Slowly but surely, galleries are trying to return to business as usual after Hurricane Sandy. Some of those hardest hit in Chelsea, like Zach Feuer, have reopened only within the last week, while others, like Casey Kaplan and Wallspace, have plans to reopen early next year. Despite setbacks, all these galleries have been prepping for this week’s Miami art fairs, a mecca of fine art transactions that could help many galleries stay afloat. Many of them, it seems, have similar stories to tell.
“I’m very excited to get to the fair,” Zach Feuer told me over email, “and be focused on more normal gallerist duties instead of construction and restoration.” The gallery reopened for the first time since Sandy on December 1st, and the gallery’s seen few changes to its fair program although many works had been damaged. “We had to re-design our booth after the flood,” he mentioned. “But the artists really stepped up.”
Located just a block away from Zach Feuer, Casey Kaplan suffered considerable damages in a similar vein. The gallery lost all their computers and archives, and currently the space remains under construction.
“Unless you have earplugs and a mask on,” Casey Kaplan Director Loring Randolph told me over the phone, “it’s hard to be in the gallery.” Still, Randolph seems hopeful about the mood this coming week during the Miami art fairs. “We’re happy to get a bit of distance,” she added. And while their plans changed for what they’d be bringing to the fairs, due to damage, most of the work now comes straight from artists’ studios.
The tone at Wallspace, another Chelsea-based gallery that has yet to reopen, seemed to echo that mood. “If anything I’m looking forward to the fair since it will allow a sort of respite from the bit of chaos,” Wallspace’s Gallery Assistant Nichole Caruso told me. Like the other galleries we spoke with, they didn’t have to change all too much to their Miami program.
“We haven’t changed what we planned to show in Miami (for which we are quite fortunate),” she said, “since we’ll be debuting new works which shipped directly from the artists’ studios.” All these stories, while cut from the same cloth, indicate that these galleries are ready to get back to business as usual. They deserve it.