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Thread: Anyone have sample art rigging specs to share?

  1. #1

    Anyone have sample art rigging specs to share?

    I am new to forum and hoping I can get some help. The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City is preparing construction documents for a renovation of our sculpture garden. We have several very heavy stone sculptures that will need to be moved and stored and our architects have not been able to find a good specification that addresses the very particular requirements of "art rigging". Do any of you experts out there have any sample specs to share? Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. #2
    PACCIN Advisory Committee Member T. Ashley McGrew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    Hi George,
    Your museum is one of my very favorites in the NY area. I always recommend a visit there to folks visiting from out of town.
    I am not entirely sure what you mean by rigging specifications.
    In general I would just emphasize the importance of utilizing the services of a reputable Fine Arts Service company. Even highly regarded professional riggers should be overseen by someone who specializes in handling/moving art - there are more aspects than just the lifting part that are critical you your project.
    Ultimately as the caretaker of your collection you are ultimately responsible for the outcome so be sure to discuss your concerns and make sure that you are confident that whoever has been hire has addressed them thoughly before the work starts. As well be sure to communicate specific information that may not be apparent by casual observation to an outside viewer.
    A good example would be a project that I worked on while employed by a major FAS company many moons ago. It was at your museum and it involved a large stone sculpture to be crated and sent to DC. We were told two things that we wouldn't have know unless forwarned. One was that the surface of the stone was polished flat and smooth in some areas and had been left with its original surface in others. We were told that it had recently been conserved and in fact the natural surface had very active spalling. After conservation - just looking at it - we would never have known how important it was to avoid it. The second detail was that before being crated it had to be lifted off of a large metal pin that was actually holding it upright. Visually it appeared that it could be set down on the smallish flat surface area around the pin. In fact without the support of pin the whole piece would have fallen right over - what an unfortunate surprise that would have been!
    By having the warning though we were able to make arrangements for the piece to be lifted with the rigging left in place for a couple of days to build the very substantial crate that it required, around it while suspended.
    A lot of rigging can done in house of course if you have experienced staff. There are folks who provide training - Methods and Materials is one. The more you know the better off you are of course.
    I may have failed to understand the question. If so please feel free to re phrase it and I might do better.

    T. Ashley McGrew
    PACCIN Advisory Committee member

  3. #3
    Thanks for the quick reply, Ashley. So glad you know of us. I think the stone piece you are referring is called "Woman" and it went to the Rose Garden at the White House during the Clinton Administration. Your description sounds like that piece. You can rest assured that we sweat every detail when we move our sculptures.
    Under normal circumstances we would go to the riggers we always work with and know best. In this particular situation our renovation project is using "city money" and therefore the rigging will need to be part of the general contractor's bid package. We were hoping to find a rigging specification from any art institution that has had to do the same thing so as not to re-invent the wheel. As time is running short I think we will now begin re-inventing that wheel. I'll post a message when the spec is complete in case someone else has a need for it.

    George Juergens
    The Noguchi Museum

  4. #4
    Hi George,

    I have met your riggers here at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and found them to be extremely competent. I also understand about having to bid out a job when using city money to fund a project. Unfortunately I have never needed to put together a rigging description for fine art moves, only crating of art work and that was for insurance purposes.

    There are websites like Lift-it dot com that have general rigging descriptions that could probably be adapted with a bit of work. I would stress the importance of material knowledge in regards to any sculpture considered for the project move. Most riggers know the fundamentals such as center of gravity in regards to lifting points, but may not be able to spot a recent repair.

    Itís a shame you canít ask your current riggers for input, but I also understand that that would not be ethical. I wish you the best of luck and would love to see what you end up putting together,


    David Gallagher
    Coordinator of Outgoing Loans
    Philadelphia Museum of Art

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