Super storm Sandy has been described as the worst disaster affecting NYC – and its art – since 9/11. Beth Antoine, coordinator at the American Institute for Conservation told the Guardian, “We’re expecting a whole lot of damage to be reported for weeks ahead.”
In anticipation of the storm’s arrival, the Museum of Modern Art removed works from their sculpture garden and wrapped and secured others. The Public Art Fund closed and secured an installation. The Metropolitan Museum of Art took precautions with their roof sculptures and the Storm King Sculpture Park up state, removed and tethered numerous pieces.
Chelsea and downtown galleries were the hardest hit, with many dealers sustaining significant damage to art and property despite sandbag precautions. In Midtown, which escaped the worst of the damage, The Metropolitan Museum of Art was able to re-open just two days after the storm hit. The Witney Museum of American Art and the Frick Collection opened yesterday. Sotheby’s New York announced that it has postponed its Impressionist and Modern Art sale because of disruption caused to people’s travel plans.
For many the cleanup operation has barely begun with gallery owners still unable to access their premises. The full extent of the storm’s impact on one of the world’s major art capitals and its art collections remains unclear.