Painting restoration and cleaning artwork is the subject of what we suspect is humor from Harvard. The award was reported in “Chemistry World” which has been given out since 1991 called the “Ig® Nobel Prize”, “For achievements that first make people LAUGH then make them THINK”
This year’s chemistry Ig Nobel prize has been awarded for showing that human saliva is a good cleaning agent for paintings and historical artifacts. Its not really a traffic stopping discovery… its been part of the restoration processes, probably, for millennia.
After a meeting at the national annual conference for the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) in Chicago and a visit in Madrid and Toledo, Spain, renown painting conservator Julia Betancor was invited to come to our lab in Santa Barbara, CA to collaborate on several projects. Of interest to her were our organization and services for responding to the disasters for the preservation, cleaning of art related items. She has been previously involved with such projects in Toledo and Madrid. Here is a quick video about one of her projects:
At the end of 2017, I received a phone call from the general contractor organizing the renovation of the Smithsonian museum’s the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. The renovation would include the mural removal of 5 enormous iconic murals and since I was a pre-approved mural restoration expert for the federal government they requested my input to help them understand the potential problems of this endeavor.
The problems were compounded by the task of asbestos abatement (and probably lead also) and as an expert art conservation consultant, I worked with them, tweeking the details for about 8 months.
Santa Barbara New Press Radio KZSB 1290 AM interviewed me this morning with veteran host and art appraiser Elizabeth Stewart on the “Art and Antiques Radio Program”
Given the abundance of very destructive disasters in our area recently (two wildfires and the Montecito mudslide since last December) the focus of the program was preparing for disasters. Not a very sexy subject but it is compelling when you think about the items in a household that tell the family’s history and there are collectibles that could be worth more than the house.
Of course, none of the discussion was canned advice from a website. Personal stories were abundant, and it was a lively and fun interview, not drab or philosophical at all as you might expect with Elizabeth who is really fun in real life.
Octopus and sharks in art… This is a mural that Fine Art Conservation Laboratoriescleaned and coated for protection for long term preservation in Santa Monica, California during the last couple of days. While this mural is not at risk for vandalism and graffiti, the varnishing will ensure much better long term condition
Questions? Call FACL, Inc. at 805 564 3438 firstname.lastname@example.org
“Amateur restoration attempt ruins artwork,” ABC reports during Action News on July 1, 2018 as did dozens of other international news sources including U.S. & World Report
Their warning and coaching for you? “Recruiting an amateur to restore a treasured piece of artwork is probably not the best idea. So the art world and especially the art conservation profession should not be surprised that a 16th-century Spanish sculpture is now ruined.” As a short cut to proper and careful cleaning to bring back the original period appearance, someone painted over the Statue of Saint Jorge, changing its original colors in order to save some money… a total hack job… the destruction of history.
Murals by living artists in public venues are mostly located throughout city locations accessible by the public. The international problems with their protection, preservation and restoration are common issues confronted by specialized art conservation professionals hired by city governments, historical organizations and corporations. The quality of the artwork varies from illegal spray-can-paste-up street art that morphs out of the graffiti sub-culture to fine artists with formal training and techniques that create community pride-of-ownership monuments and landmarks.