advance, the overall cost of the meeting will be considerably less than past meetings held in urban hotels.

We will need to collect your conference fees in June, so please plan ahead!

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