Volume 18, Number 3 .... September 1996


Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites

James & James Science Publishers Ltd.

Waterside House, 47 Kentish Town Road, London NW1 8NZ, UK, tel +44 171 284 3833, fax +44 171 284 3737. Published quarterly. ISSN 1350-5033.

A new journal dedicated to the preservation and management of archeological sites. Each issue contains peer-reviewed papers and a special Forum section, which offers a platform for comment, information update, criticism and debate. In addition the journal carries short technical notes, commentaries on current developments, a bibliographical digest, book reviews and conference announcements.

The range of topics covered include:

Art, Artifact, and Architecture Law

Jessica Darraby

Clark Boardman Callaghan, 155 Pfingsten Road, Deerfield Road, Deerfield, IL 60015-4998, tel (800) 221-9428, fax (708) 948-9340, 1995. 1,314 pages, loose-leaf binding. $115. ISBN 0-87632-221-6.

Jessica Darraby, who teaches and practices art law in California, has compiled a comprehensive treatise, clearly intended for legal practitioners, curators, auctioneers, appraisers, and preservationists involved in the non creative aspects of the visual arts. This volume, divided into fourteen sections, twenty-two appendices, a complete bibliography of art law, an extensive table of cases, and a very detailed index, is more than 1,300 pages long, loosely bound so that supplements can be added to maintain currency as new case law, statutes, and international agreements come into effect.

Essentially an up-to-date work of reference for those already in the art business, this a very useful handbook on the present state of art law in the United States. The fourteen sections provide a concise overview of the field, ranging from the fundamentals of art law and the structure of art markets to the complexities of the international art trade, intellectual property rights, the peculiar problem of multiples, the competing interests of archaeology, the trade in antiquities, and the protection of cultural patrimony, etc. The heavily documented appendices buttress the contents of the sections, most notably "National Survey of State Laws", "USPAP Appraisal Standards", "Art Auction Laws", "UNESCO Convention", "Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act", and "Visual Artists Rights Act".

Art Restoration: The Culture, the Business, and the Scandal

James Beck and Michael Daley

W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 500 Fifth Ave. New York, N.Y. 10110, tel (212)3545500, fax (212) 869-0856. Paperback, 272 pages, $14.95. ISBN: 0-393-31297-6

"Art historian and Columbia University Professor James Beck and journalist/artist Michael Daley investigate the Sistine Chapel restoration and the whole of the art restoration world. They reveal that behind the Oz-like rhetoric of the scientific establishment and the pronouncements of project directors lies an ambiguous, unstudied realm that threatens the world's art. For this revised edition, they have added considerable new material about the Mona Lisa and the Barnes Foundation. In addition, they assess the Last Judgment, following its restoration, revealing that Michelangelo's work has been irreparably damaged by misguided restorers.

Art restoration, the authors argue, is an age-old and often necessary craft. In the late 19th century, restoration fell into the hands of scientists untrained in the visual skills of the artist or the interpretive methods of the art historian. Armed with a battery of modern chemicals, scientists promised to restore paintings and sculptures to their original splendor.

The restorer's chemicals can eat away not only at the surface scum but also the many layers of infinitely varying paint, protective varnishes, resins, and glues - in some cases disintegrating paint or causing cracks and other deformities, wiping away artistic nuances and delicate features.And the question always remains: what was original, what was the work of early restorers, and what is merely pollution?

With "before" and "after" photos that highlight the damage in various restoration efforts, Beck and Daley provide a comprehensive study of modern restoration techniques and the chemicals used, focusing on the controversial cleaning of the Sistine Chapel and the secretive, zealous efforts of London's National Gal. to clean its collection. Along the way, fraud and excess are exposed as historical analysis outweighs the hasty statements of museum directors. The authors reveal that many restorers are closely linked to chemical manufacturers who gain prestige and publicity when their substances are used in high-profile projects.

They propose a Bill of Rights for art works, which would mandate the conservation of the world's art treasures. To further this aim, James Beck has founded Art Watch International, an organization that collects and disseminates information about restoration issues.

This controversial detective story is a fascinating history of the efforts to bring to life the art of past generations, and an impassioned call to arms. A landmark book in the field, Art Restoration raises critical hackles, as well as exposes the sometimes arcane, always secretive world of art restoration to much-needed scrutiny."

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