logistics management

Art World Logistics and Jackson Pollock's "Mural"

mural.jpg

This week, the New Yorker published a piece on Jackson Pollock’s painting Mural. Since the creation of Mural in 1943, the painting’s multi-decade journey–from a Peggy Guggenheim’s home and various museums to emergency storage and world tours–illuminates many of the services that we provide as art consultants.

Commissions and Installations

As New Yorker writer Louis Menand relays, Mural was commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim, niece of Solomon R. Guggenheim of foundation and museum fame, for her Manhattan townhouse. The piece was installed by the artist and Guggenheim’s friend Marcel Duchamp–which lead to a tall tale about Duchamp slashing eight inches off the painting to make it fit in the space. The story isn’t true, but it’s a great reminder why art consultants exist: not only do we occasionally work with artists to facilitate commissions for corporate clients, but we also work with expert art handlers on installations. For each installation, we take precise measurements, use hardware that works best for the location, and protect the art and the clients’ space.

Donations

In the 1950s, Peggy Guggenheim moved to Venice and wanted to donate the painting but was faced with a conundrum. She offered the painting to Yale, but the institution passed on the donation. The painting ended up in Iowa City, eventually finding its way into the University of Iowa art museum. As art consultants, we can help facilitate the donation of art from corporate collections when the pieces are no longer a good fit for the company. Our services include finding the right home for a piece and managing the logistics of transferring ownership.

Protection and Storage

Pollock’s Mural found a great home at the University of Iowa, but decades later disaster struck. In 2008, the Iowa River flooded the campus, causing $750 million dollars in damage. The school narrowly avoided losing their art collection to the flood. According to the New York Times, “a herculean effort in the preceding days had gotten thousands of pieces, including the museum’s well-regarded collection of African art and a Jackson Pollock piece, to safety.” A component of  our work is to ensure the safety of artwork. We can work with corporate clients to properly store and protect collections from calamities like water damage, mold, pests, or theft. Storage solutions can be on-site in a corporate space or off-site through a trusted vendor.

Transportation

Ground was just broken on the new University of Iowa art museum this past June, but Mural has not been hidden from the public for the past decade. The Pollock masterpiece has been on a world tour, traveling from museum to museum while its home institution recovers. A major part of our work involves arranging the transportation of artwork. For pieces acquired in Chicago, we work with a local network of art professionals to facilitate transportation. When we acquire pieces for corporate clients from galleries in places like New York or Los Angeles, we must arrange transportation for pieces across the country. We are also experienced in facilitating the safe and timely transit of art at a global scale, navigating customs, taxes, crating, and even transAtlantic transportation.

Exhibitions

In July, Pollock’s Mural arrived at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The piece has been in exhibitions around the world for the past ten years and, as the New Yorker notes, each museum decides how to exhibit the piece in relation to their collection. Curating and managing special exhibtions is another on of services as an art consulting firm. We work with clients to create seasonal exhibitions that showcase local artists for their employees and visitors, allowing the client to highlight their support for contemporary art or their interest in a particular medium, like photography or abstract painting. Each exhibition we curate is unique and tailored to our client and their space.

Mural is an excellent example of the interesting and varied life of a single artwork. Every work of art has a story and every owner of a piece contributes to that story. Our job is to help clients acquire new pieces or manage collections–and to help art and companies tell stories together.

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Organizing Artwork for Corporate Events

Easel for Display at Conference

We help our clients coordinate art-related logistics for a range of corporate events including conferences, meetings, and lectures. In a recent project, we asked to prepare a set of historical displays for a board meetings being held in several elite Chicago hotels.

Our role in this project focused on managing the art related aspects of their event and included a variety of logistical details to consider. We organized the shipment of framed historical images and text to showcase during the meeting. The panels were shipped to our warehouse, where we unpacked, inspected, and documented each item, and organized them based on their content. This location provides a safe, insured area to hold materials ahead of time. In advance of the meetings, our team of art handlers managed the careful wrapping and transportation of the panels to the event sites.

Working with Local Vendors

We collaborated with a local event rental company to source contemporary, high-quality easels to showcase the historical panels. Using easels provided an efficient option for temporary display that would be flexible based on the layout of the event whilst showcasing the integrity of each piece. The event setting was elegant and included metallic glass features, which guided our selection of easels that complimented the hotel’s décor.

In advance of setting up the displays, we worked with local handlers to schedule pick-ups and deliveries to the event location. We coordinated with event staff to ensure that proper insurance was in place and that the delivery vehicles were compliant with the requirements of the event space.

Once on site, we arranged the layout of the easels based on the flow of traffic; we wanted the panels to be in convenient locations for ease of reading by guests. An internal curator was there as well, and together we selected the panels with content that would be most relevant to the attendees. One selection showcased international branches and emphasized the company’s global influence, while another depicted industry innovations spearheaded by the company throughout its history.

Langham Hotel Chicago

The Value of Visual Details

The inclusion of these panels highlighted various company achievements and provided historical context to the discussions being held during the board meeting. Attendees could learn about the company’s many important accomplishments and innovations in their industry while discussing their future direction and goals.

The information and historical photography on the panels highlighted our client's corporate lineage and were a clear source of pride for those attending the meeting. The metallic detailing on the easels connected to the opulent design of the hotel and made the display cohesive and sharp.  By presenting the panels in a mindful, artful manner, the display provided an insightful backdrop for a productive board meeting.

Connecting to Corporate Identity

An important part of corporate art advising and art consulting is connecting our clients’ visual culture with their corporate identity. Fine art collections are a reflection of the collector’s values and function similarly to the way a company’s branding communicates the personality and goals of that entity. Understanding the visual language of our clients is at the core of our job, and we work with them to implement cohesive visual design that complements their vision. Displays for corporate events are one such opportunity to showcase a company’s history and what they stand for.

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