The Winkleman Gallery on 27th Street in Chelsea reopened Saturday after being closed for 73 days to repair damages brought on by Hurricane Sandy. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
Just before Sandy hit gallery owner Ed Winkleman returned to his 27th Street space three times to raise the artwork stored in his gallery's basement to as high as four feet off the ground. At the time he thought he had over prepared.
"We came back the water on the first floor had subsided, but the floors had all buckled. there was mud everywhere. The big shock was in the basement where the water was up to the ceiling. So you would see a work of art floating by so it was heartbreaking and surreal at the same time," Winkleman recalled.
Now after drying out, conserving what could be saved and figuring all that was lost The Winkleman Gallery and four neighboring galleries on the far west side of 27th Street are all reopening. Ironically Winkleman is reopening with a new exhibit by Brooklyn artist Michael Michael Waugh which has a strong water theme.
"The artwork uses a technique called mycrography in which very tiny handwritten words make up an image and in this work there's an image of a wave that's just inundating a ship," Waugh said.
And while it was overwhelming trying to get the show up not knowing when the gallery would re-open, both Michael and Ed say they were also overwhelmed by the outpouring of support form the arts community as buyers, artists and conservators showed up to help.
"As competitive as the contemporary artworld is and it is very competitive it has a bigger heart," Winkleman said
"With this construction we've all been coming in and out of each others' galleries, seeing how the construction is doing, seeing how everyone is doing and we're neighbors again," Waugh noted.
The five galleries, all set to reopen Saturday, are located on West 27th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues. And while that's a full block off the heart of the Chelsea gallery district it's definitely worth the walk.
For more information, visit www.winkleman.com.