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November 1, 2012

New York's Art World Was Soaked By Hurricane Sandy But Unbowed

By Spear's

Even the art world – that pacific orb which floats beyond the reach of normal mankind – has been affected by Hurricane Sandy

Even the art world – that pacific orb which floats beyond the reach of normal mankind – has been affected by Hurricane Sandy. Chelsea, the Lower Manhattan district famous for its galleries, was inundated.
David Zwirner, who recently opened up shop in London, emailed this:
‘The gallery is postponing our upcoming exhibitions, scheduled to open on Thursday, November 1. Chelsea, like most of lower Manhattan, experienced extensive flooding and is still without power or any reliable transportation.

Pictured above: Flooding in Dumbo, Brooklyn (The Atlantic)

‘Our thoughts are with our fellow New Yorkers, as well as our neighbors in New Jersey, who are still recovering from the enormous devastation.’

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Meanwhile, Sotheby’s have put back their Imp & Mod sale to 8 November not because the road is flooded but because of the difficulty of its international clientele getting to and around New York.
This is no minor thing: this sale has the $50 million Picasso Nature morte aux tulipes, as well as a $6 million Cezanne nude and a couple of fine Schiele drawings.  
Sotheby’s said:
‘In consideration of the significant travel delays into New York and the latest information available from city and state officials, Sotheby’s has briefly postponed its Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale, previously scheduled for Monday 5 November, until Thursday 8 November at 7 pm. This revised timeline will give our clients and international staff greater flexibility to view the exhibition and participate in the auction. Our exhibition will open tomorrow morning at 10 am, as scheduled. 
‘All other auctions in New York next week – Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale (7 November) and 19th Century European Art (8 November) – remain as scheduled.  Sotheby’s Contemporary Art exhibitions will also open as scheduled, on Friday 9 November.’
No wishes for the flooded…
It wasn’t just Manhattan, obviously. Brooklyn was flooded and tossed and its galleries closed for the duration. Stephanie Theodore, who runs Theodore Art in Bushwick, Brooklyn, tweeted with relief that her gallery was unaffected after several photos of uprooted trees.
Art is resilient, of course – Anish Kapoor’s work is probably the best thing to hide under during a nuclear attack – so we can only hope that, along with the rest of New York City (and New Jersey), the galleries and auctions houses are back up and running soon.

UPDATE: Christie’s are being generous, according to

‘Christie’s New York has spread the word on Facebook that they’re offering work space for any Chelsea dealers who have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy at their Rockefeller Center headquarters, and have even offered art storage space for those dealers in its warehouse in Brooklyn.

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‘The idea came from Sara Friedlander, vice president of post-war and contemporary art, who wanted to give her Chelsea colleagues a place to “charge their laptops, charge their phones or check Artnet.”’
UPDATE 2: Excellent, upsetting report from Linda Yablonsky about galleries flooded and artworks destroyed (ArtForum)
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