Volume 19, Number 1 .... January 1997


Susana Zubiate, Column Editor

"Artbook to End All Artbooks", by Suzanne Muchnic in Los Angeles Times, Friday, October 11, 1996, pp.A1, A14.

The Dictionary of Art is a 34 volume work promoted as the most comprehensive art historical reference ever. The art book was compiled over a period of sixteen years with 6,700 contributing authors from 120 countries who wrote 41,000 articles on the "entire history of visual arts worldwide". The company which compiled the work is Grove Dictionaries Inc., a London firm. The volumes are said to encompass all the visual arts except film and not only cover the traditional art historical subjects but also "reflect revisionist scholarship and art trends of recent years", including the changes brought about by the fall of communism and the dismantling of the Soviet Union. The dictionary sells for $8,800.

"Creating Nanophase Materials" by Richard Siegel in Scientific American, Dec. 1996, Vol. 275, No. 6 , pp.74 - 79.

This intriguing article describes a technology which is certain to expand the knowledge and use of materials as we know them now. Nanophase materials are clearly defined and examples are given of the various chemical, magnetic, electric and optical properties that can be attained with nanophase metals, ceramics and polymers.

"Nanophase metals, ceramics and other solids are made of the same atoms as their more common forms, but the atoms are arranged in nanometer-size clusters which become the constituent grains or building blocks of these new materials. And, whereas the grains in conventional materials range from microns to millimeters in diameter and contain several billion atoms, those in nanophase materials are less than 100 nanometers in diameter and contain fewer than tens of thousands of atoms."

Shrinking structural grains 10,000 fold, makes the tiny grains respond to light, mechanical stress and electricity very differently than conventional materials. This technology allows the manufacturer to prescribe the strength, color and plasticity as well as manipulate the optical, chemical and electrical characteristics of a material. For example, nanophase copper metal can be made to be five times stronger than ordinary metal; nanophase ceramics can be made to resist breaking; the increase of surface area and difference in size allows for various chemical and optical changes; and in controlling electrical and magnetic characteristics it could have significant impact on magnetic media, not to mention the production and conservation of art.

"...In Brief" in ARTnews, Oct. 1996, p.76

"The British government announced a plan to bring museums and art galleries in the United Kingdom on-line by the end of the millennium." Some $750 million in funds are being allocated to the project. The National Gallery, the British Museum, and the Science Museum are expected to be among the first organizations to get on the Web.

"Into the Salt Mine to Save Works of Art" in National Geographic, December 1996, Geographica.

In a U.S. - Polish venture, Weiliczka mine near Krakow, a salt mine that has been worked for the past 700 years, was monitored for temperature, humidity, air flow and pollution with the hopes of preserving the dissolving rock salt artwork inside. The mine contains figures of "saints, and rulers, miners and heroes". The miners who began to sculpt the rock salt in the 17th c. created galleries filled with these figures. "The artistry reached its apex in the magnificent 331-foot -deep Princess Kinga's Chapel where one wall bears a relief of the Holy Family and even the teardrops in the chandeliers are made of rock salt." The site has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1978. An air cooler and dehumidifier is currently being installed to help preserve the work inside.

"Two Greek Warriors Go 'Under the Knife' " by Boris Weintraub in National Geographic, Oct. 1996, Geographica

Two fifth-century B.C. bronzes found off the coast of Riace, Italy in 1972 were stabilized to go on display in the city of Reggio di Calabria. The clay casting core of the statues (about 260 pounds), which was saturated with salt from ocean burial, was removed by inserting a miniature TV camera through existing holes in the head and feet of the statues, and manipulating tiny cleaning tools on extensions arms.

New Museum and Art Gallery Lighting Book

The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America has just published its Recommended Practice for Museum and Art Gallery Lighting. Contents include: Design guidelines; Damage to museum exhibits; Typical lighting problems; Architectural aspects and daylight; Light sources; Luminaires and accessories; Light controls; Measurements and measuring instruments; Lighting computations; and Maintenance and budget. Additional information on Tracking light, Exposure, Museum lighting specifications, List of photometers, Glossary, and Bibliography are included along with References.

Decisions regarding museum lighting must consider the curator's intended message, the designer's aesthetic presentation, and the conservation needs of the artifacts on display. This document enhances the decision-making process by providing specific standards for satisfying the special requirements of museums, galleries, and private collections.

1996. 88 pages. List price $60.00.
ISBN # 0-87995-132-X. 8 1/2"by 11" softcover.
IES/NA Publications, 120 Wall St., 17th Floor,
New York, N.Y. 10005. Phone (212) 240-5000, ext.112.
Order # RP-30-96.

Major Changes in Lighting

by Daniel Howell

The U.S. Federal Energy Legislation enacted in 1992 and phased in during 1994 and 1995 has greatly impacted the lighting industry. In an effort to conserve the nation's energy resources, the legislation now prohibits the manufacture and importation of many common wattage fluorescent and directional incandescent lamps (light bulbs) in the U.S.

Among the obsolete lamp types are: standard wattage fluorescent 8' and 4' 1 1/2" diameter lamps in these colors - white (W), cool white (CW), warm white (WW), daylight (D), and some others; standard wattage R (reflector) and PAR (parabolic reflector) lamps from 40 watts to 205 watts.

There are many replacements for the obsolete lamps. But they are not one for one replacements. Approved lamps may produce more or less light than the old ones. Your lighting system may have to be adapted or changed for optimum use. Initial price of the newer lamps is higher. However, with longer life and the lower energy requirements, the total cost of the new light sources is lower. Better color, reduced UV emission, crisper light etc. are part of the benefit package that makes for a better visual environment.

For more information, contact:
G.E. Lighting (800) 626-2000
Osram Sylvania (800) 842-7010
Philips (800) 247-6090
The IESNA (212) 248-5000
or me at (213) 226-0126.

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