Pink April Flowers with Center Couple Dancing
Blue, Yellow and Orange Flower with Celestial Seasoning Center

Worked returning from an exhibition? Did you fill out a Condition Report?

Last Thursday, 39 boxes were returned from an exhibition at the Loveland Museum.

The question and lesson arises, What is your job as the artist when receiving work back from an exhibition?

Several of the exterior boxes were dented, crushed and damaged as mentioned in the previous post.

Step 1. Remove the exterior shipping boxes. What a mess! Peanuts everywhere! That took four hours for two people. (Eight total work hours.)

Step 2. All the damaged exterior shipping boxes were saved in case a claims agent needs to see them. The boxes in good condition were collapsed and put away. Peanuts stored.

Harriete Estel Berman Consuming Conversation several stacks of teacups
Consuming Conversation © 2001-04
Recycled tin cans, brass, sterling silver
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Waiting in a box to be checked.

Step 3. Now to open the interior shipping boxes. When work is returned from an exhibition, I check every piece as soon as possible. With more that 39 pieces, this is a mini-marathon. There were over 72 tea cups alone, plus 36 grass panels. That's a lot of work!

Harriete Estel Berman Consuming Conversation 13 is three teacups.
Consuming Conversation © 2001-04
Recycled tin cans, brass, sterling silver
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Waiting in a box to be checked.

Step 4. All of the work needs to be cleaned and checked against the Condition Reports.

Before sending work to the Loveland Museum, the condition of all work was exaimined. Registrars at museums are really "picky" about this. Scratches, dents and imperfections were noted on the Condition Report. I made photocopies of my Condition Reports and mailed the originals to the museum along with the work.

The museum should have sent a copy of the Condition Reports noting the condition of the work upon arrival -- and again before it was returned. Each step in this process is an effort to document the condition of the work.

Harriete Estel Berman Obverse Obsession Chocolate Pot
Obverse Obsession © 2005
23” height   x   17” width
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Current location...waiting in a box to be
checked.

The museum did not return my Condition Reports, but I have a copy of my originals!

What is a Condition Report you ask?
The Professional Guidelines has a sample Condition Report  Download CONDITION REPORT.

The purpose of the Condition Report is to document the condition of your work:

  • when it leaves your studio;
  • at each exhibition location (if it is in a traveling exhibition);
  • when it is packed to be returned
  • and when it arrives back at your studio.

This Condition Report establishes a clear expectation about how you want your work to be handled.

Harriete Estel Berman Consuming Identity a chair constructed from recycled tin cans.
Consuming Identity © 2001
Recycled tin cans, fabric,
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Waiting in its crate to be checked.

I made a photocopy of my Condition Reports filled out before the work was shipped to the Loveland Museum. Now begins the tedious task of cleaning and checking each piece. 

At least with a thorough Condition Report, you can make a Claim for Damaged Work if it is ever necessary.  

Harriete

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