Chelsea, NYC Art Hub Drowns, Sotheby’s Postpones Sale

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Photographer: Katya Kazakina

Jane Lombard of Lombard Freid Gallery in Chelsea mops up water from Hurricane Sandy.

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Photographer: Katya Kazakina

Jane Lombard of Lombard Freid Gallery in Chelsea mops up water from Hurricane Sandy. Close

Jane Lombard of Lombard Freid Gallery in Chelsea mops up water from Hurricane Sandy.

Photographer: Katya Kazakina/Bloomberg

Rachel Churner, owner of Churner and Churner Gallery in Chelsea. The flooding from Hurricane Sandy destroyed art work she estimated at approximately $100,000. Close

Rachel Churner, owner of Churner and Churner Gallery in Chelsea. The flooding from Hurricane Sandy destroyed art work... Read More

Photographer: Katya Kazakina/Bloomberg

The area in front of the Andrea Rosen Gallery on West 24th Street in Chelsea is littered with wet cardboard and debris caused by the flooding from Hurricane Sandy. Close

The area in front of the Andrea Rosen Gallery on West 24th Street in Chelsea is littered with wet cardboard and... Read More

Photographer: Katya Kazakina/Bloomberg

Leo Koenig and Margaret Thatcher, art dealers who run neighboring galleries on West 23rd Street in Chelsea, stand next to their flooded businesses. Close

Leo Koenig and Margaret Thatcher, art dealers who run neighboring galleries on West 23rd Street in Chelsea, stand... Read More

Photographer: Katya Kazakina/Bloomberg

Erika Burgos sifts through the debris in the office of Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert Inc. in Chelsea. It was flooded by a storm surge caused by Hurricane Sandy. Close

Erika Burgos sifts through the debris in the office of Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert Inc. in Chelsea. It was flooded... Read More

Photographer: Katya Kazakina/Bloomberg

The main space at the Inglett Gallery was flooded by the storm surge due to high waters from the Hudson River. Close

The main space at the Inglett Gallery was flooded by the storm surge due to high waters from the Hudson River.

Photographer: Katya Kazakina/Bloomberg

Workers clear up water from the Inglett Gallery in Chelsea after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc in the neighborhood. Close

Workers clear up water from the Inglett Gallery in Chelsea after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc in the neighborhood.

Photographer: Katya Kazakina/Bloomberg

A closed sign hangs on the front door of the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea on West 21st Street. The watermark from flooding can be seen on the door and the wall. Behind the second door is a Henry Moore sculpture which was recently delivered. Close

A closed sign hangs on the front door of the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea on West 21st Street. The watermark from... Read More

Photographer: James Tarmy/Bloomberg

A Henry Moore sculpture is being delivered to the Gagosian Gallery in advance of a show scheduled for November 8. Close

A Henry Moore sculpture is being delivered to the Gagosian Gallery in advance of a show scheduled for November 8.

Photographer: Katya Kazakina/Bloomberg

The front door of the Zwirner Gallery on West 19th Street. The water mark from flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy can be seen half way up the door. Close

The front door of the Zwirner Gallery on West 19th Street. The water mark from flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy can... Read More

Art dealer Marc Jancou, his jeans soaked to the knees, stood outside his gallery on West 24th Street in Chelsea supervising a clean-up brigade wielding mops and buckets.

A walk through New York’s epicenter of contemporary art on Tuesday afternoon revealed wide-spread damage. The floodwaters of Hurricane Sandy smashed walls, ravaged office spaces and destroyed artworks.

The fallout from the hurricane continued to affect New York’s art world today, with Sotheby’s rescheduling its Impressionist sale by three days due to travel difficulties. The power outage downtown forced the New Museum to suspend its public programs and events while it closes. A host of galleries said they would have to postpone openings in the next two weeks because of flooding and lack of power.

Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern art evening sale has been moved to Nov. 8 from Nov. 5.

“This revised timeline will give our clients and international staff greater flexibility to view the exhibition and participate in the auction,” Sotheby’s (BID) said in a statement.

The flooding and power outages have forced many galleries, including Pace, David Zwirner, Cheim & Read and Lehmann Maupin to postpone exhibition openings scheduled to coincide with the big auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie’s.

In Chelsea, next door to Jancou, the water rose about three feet at Susan Inglett Gallery, puddling into a large pond.

With power out all over Chelsea, galleries resorted to flashlights for illumination.

“This is like a disaster zone,” said Jancou. “Everyone was flooded. Everyone has lost so much art.”

Art dealers and handlers scrambled to move artworks into dry areas. People scooped water by buckets and large garbage bins.

“It’s bad,” said Rachel Churner, who opened Churner and Churner gallery on Tenth Avenue a year-and-a-half ago. Wet cardboard and paintings in bubble wrap piled up on the sidewalk in front of the entrance.

“I’ve probably lost $100,000 worth of art. Our basement is wet all the way to the ceiling,” she said. Churner said the gallery is insured. But she feared “that there’s some act of God or hurricane clause.”

Under Water

On West 19th Street, Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert gallery, which has an exhibition space on the basement level, was completely flooded.

“It’s all under water,” said Erika Burgos, who has been with the gallery for 10 years, pointing her flashlight at the flooded staircase leading downstairs. She said she managed to save a few pictures.

Across the street, at David Zwirner, art handlers were moving paintings to dry ground. The watermark from flooding was visible on the doors and walls several feet from the ground. It was the same story at Paula Cooper and Gagosian galleries on West 21st Street, where a giant Henry Moore sculpture, in protective wrapping, could be seen through the window.

The true damage will take “a long time to shake out,” said art dealer Leo Koenig. “It brings tears to my eyes. I don’t care about the damage to the gallery. That’s fixable. The irreplaceable art that has been lost -- that’s the worst of it.”

Art dealer Margaret Thatcher, who operates a gallery on West 23rd Street, pointed to a folder of approximately 40 drawings for an upcoming exhibition. Priced at $5,000 each, all were soaked.

“They are all destroyed,” she said. “We need federal funding, this is a devastated area.”

Muse highlights include Ryan Sutton on dining and Mark Beech on music.

To contact the reporters of this story: Katya Kazakina in New York at kkazakina@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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