We called up the art insurance company AXA ART to ask what Sandy-affected galleries can expect in the days ahead. A rep tells us they’re currently moving artworks to a warehouse, where they’re performing “art triage,” so cheers to that. They also gave us a few tips for dealing with the aftermath. New gallerists in particular will want to look at this:
1. Photograph your rooms and document any damages to works of art.
2. Furniture is particularly vulnerable when flooding occurs. Decorative wood elements may become loose or detached. Check for loose, damaged, or deteriorating wood. Arrange to have these pieces of furniture treated by a conservator as soon as possible.
3. If objects are wet, gently blot off excess moisture with towels or blotting paper. Remove wet backings, mats, and frames.
4. Remove any remaining wrapping on outdoor objects and rinse the sculpture with clean water.
5. Move works to an air-conditioned area. If there is no power, move works to a lighted area with air movement. Mold develops quickly in high humidity, high temperature, and darkness but cannot survive in well-ventilated conditions.
6. A fine layer of salt may have been deposited on works during the storm. Carefully dust secure works with a soft brush and wipe metal objects with a soft cloth.
7. Contact a conservator as soon as possible, as early treatment can reduce damages to paintings, sculpture, and works on paper.
8. In the event of a loss, contact your broker or insurance company immediately.