Article by Ackerman, Mustardo, Murato, Cole

IIC 2017 LA Congress Preprints

Conservation of Sherman’s A Play At Selves which is comprised of 244 framed DOP and RC paper doll-like prints.

The article focuses on the interplay of the conservators (The Better Image) with the concerns of the loving artist, her gallery, her printed, and the owner (Glenstone).

Goals were to balance aesthetic VS physical integrity of the artwork, properly keep records, and carry out a minimal and reversible treatment.

Degraded and suspect photographs were reprinted after agreement from all parties. Due to the decreasing number of DOP artists/studios/materials, the authors recommend archiving addition unexposed and undeveloped papers. The paper chosen for the paper was selected based on surface sheen, surface texture, thickness, tonality, and content of optical brighteners.

Polyester templates were created to graphically document the position of each elements within the three-dimensional space. Color coding was used to denote overlapping relationships.

Two types of adhesives were found to be used: double-sided pressure sensitive tape and PVA glue. Heat was used to reactivate the pressure sensitive tape before it was mechanically removed from photographs and secondary support.

Solvent-based adhesives, liquid or gel adhesives, moisture or solvent reactive adhesives, heat sensitive tape, and pressure sensitive tapeS were tested to determine the best way to read here the reprints.

Some philosophical questions asked by conservation staff included:

  • What percentage of change to the original condition was acceptable? Was this threshold the same for all involved?
  • What percentage of elements can be replaced and the artwork still considered original?
  • Where does the identity of the artwork reside? Does it matter who is physically doing the printing?
  • How do we define surrogate, replica, or re-print?
  • How is the reprinting documented without the original (monetary) value of the object being affected?

The Better Image advocates for the Photograph Information Record (PIR) which created an concise (2 page form) international standard for artist’s questionnaire. Has this form been adopted to other materials?



Natalya Swanson