Julia and Lynsdey presented a fantastic example of how increasingly important it is becoming to reach across conservation specialties and across professions in order to make better preservation decisions. As a modern and contemporary paintings conservator, I have often sought the advice of objects and paper conservators when an artwork I am treating defies traditional materials and categories.
Most papers, posters, and talks presented at conservation conferences are linked to specific museums and institutions. The private practice conservator is underrepresented within this setting, perhaps for obvious reasons involving a lack of funding, time, and resources for in-depth research projects and papers. So, I was pleased to see this paper, which brings up important (but often ignored) questions related to the differences between a private studio and an institutional department. Different considerations must be addressed when working with a private client rather than working within a large museum institution. So, how do we create a code of ethics which addresses this reality, rather than ignores it?
During the Q&A following this talk session, there arose a discussion regarding the impact of insurance companies on the value of a work. There have been issues with insurance companies collecting artworks from the insured owners after the work was considered to be a total loss. Then the insurance company has the artwork restored and reintroduced back into the art market. What should be our role in such circumstances? Do we refuse to treat such an artwork and become “ethics police” or do we remain separated from these decisions? Either way, it seems that we as conservators play an undeniable role in the art market.
Post by: Sharra Grow