Volume 16, Number 1, Jan. 1994, pp.30-31
"The first signs of creatures that walked on two feet and one of the earliest sites of a camp made by human ancestors are slowly being destroyed through vandalism and neglect." The sites are Olduvai Gorge and Laetoli in Tanzania. Tanzanian officials and staff from the Getty Conservation Institute are discussing a joint preservation project that may start next year.
Discusses concrete: its structure, its deterioration, various compositions, and how it is studied.
D-limonene, a citrus rind-oil-derived chemical touted a "natural" and "non-toxic" has been found to have many health hazards for users. Brands containing it include Grumtine, Permtine, Citrisolv, and many more. ACTS Facts will send a data sheet on D- limonene if you send a request and a self-addressed stamped envelope to: M. Rossol, ACTS Facts, 181 THompson STreet #23, New York, NY 10012-2586.
A "fascinating compilation of data on factors influencing particle deposition" is briefly reviewed. The "compilation" is the book Airborne Particles in Museums, available from the Getty Book Distribution Center, P.O. Box 2112, Santa Monica, CA 90407.
Rossol notes a "serious error in ... recommendations for preventing soiling. They suggest reducing museum ventilation to a minimum of 8.5 cubic meters per hour per person--a rate considered adequate by ASHRAE in 1985 before 'sick building' problems were considered."
A special issue devoted to wax hazards and how to protect yourself from these hazards when wax is used in art and craft work. Note: wax becomes hazardous only when heated or burned.
When Alfred Gilbert's sculpture of "Eros" decorating London's busy Piccadilly Circus was taken down for repair or replacement, it was learned that the rights to make casts of the sculpture had been sold in the eighties. Anthony Radcliffe, keeper of sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 1979 to 1989, arranged for the Fine Art Society and four private collectors to hold these casting rights. The original aluminum cast is in poor condition due to pollution and vandalism, so it is hoped that a cast could be made to replace the Piccadilly monument. The Fine Art Society is asking for $230,999 for a replica.
In 1991 two pages of an early Kufic Koran were offered to Daniel Walker, the head of the Islamic Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Mr. Walker referred the transparencies to Estelle Whelan at Columbia University. Ms. Whelan recognized the two pages as belonging to the Beatty collection, a large Islamic collection belonging to the Chester Beatty Library and Gallery of Oriental Art in Dublin. Ms. Whelan knew that the collection could not be sold, and questioned this offer. As it turned out, David James, the "unofficial ambassador for the Beatty," who had recently been passed over for the job of museum director, "embittered and feeling that he had been insensitively treated, began to steal from the collection." James admitted to stealing and selling 36 separate items, and aided in the recovery of these, but large bundles of manuscripts had been broken up and their recovery is yet uncompleted. Mr. James' cooperation contributed to a lenient sentence of 5 years' imprisonment, and three of these were suspended by the judge.
A report of the WCG's November meeting, providing detailed information about preservation problems for particular pieces of outdoor sculpture, various treatment efforts, and how well these treatments have worked.
The condition of seven sculptures on the Smithsonian Mall's south side is discussed (the attendees of the meeting went on a walking tour to see and hear about these pieces). Lee Aks spoke about problems stemming from an exhibition of Desert Storm equipment near the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden in June 1991. A helicopter hovering near the ground kicked up gravel and debris that pitted metal sculpture.
Henry Lie gave a slide presentation titled "Treatment and Maintenance of Outdoor Bronze Sculpture," in which numerous sculptures and their condition and conservation history is reported.
Precautions are suggested to make the papermaking process less hazardous to human health and safety. The article is an excerpt from a forthcoming book, "Artist Beware," also by McCann.
A project is underway to conduct a preservation needs-assessment project for significant collections of library and archive materials in the performing arts. Inquiries may be addressed to Brigitte Kueppers or Christopher Coleman, Preservation Office, UCLA Library, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024.
One of the largest and most comprehensive collections of artifacts belonging to the civilization of Lydia will be returned to the Turkish government by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The collection was acquired in the early 1960s under somewhat questionable circumstances. The Turkish government filed suit against the Met in Manhattan Federal District Court in 1987 and successfully proved ownership.
A fire in the Dusseldorf Kunstmuseum in early September has totally destroyed a Nam June Paik video installation. The origin of the fire is believed to have been a short circuit in the power supply unit that supplies the video installation. The museum will be closed until mid-1994. Traces of dioxin generated from the burning monitors have been found throughout the ventilation system and on most of the famous medieval art belonging to the museum.
65-million-year-old fossil eggs from China were nearly hit by a falling TV spotlight at the Museum of Science in Boston. The fossils were in a display case, but apparently the vitrine had been removed for filming. The falling light "mainly hit the rim of the display case."
Life-size sand sculptures depicting the Last Supper, built by Ted Conibear in the 1960s, have been bulldozed after authorization from the artist's family. The heads and hands of the sculptures had been vandalized in the past, and the family said the site was increasingly expensive to maintain.