By Emily Sharpe | From issue 227, September 2011
Published online 14 Sep 11 (Conservation)
Scientists from institutions including the Tate, the Getty and the Centre de Recherche sur la Conservation des Collections (CRCC) in Paris gathered at London’s Tate Modern this week (12-13 September) for a symposium on the potential impact of microfading and anoxia on collection care.
The symposium marks the culmination of the Tate’s five-year research project to develop for the commercial market a low-oxygen enclosure for works on paper. According to Pip Laurenson, the head of collection care research at the Tate, the institution’s research on microfading and anoxic environments has produced some surprising results. For example, a group of Francis Bacon
ballpoint-pen drawings and 20th-century pastels by Vuillard from the Tate’s collection, while still light-sensitive, are more durable than originally thought.“It seems that, despite real questions about the relationship between real-time fade rates and microfading, we are on the cusp of a sea change in the way we think about lighting and light-sensitivity of works of art, and this could have a profound impact on how we manage collections,” said Laurenson.Other institutions are also exploring anoxic environments, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, which used oxygen-free frames for its six-day display in January of autochromes by Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen. Bertrand Lavédrine, the director of the CRCC, recently told The Art Newspaper that he would like to develop low-cost anoxic frames for collectors
.2. Laetoli, Kenya - Robin Crompton of the University of Liverpool has published a study of australopithecus afarensis early footprints using three dimensional laser scans to confirm that the feet were anatomically modern. This methodology analyzed how force was transmitted by the foot to the ground confirming that the big toe and arch functioned in a very similar manner to the transmission of force by a modern foot.