When an Andy Warhol lithograph of a Campbell’s soup can worth $65,000 was swiped from the trunk of a curator’s unlocked Porsche Macan, he must have rued the day he chose not to use a professional art logistics company. The victim learnt a hard lesson; works of art cannot be left unsecured or unattended in transit at any point. It took the thief a matter of seconds to get away with an iconic work of art, which allegedly was just covered in a piece of cardboard in the trunk of the vehicle.
This example demonstrates the important role of art transportation operations and how quickly and easily things can go wrong. ICEFAT’s Standards address this in detail, setting out the ways in which our members should demonstrate risk assessments and inventory management. In an earlier blog post, we explored the security requirements of transportation vehicles. Crucially, ICEFAT’s Standards require that a minimum of two crew members are on board a vehicle whenever objects are in transit, ensuring that the consignments are never left unattended.
Professional packing and crating are fundamental to any art logistics supplier, ensuring that the latest materials are being used and that staff are trained to confidently choose those which are most appropriate to the consignment. Where works of art are being transported in cargo boxes, it is not always practical nor possible to ensure 24/7 monitoring of the cargo. In this instance, ICEFAT requires members to build cargo boxes of a rigid construction secured with a high security lock.
Shipping internationally or domestically requires our members to follow robust chain of custody procedures. This is where the value of ICEFAT membership comes to the fore. Our international community of members provides a direct business opportunity for collaboration, supplying a global service with unsurpassed local knowledge. Transporting objects of high value – be it financial or historical – comes with a level of risk, which is why these Standards provide assurance to collectors and institutions around the world who understand that compromising on price and quality ultimately jeopardizes our cultural heritage. All ICEFAT members are audited for Standards by EY (formerly Ernst & Young), a third-party auditor.