It is common practice for art museums to borrow works of art from other institutions and private collections when mounting major exhibitions like Heat Waves in the Swamp. For example, museums such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Burchfield Penney Art Center, and the Chicago Art Institute have all loaned works for this exhibition. It is no small feat to move incredibly valuable artwork from one part of the country to another and climate control plays an important part.
As is the case with the work for the Hammer’s Burchfield show, artwork is transported by climate-controlled trucks from the lender to the exhibition site. Museum galleries have well-controlled and specified temperatures and humidity levels to create a stable environment which ultimately protects the longevity of paintings and sculpture. Prior to transport, artwork is often packed carefully in specially designed crates, which protect against temperature changes and handling, creating a safe environment in which the painting or sculpture can be moved from one location to another. Once at its final destination, the painting remains crated for a minimum of 24 hours to allow the work of art and its crate to climatize, or adjust, to the new surroundings. If a work is exposed too quickly to a new environment, it could cause the artwork to contract or expand which over time may result in cracking or other damage. The acclimatization period is a cautionary measure to prevent this and is common museum practice. Here you see a crate containing a painting by Charles Burchfield, which will be removed later this week once the acclimatization process is complete. Stay tuned …