Partnership and Diplomacy Skills
Lynn Marcin is renowned for her partnering abilities.
For instance, when George Washington University (GWU) and the Textile Museum joined forces in Washington, D.C. to study art, history and culture, Marcin and GWU’s Fitzroy Smith, assistant vice president of risk and insurance, worked hand in glove on transferring objects in the textile museum to a new combined museum overseen by GWU.
“The textile museum has a portfolio valued at anywhere between $300 million and $600 million and we’ve been working on transferring the objects from the Textile Museum to the new museum. Lynn was really instrumental in helping us secure coverage for the portfolio,” said Smith.
Marcin also helped the museum determine how the collection should be transported and stored, Smith added.
Clients also noted Marcin’s great diplomatic skills.
“We had a difficult claim situation in the past year with a lender/artist who was particularly unreasonable, but Lynn was able to bring both parties to the table and an amicable solution was reached,” said a museum chief registrar.
As part of her work with well-known framer Jed Bark of New York-based Bark Frameworks, Marcin has helped him review countless documents that have been prepared to protect his business, including disclaimers, hold harmless agreements and other ways to limit his liability.
Ensuring Safety of Assets
Mary Pontillo is known for breaking complex problems down into manageable steps.
“We have some expensive pieces that are not for sale so we call that dead storage,” said Frank Salinas, controller at Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York.
“In one case, rather than pay Manhattan rates, the owner, who lives in Westchester, found a place up there, but before we moved anything of course we had to find out if it could be covered by insurance.”
Salinas noted that not only was Pontillo able to confirm coverage, but she also sent an insurance company representative to the site to verify that the conditions were more than adequate.
“So we were able to get that done within a couple of weeks as opposed to at a month or so,” Salinas said.
In another instance within the last year, Pontillo helped a large recording studio transport some of its most important assets from a storage facility on the East Coast to the West Coast.
“Information was coming fast and furious to get coverage right away, and Mary was instrumental in getting us that coverage tied up literally within a couple of days,” the senior director of risk management said. “It’s a global fine arts policy and we consider these objects of significant importance to us.”
At a New York fine arts gallery, the director said Pontillo “helped us get a better insurance package. She went through the whole policy and got us better coverage at a better price.”
Remarkable With Art Fair Coverage
Sam Pugatch handles all aspects of fine arts coverage with distinction, but he is especially proficient at preparing art fair coverage.
“Sam has been remarkable with our art fair coverage, which is exceptionally important to us because we have increased our art fair participation from probably 14 to 20 to 25,” said Tracy Nolder, partner and managing director at David Zwirner Gallery in New York.
Art fairs can be seen as high-risk for insurers that may have many clients with a lot of their work in the same place. So it has not been easy for Pugatch to secure coverage when the Zwirner Gallery decides to participate in a fair, often on short notice.
“But over the last year Sam has been so nimble we’ve never had to worry that we’re appropriately covered,” said Nolder.
In another case, a well-known art gallery was lending two very high-value sculptures to a museum in Europe, and the gallery’s director of outgoing loans and global art fair management had to determine if the museum’s policy was up to the gallery’s standards — and if it wasn’t, how much it would take to be able to insure those works.
“Sam was able, in a matter of a day or so, to go over all the options before ringing any alarm bells,” said the gallery’s director of outgoing loans. “I trust Sam because of his excellent communicating ability and his confidence. I have a lot of these complicated insurance situations that he handles for me.”
Building Complicated Coverage
When Anne Rappa tears down an existing policy, the new one that rises from the ashes invariably saves thousands of dollars and provides better coverage.
In the last year, for example, Rappa was pitted against a major brokerage rival on a prestigious New York art gallery account she had managed for more than 20 years.
“Budgetary matters were very important to our board and I was very concerned that Anne wouldn’t be able to beat the other bidder on price,” said the head registrar of the gallery.
“But she actually took an extraordinarily creative approach, restructured our whole policy and came in thousands of dollars lower to get our business,” the head registrar added. “Anne came in by herself and single-handedly won the account.”
In another instance, David Grey, executive director of The Greenwich Collection in New York, said, “Anne provided all the information we needed to ensure the transportation of artwork we held was handled successfully.
“It was a complicated transaction and Anne walked me through it from beginning to end. And she got us a great price as well,” Grey said.
Rappa also provided advice to Elizabeth Peck, registrar for New York-based Dia Art Foundation, on transferring a title on an important piece from a client’s collection.
That advice included document review, which Peck relied on heavily given that she has no in-house attorney.
Mastering the Art of Negotiation
One of the main attributes Adrienne Reid’s clients note about her is the management-minded approach she provides.
“When I request a certificate of insurance for an individual or institutional lender, I almost always hear back from Adrienne within an hour,” said Darcy Marlow, assistant registrar of Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Okla. “She is very, very fast and very efficient.”
Recently the Philbrook Museum had a Monet exhibition that was very expensive to insure.
“The insurance was going to be covered by the federal indemnity program, but the indemnity coverage didn’t kick in until July 1, so we had the artwork here in our possession for a couple of weeks prior to when the indemnity coverage began,” said Marlow.
“So Adrienne helped me with the appropriate documentation and gave me advice on what to do and how to do it,” she said.
“Adrienne was negotiating for us to get better rates with the underwriters because it was extraordinarily expensive and we were not anticipating it.”
Marlow said the back and forth had everyone at the museum on edge, but it worked out thanks to all the guidance Reid provided.
In another instance, ANR Transport LLC’s insurance carrier was going to stop covering its fine arts transportation business because it felt the coverage was too risky.
“But Adrienne fought for us and the insurer agreed to keep us, even though they didn’t agree to keep others,” said Evie Wilcox, ANR’s CEO.
Skillfully Insuring Unique Art
Casey Wigglesworth provides her clients with step-by-step textbook advice.
Take the case of what Wigglesworth did for Sarah Cavallaro, art producer and president of Rancho Cavallaro Entertainment.
Cavallaro works with sculptor and husband Cosimo Cavallaro, who created three large-scale, brightly painted jelly bean sculptures made out of resin that were meant for outdoor display.
Sarah Cavallaro was confronted with some major transportation and insurance issues when she orchestrated moving the jelly bean sculptures from a park in West Hollywood to an installation in the Vancouver Biennale 2014, a bi-annual public art exhibition.
“That’s a different country, and Casey helped me through the entire process of how to handle the insurance on the sculpture,” said Cavallaro.
“I was dazzled by her work, because there were so many options, but she took the time to go through every single scenario.”
Cavallaro noted that she is dealing with public structures that people can jump on and touch. “That’s very different than when you put them in a gallery,” she noted.
At the Library of Congress, Tambra Johnson Reap, senior exhibitions registrar, interpretive programs office, said that Wigglesworth was instrumental in the last year in saving the library “thousands of dollars by looking for ways to adapt its current coverage to a federal indemnity we received.”