In mid march, museums and exhibition halls in germany suddenly closed down. Paintings, sculptures and other exhibits were suddenly standing in deserted rooms – and that for weeks or even months. Because in many places, dismantling was out of the question.
The corona crisis, with its worldwide travel restrictions, made it difficult or even impossible to transport art on time. "Loans often remained longer than expected, which caused problems for many museums," says eckart kohne, president of the german museum association in berlin.
One of the stranded artworks was the famous "madonna with carnations" by raffael. On the occasion of the 500. On the occasion of the painter’s birthday, the devotional painting for a madonna meeting in the gemaldegalerie in berlin was from 12. May to 14. June had already been delivered from london before the corona crisis, under the highest security precautions. Afterwards, the work of art could not be returned to the national gallery in london as planned because of corona, said a spokesman for the state museums of berlin. Instead, the loan period was extended by mutual agreement. In many other museums it was similar.
Just leave the exhibition, that seemed to many as the best alternative, also because of the safety. "The main risks are during transport and during assembly and disassembly. If the exhibit is then in the display case or hanging on the wall, the protection is already quite good," explains kohne.
The bavarian state painting collections nevertheless have to temporarily store numerous borrowed works of art – for a year. Actually, starting in october, the old pinakothek was supposed to show paintings by jacobus vrel, who painted in the 17th century. The effects of the twentieth century in holland. Because of corona, the show has been postponed until the fall of 2021. However, many of the paintings had already been shipped to munich to undergo painting tests at the company’s own doerner institute prior to the show.
"This results in additional costs for insurance, among other things," said a pinacotheca spokeswoman. Even storing the works usually costs money, as special air-conditioned and burglar-proof depots are required for this purpose. "In relation to the exhibition budgets, the cost increases are often not exorbitant, but at the moment every euro you lose hurts more," said kohne. The director of the badisches landesmuseum in karlsruhe was himself affected with the show "kaiser und sultan" about the european-turkish relationship in the 17th century. Century. Many exhibits came from eastern europe. "We showed a crude turkish tent from krakow, which we only took down in june, two months later than planned."
A great many international loans were left hanging in the haus der kunst in munich. After years of financial and personnel turbulence, the organizers had hoped for calmer times. When corona forced the house to close in mid march, the last days of the exhibition "inner life" were running, including works by nijdeka akunyili crosby from los angeles and sculptures by adriana varejao from rio de janeiro.
How to bring back the objects in the worldwide corona chaos, especially to brazil or the USA? Difficult. Many flights were canceled because of corona. Freight space has been reduced by more than half, explains frank huster of the federal association of freight forwarding and logistics. One consequence of the shortage: "exorbitant increases in air freight costs," as reported, for example, by the bavarian state painting collections.
The haus der kunst decided to put the works into temporary storage and gradually bring them back to their home countries in the wake of the loosening of the regime. But even that is not exactly favorable. The costs "flew around his ears in a way that we didn’t expect," said wolfgang orthmayr, the city’s business manager. The cost of transporting objects had risen by up to 25 percent.
The transport of very valuable objects proved to be particularly difficult for the houses. Couriers usually accompany these treasures, never taking their eyes off them for a moment and following every detail as they are unpacked and packed away. But it was precisely these chaperones who were often unable to travel because of corona, if only because there was no room for them in the driver’s cab of the truck due to the required distance regulations.
Doing without courier services? Hardly imaginable. "The objects that couriers have are high-priced, so the insurers are after you to determine very precisely whether damage has occurred during a loan," explains hans-ewald schneider of the coln-based art logistics company hasenkamp. His company offered livestreams: "across continents, we let the couriers who stayed at home participate in the packing of the artworks."
What will happen next with the lending of artworks?? The "madonna with the carnations" is back in london, also the haus der kunst has got rid of many loans again. And the pinakotheken will again lend their own works for exhibitions, for example in london or aachen in 2021. But whether that will work? Unsafe. "This puts museums in further economic distress," says museum association president kohne. In addition, he fears the red pencil, when state and municipalities are looking for ways to save money. "When it comes to saving money, we are very much in favor of not letting culture suffer. Saving money on culture does not make households healthier."