Dry-Mounting Recommendation

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Dry-Mounting Recommendation

Post by Customer » Oct 15, 2010 3:02 pm

Short version: Is there somewhere on your website where you discuss the 'downsides' to dry mounting?

Long version: We have investigated the framing options available to us. I described the art to several local framing shops including a custom-framing place, and each independently recommended against the dry mounting process you suggest on your website. The reasons included (1) instead of preventing wrinkles, it may permanently "trap" a "million" small wrinkles and (2) as it is permanent, it lessens the "value" of the art.

Obviously, you wouldn't agree with this and still recommend it. Is there something I am missing when I represent the art to the framing shops? I have told them it is already mounted to silk matting.


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Location: San Diego / Beijing

Post by Gary » Oct 15, 2010 3:05 pm

The typical argument against dry-mounting is that the artwork becomes bonded permanently to the mount board, thus altering the artwork forever.
The argument continues that doing this would reduce the value of the artwork.

I do not dismiss this argument, but I discount it for the following reasons:

1. While not easy, in a pinch, I could still remove the artwork layer from our mounting media. We bond the thin sheet of xuan paper that contains the artwork to another layer or two of xuan paper to thicken it. The dry-mounting will only bond that back sheet of xuan paper. This is a unique attribute of mounted Chinese artwork (don't confuse this use of the word "mounted" here with dry-mounting - two different processes).

2. The artwork we sell is probably not going to become million-dollar pieces in the future. These are highly-skilled, but not famous artists. You're buying the artwork because you like the way it looks, not because it's an investment. Investment-level artwork starts at $1000 per piece and above in my opinion. The most expensive piece I've ever sold was still under $300.

I've never heard the argument that dry-mounting might create a million tiny wrinkles. That sounds like the argument of someone who does not own a vacuum press, and therefore does not offer this service. Or else, maybe they are not good at the process of dry-mounting. That's just my instinctive feeling/thought when I read what you wrote based on my experiences.

For my local gallery in San Diego, I have dry-mounted hundreds of pieces at a local framer over the past 8 years. I've never had a problem with wrinkles being added to the artwork. Once, we had a piece with a bad wrinkle in it, and I had it dry-mounted in an effort to remove the wrinkle. The result was not perfect, and I ended up sending the piece back to Beijing for it to be unmounted and remounted at our workshop (that is the one case out of hundreds where I wish I had not dry-mounted something).

Personally, I have been far more satisfied with the framed artwork on my own wall that was dry-mounted than the two pieces which were museum-mounted and now have a wavy appearance.

I just had a thought. I wonder if all the framers in your area went to the same school or training, and therefore were giving the same information/opinion on dry-mounting. The "may add a million tiny wrinkles" thing still baffles me to be honest.

Let me know if you need more information.