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08 Aug 2013

How Hurricane Sandy Will Effect The Art Insurance Industry

ArtNews, Michelle Falkenstein

Thatcher Projects during post-Sandy repairs, with Bill Thompson’s wall sculptures protected under plastic. ©2013 CLAIRE VOON

As Hurricane Sandy approached New York City in late October last year, the residents in Zone A—the low-lying areas with the most potential for flooding—were ordered to evacuate by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Based on its geographic footprint, Zone A could be an abbreviation for Zone Art: it includes Chelsea, home to one of the world’s largest concentrations of contemporary art galleries, as well as Red Hook in Brooklyn and Long Island City in Queens, places teeming with art-storage facilities and artists’ studios. So the people left, and the art, for the most part, remained. Then the storm came.

The next day, Jennifer Schipf, an art-insurance underwriter for the XL Group, visited Chelsea to see how her clients had fared. “It was like a ghost town,” she recalls. “It was very disturbing to walk through water to see the art. The gallerists were distraught, like deer in headlights.” For weeks, art lay on gallery floors and rested on blocks in an attempt to dry it out; conservators worked frantically to salvage what they could from the effects of mold, salt water, and chemical residue.  Read More

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