protecting textured hanging art without glass
September 5, 2019 8:09 PM   Subscribe

I came upon a print/drawing on textured paper that was framed with glass and realized it would look much better without the glass, but how do I protect it?

I happened upon a small signed Joseph Demarais work from 1965 at a thrift store for $4, sweet! It was framed, I cracked the glass on accident and realized the work was way way better without the glass; it's some kind of charcoal rubbing on textured paper and the texture really shows off its depth without any reflections over the top and that was not evident with hazy old glass. However, I am concerned about protecting it without glass. I think the charcoal could be easily smeared or the paper texture dented with no protection. I am willing to hang it far out of harm's way but the environment in my home could still hurt it. What is my best move to show this piece off? Is there some kind of invisible conservation spray or something that would allow me to hang it without glass but at least give it resistance to dust, humidity fluctuation and UV? I will order some kind of replacement glass or something if I must, but it does really look better uncovered
posted by slow graffiti to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You can spring for museum glass - which is far more clear and less reflective- and far more expensive. Of course clean new glass might be enough improvement. Spraying withy some kind of varnish could darken it and isn’t generally great for works on paper.
posted by leslies at 8:24 PM on September 5, 2019

Pay a good frame shop for True Vue plexi. No reflections and you forget it’s even there.
posted by PussKillian at 8:36 PM on September 5, 2019

Was the art touching the glass or was it matted? The space between the glass and the art that a matte provides makes everything look better.
posted by jonathanhughes at 8:54 PM on September 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

If you're serious about protecting it, take it to a museum quality framer.

Charcoal and other friable media are so delicate, plus the inherent fragility of works on paper (light exposure is cumulative and non reversible!) that keeping it in an "envelope," protected on all sides, is the basic standard of care. Museum glass or UV-plexi (which I like, since it doesn't break the way glass does) are both good options.

If you don't want to cover the surface, please accept that it will degrade in ways that may or may not be visible to you over time but which are nonetheless permanent. Think of it as ephemera instead of a stable, permanent work - more like performance art or something else time-based.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 6:58 AM on September 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Have you considered using a shallow shadow box? That would keep the glass of the piece itself, but would save dust from hitting it. If you use good glass, it can also cut the harmful UV, too.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:07 AM on September 6, 2019

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