What collectors need to know about shipping works of art
âIt’s understandable that shipping networks (and businesses) have grown and specialized over time,â said Jonathan TD Neil, associate professor of art and arts management at the Drucker School of Management, Claremont Graduate University. Neil divides the art transportation market into âshippingâ and âhandlingâ and points out the different players involved in the process: âThere are certain companies that will be used for international shipping because they understand better tax regimes and national companies. âManipulationâ is a different story, and still functions as a guild with junior apprentices and senior managers running the show with the big shippers and institutions. Further down the ladder, this is truly a free game, with artists (and art students) providing management services to galleries and to each other, as they are the ones who deal with artistic creation in its own right. heart.
Collectors should also be aware of working practices in the art shipments market. Neil stressed that efforts should be made to increase wages and opt for professional services in what has always been a precarious labor market. “[The nature of art shipment] keeps costs low for the capital-strapped sectors of the art world, but it’s not good for artists or other casual workers who do this essential work, âhe said. âAt some point, training, certification, and professional associations (if not unionization) will help strengthen the arts workforce and wages.â
From a practical standpoint, there are a number of factors that collectors should consider when looking for the right art shipping service: from the value of their artwork and its dimensions, to distance. to go, whether or not it is traveling abroad.
Meredith Blechman, Marketing and Partnerships Manager at ARTA, noted some of the main categories to consider when looking to ship art. âThe material, size and weight of a work of art play a critical role in determining the optimal packaging and transportation method,â she said. âFor example, you can’t just wrap a sculpture in a flexible envelope, they tend to be heavy and / or fragile and require specific packaging. A print may be suitable for flexible packaging for transportation, but if it is traveling overseas or by ocean freight, it will require additional packaging to ensure it is not damaged.
Blechman went on to explain that the different items found in a coin can affect a collector’s choice of expedition. âDepending on the size, value, weight and fragility of the item, it is certainly possible to ship artwork through a common courier service like FedEx. The key is to ensure proper packaging when shipping with these carriers, âshe explained. “That being said, works of art that are extremely heavy, oversized, fragile, or a number of other variables may preclude the ability to ship by regular mail or cause us to advise against shipping by any method other than shipping. ‘works of art.” The shipping services provided by Artsy through ARTA take these variables into account to calculate shipping quotes and offer the safest and most appropriate packaging and transportation options for a given work of art.
Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Atelier 4, a New York-based fine arts logistics company, offered a rule of thumb to help collectors determine which shipping method will work best. Generally, collectors can choose services that meet two of the following three options: good, fast, and inexpensive. âIf you have something of incredible value or fragility, you choose ‘good’ and ‘fast’,â he said. âIt means a specialist in fine arts logisticsâ¦[and] air-conditioned trucks, warehouses, proper packaging and proper equipment.
Schwartz continued, âWhen the value starts to drop and the challenges of handling get easier, you can go ‘good’ and ‘cheap’. It’s less specialized, but still [involves] good packaging and handling by professionals.â¦ If replacement value is not a concern, [opt for] “Fast” and “cheap”: [organize] parcel delivery and track it online. Indeed, Neil summed up the diversity of shipping options at both ends of the spectrum: âAt the high end it’s all about security (risk management) and at the low end it’s all about efficiency (cost control).
One overlooked aspect of shipping artwork is the complex area of ââinsurance. Many home and institutional insurance policies do not cover artwork in transit. âInsurance policies have exclusions for transporting artwork or covering artwork when not in the home,â said Blechman. âWhile a buyer relies on their own policy to mitigate risk while transporting an artwork, it is important to understand if an artwork is covered and under what circumstances. Schwartz suggested that one should “consult an insurance agent who has experience with tangible assets, like art, and advise you on the type of coverage you should have.” â¦ If you are loaning to a museum or gallery, make sure you have a loan form and that it covers you in accordance with the language of your own policy or better.”
Ultimately, how a collector chooses to ship art is defined by multiple competing factors. The increasing professionalization, specialization and digitization of the art shipping industry means that today more than ever, the perfect balance between risk and efficiency can be found.