Some organizations have truly shined this past week in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. They’ve offered donations, power, showers, basic goods, and relief to those affected by the storm. And the Museum of Modern Art has certainly shown that it cares, too.
Some of the areas in New York the most affected by the storm and flooding were also largely artistic communities. Art is, in general, sensitive to weather damage and water in particular. Even statues meant to withstand severe weather wear down after some time. Those works that are not meant to do so are even more vulnerable—and being indoors didn’t exactly protect them this time around.
But, luckily for us, the ability to effectively salvage and repair artwork—even with severe water damage—has come a long way in the past few decades. Pieces that would have been ruined a hundred years ago may not necessarily be ruined today because we have developed techniques to minimize damage.
And MoMA isn’t shy about sharing those techniques with the public, thank goodness. On Sunday, October 4th, they offered a presentation on conserving damaged artwork and cultural materials that was free to the public. They’ve also released on their website a guide for “Immediate Response Collections” and handling of damaged art.
The abounding advice seems to be to not make any snap judgments about what you think may or may not be ruined completely. Salvage what you can and seek expert advice on what to do next. In the mean time, keep an eye on MoMA and other galleries to take advantage of any help they might offer.