WAACNewsletter
Volume 9, Number 3, Sept 1987, pp.23-24

Conferences in Review

Chris Stavroudis, column editor

"Icon Restoration Conference in Moscow", the ICOM-sponsored conference on the restoration/conservation of icons was held in Moscow, USSR, from March 16-22, 1987. The host institution was the All-Union Soviet Institute of Restoration (VNIIR). About one hundred and eighty restorers, primarily Soviets, attended the conference. The language of the conference was Russian. Translation was available in English, French, and Spanish for the two dozen foreign guests. Each morning and early afternoon, slide-illustrated papers were presented on a variety of topics related to icons, such as identification of organic binders, new varnishes based on Dammar resin, and the use of the microscope in icon restoration.

Each afternoon the participants were taken to museums and conservation departments in and around Moscow. At the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, a reception was held and a guided tour of the collection was given by the director. Photography was allowed at all sites. Participants also had the opportunity to visit the churches and museums of the Kremlin and the Andrei Rublyov Museum of early Russian art.

Additional papers and a poster session were presented one evening at the All-Union Soviet Institute of Restoration at the Novospassky Monastery complex. After the papers, a tour was conducted in the icon restoration department, where actual treatments, such as the use of sturgeon glue, were explained. The atmosphere was open and conversation lively. Most evenings of the conference were devoted to dinners and receptions. Participants were invited to the Bolshoi Theatre for the ballet of Ivan the Terrible.

On the last day of the conference, we were taken seventy-five kilometers outside of Moscow to visit the thirteenth-century Monastery of Zagorsk. This is one of the largest and best preserved fortress monasteries in the USSR, with three museums and a half-dozen gold onion-domed churches.

After the conference, a few participants went on to Leningrad to visit museums, palaces, and conservation facilities. Ten abstracts from the conference papers are available. Some abstracts are in English and others in French. Copies may be obtained by writing to the editor of the AIC Painting Group Newsletter, Ms. Rebecca Rushfield.

Anton Rajer, Center for Conservation and Technical Studies,
Harvard University Art Museums

From the 1st through the 10th of June, Jack Thompson and Jim Croft conducted a workshop in Santa, Idaho, on the technology of the medieval book. The seven participants learned to quarter- split air dried oak and dress it down to size for boards; ret flax and hemp; make thread; make paper; make fore edge clasps; and put it all together to make two books. One was quire sewn and served as a notebook for the course. The other, a blank book, was bound in boards and clasped. The paper and boards used by the participants to make their actual books had been prepared by Thompson and Croft during the two years of preparation for the workshop. The workshop will be conducted again next year, for 14 days, as recommended by the participants. There are no plans for conducting a third workshop.

Jack Thompson, Thompson Conservation Laboratory

"Conservation of Artifacts Made from Plant Materials", was sponsored by The Getty Conservation Institute from June 1 to July 10, 1987. Conservators of textiles and ethnographic materials from Kenya, Denmark, England, Australia, Canada, and the U.S. participated in the seminar.

"Preventative Conservation: The Environment" was held at the Winterthur Museum from 22-27 June, 1987. The course was co- sponsored by the Art Conservation Program of the University of Delaware and The Getty Conservation Institute. This course covered lighting, heating, air conditioning, ventilation, transportation, and pest control within the museum environment.

The Library Binding Service sponsored a conference in Des Moines, Iowa on August 8-9, entitled "The Lessons of History and Experience in the Design of Conservation Bindings." It brought together library binders, librarians, and book conservators to discuss historic book structures, and how desirable features from past styles might be used in solving some of the current book conservation problems. The conference speakers included Bill Anthony, Gary Frost, Christopher Clarkson, Anthony Cains, Nicholas Pickwoad, Don Etherington, Bill Minter, and Guy Petherbridge. Each day the session closed with a panel discussion which was led by Linda Ogden. Among the WAAC members attending were Mel Kavin, Barclay Ogden, Joanne Page, Ruth-Ann Rohman, and Griselda Warr.

Joanne Page, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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