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An international art gallery on the Upper East Side is suing a shipping company that it says sent movers “too butterfingered for words,” to transport a “high-value” piece of artwork — and then tried to cover it up when their movers “irreparably” smashed the sculpture in a freight elevator.
In the Manhattan Supreme Court suit, filed Thursday, Carpenters Workshop Gallery claims they hired London-based company Adam Crease Shipping to move delicate marble console, valued at just over $280,000 USD, into storage on April 4, 2016.
After being told by the gallery the heavy sculpture would require six movers, ACSI sent only three, who “poorly secured” the sculpture and subsequently broke it in an embarrassing display caught on the lift’s security cameras, the complaint says.
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The timestamped footage captures the movers frantically calling superiors after inspecting the damage to the sculpture, court paper say. Its value was not stated in court papers.
Hours later, the gallery got a call from manager Nick Pocock at the Long Island City-based branch of ACSI, who said his movers were coming the next day — in an attempt to “hide” the fact “that the Sculpture had already been picked up and broken,” the papers read.
The “ruse” continued the next day, when movers showed up and “tricked” the gallery into signing a document limiting the company’s liability to “60 cents per pound or $50” for any damage sustained, according to the complaint.
“At the time that ACSI requested that the gallery sign the Collection Note, ASCI knew the sculpture had already been broken by ASCI,” the documents charge.
Two days later, the Gallery received an email stating the artwork had “sustained some damage” when “one of the seems gave way (or possibly some previous repair?) gave way under the pressure of its own weight,” the suit says.
“They behaved as cowboys, and it was inevitable that they would brake it,” gallery owner Loic Le Gaillard told The Post. “It’s annoying, because you pay big money for the TLC that is needed, and then this happens.”
“Mistakes can happen,” Le Gaillard continued. “But if you make a mistake, be a man about it. Instead they pick up their phone, and they try to hide it.”
“Especially given the level of care they flaunt on their website, this is really such gross negligence,” said gallery’s lawyer John Cahill.
Adam Crease Shipping is described on its website as a specialist “in the Shipping, Packing and Storage of Fine Art, Antiques.”
Citing negligence, breach of contract, and fraudulent concealment, the gallery is suing the moving company for $250,000.
Pocock declined comment, as did a spokesperson with the main branch of ASCI. A lawyer for the gallery did not immediately return messages.
Original article at New York Post