New Art- large, unwieldy, fragile, its demands and the solutions
THE NATURE AND FORM OF ARTWORKS HAS CHANGED DRAMATICALLY IN THE 20th AND 21st CENTURIES IN TERMS OF MEDIUM, SCALE, INTENT, AND FORMAT. THIS CREATES NEW AND CHALLENGING CONCERNS AND SOLUTIONS TO TRANSPORT, INSTALL AND STORE THESE INNOVATIVE WORKS. IT IS MORE CRUCIAL THAN EVER THAT THE ARTIST, GALLERY, COLLECTOR AND MUSEUM HAVE A SUPPORT SYSTEM OF EXPERIENCED ART HANDLERS WHO HAVE THE EXPERIENCE AND WHEREWITHAL TO UNDERSTAND AND SOLVE THE DYNAMICS THAT ARISE TO PROTECT THE MARVELOUSLY INVENTIVE OBJECTS, SCULPTURES, MONUMENTAL PHOTOGRAPHS AND SCULPTURE THAT ARE ALL NOW VERY MUCH PART OF THE EXHIBITION, PRIVATE AND PUBLIC COLLECTION VERNACULAR.
WERNER, OWNER AND HEAD OF SAFE ART TRANSPORT, LOCATED IN LONG ISLAND CITY, www.safeart.com, , AND HIS SAT TEAM , IS SUCH AN EXPERT. HIS EXPERIENCE AND CONTINUED INTEREST IN STAYING CURRENT AND MEETING THESE CHALLENGES HAS CERTAINLY BEEN RECOGNIZED BY THE EXCEPTIONAL ARTISTS, DEALERS AND COLLECTORS THAT SEEK OUT SAT’S EXPERTISE.
WERNER, THANKS SO MUCH FOR ADDRESSING THESE CONCERNS.
AS THE ART COMMUNITY HAS EXPANDED ENORMOUSLY, AND THE SCOPE OF WORKS INCLUDE LARGE-SCALED PHOTOGRAPHS, INSTALLATIONS, MULTI-MEDIA, NEON AND OTHER LESS CONVENTIONAL SCULPTURAL MATERIALS THAN METAL, WOOD AND BRONZE, HOW HAS SAT MET THE INCREASINGLY VARIED DEMANDS OF HANDLING THIS ART?
All of our installation supervisors have a background in construction. The knowledge of city codes and an understanding of local building practices help with making quick decisions on the proper hardware that is required to hang difficult installations. We have handled everything from chocolate sculptures on hot summer days to Yves Klein pigment pieces. Our trucks are air-ride suspended and climate controlled. The right equipment is the key to a successful job. We have also attended seminars like the Brooklyn Museum’s “Art in Transit” course and are regulars on live chats with the TSA. Working with a number of curators and restaurateurs over the years has also honed our skills in art handling.
HOW DO YOU TRAIN YOUR STAFF TO HANDLE ART? IT IS A HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE, TEAMING UP MORE SEASONED INSTALLERS WITH NEW ONES OR ARE THERE SPECIFIC GUIDELINES TO STUDY AND LEARN IN ORDER TO QUALIFY?
In prospective employees we look for people who are somewhat familiar with the business, whether it is a college degree in fine art or those that are artists themselves. Obviously, it helps to have had some art handling experience. Primarily, skills are acquired through on-the-job training. It takes years to become familiar with all the different artists and their preferences.
WHAT WOULD YOUR PRACTICAL RECOMMENDATIONS BE FOR A COLLECTOR IN TERMS OF SAFE STORAGE, INSTALLATION, CLIMATE CONTROL, FIRE AND SECURITY CONCERNS, TO INSURE THE CONDITION OF THEIR ARTWORKS?
Always hire an experienced art handling company with a proven track record. There are many companies out there that do not have the experience or the right equipment to properly handle your invaluable art work.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SPECIFIC CONCERNS THAT INSTALLATIONS OF SCULPTURE PRESENT? HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE REQUIREMENTS OF AN ARTIST’S INTENT IN TERMS OF INSTALLATION OF A COMPLEX 2- or 3- DIMENSIONAL WORK WHEN FACED WITH THE REALITY OF A SPECIFIC SPACE, BE IT IN A COLLECTOR’S RESIDENCE, A GALLERY OR A MUSEUM?
It helps to be familiar with each individual artist’s preferences. We have met a large number of contemporary artists in person and have intimate knowledge of the handling practices in their respective studios. That enables us to assist collectors and curators in their decisions about heights and placement.
I CERTAINLY HAVE A DEEPER APPRECIATION OF THE TRAINING AND EXPERTISE THAT IS INVOLVED. IT IS METICULOUS WORK, EVEN TO CRATE, INSTALL AND SHIP ARTWORK FROM ONE LOCAL VENUE TO ANOTHER.
IN GEOMETRIC PROPORTION, THE CONCERNS AND CONSIDERATIONS MULTIPLY WHEN WORKS ARE TRANSPORTED INTERNATIONALLY. IN THIS GLOBAL MARKET, WITH A BURGEONING OF AUCTIONS, GALLERIES AND ART FAIRS, DEALERS, GALLERIES AND COLLECTORS OFTEN ARE EXPANDING THEIR ACQUISITION AND CLIENT BASES THAT DEMAND KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE TO MEET THESE CHALLENGES.
IN OUR NEXT BLOG, I LOOK FORWARD TO WERNER’S GUIDANCE IN DEALING WITH THE TRANSPORT, CUSTOMS AND SPECIFIC CONCERNS THAT OUR “FLAT WORLD” REQUIRES.