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Subject: Ethics and materials

Ethics and materials

From: Jerry Shiner <70252.763>
Date: Friday, October 6, 1995
Simon Hogg <s.hogg [at] ic__ac__uk> writes

>If one knows, as a conservator, that a certain material is likely to
>degrade in a certain time period, is it ethical (or indeed is it an
>appropriate question,) to advise an artist not to use certain
>materials.

I spent almost fifteen years labouring in the Elysian fields of art,
half of it as a Master Printer working with a wide range of artists.
With the exception of only a cursory knowledge of pigment stability
and perhaps some understanding of the importance of rag paper, they
cared little for archival concerns.

There is a lot to say about this area (probably of book length) but
I can only agree that most artists do not understand the long term
material consequences of their choice of pigments, binders, glues,
substrates, collage materials, etc. I think a lot of this comes down
to the creative process itself, as well as a lack of education.

Formally teaching about the archival aspects of materials would not
be considered an impingement of "artistic expression", merely
boring.  Many artists do not attend art school.

Perhaps the best place to attempt to initiate such an education
would be through the commercial gallery system, that sells (and
profits from!) the art.  This might be a very interesting place to
discuss this problem.  I'd like to hear of your progress.

Jerry Shiner
Keepsafe Systems (and formerly of The Art Printer, Toronto)

                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:33
                 Distributed: Tuesday, October 10, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-9-33-008
                                  ***
Received on Friday, 6 October, 1995

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