There comes a time in an artist’s career when she or he needs to ship paintings across the country for an exhibition. What is the best way to do this?
Andy McGivern, the curator of exhibitions at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, in Wausau, Wisconsin, told us how his institution does it. He first said that if an artist only needs to ship a few paintings, the more economical and efficient way would be to opt for individual boxes along the line of StrongBoxes or similar packaging. “StrongBoxes are strong, sturdy, lightweight, and offer easy access to the painting,” says McGivern. “They are a bit more expensive than making your own, but not every artist has a workshop where they can create something in wood. They can be shipped internationally very easily, while wood has to be fumigated to be free of pests unless plywood is used. But plywood is wood bound by a lot of glue, which means added weight and higher shipping costs.”
If you have a traveling show or expect to ship a large number of paintings more than once, you are facing McGivern’s issues. McGivern and the Woodson Art Museum are worried about temperature and humidity changes in an airplane’s cargo hold, careless forklift operators, and ease in unpacking and repacking the pieces. His staff builds wooden crates, then utilizes their secret weapon: Styrofoam.
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