“Crashes, Cracks, and Other Catastrophes to Avoid: Preventive Conservation Tips for Collectors” webinar

Collectible art and objects always seem to be under siege. Whether the threat is from ill-managed light, humidity, or temperature, or due to simple naiveté or neglect, our most prized possessions face an ongoing risk of damage and resulting loss of value.

Though an art insurance policy can go a long way toward covering the cost of harm or loss, many of the sources of danger to our collections are controllable, or at least predictable. On Thursday, May 6, 7:00 – 8:30 pm via Zoom, hear from a panel of collections care specialists who will share ways to mitigate the threats to your cultural heritage objects, and learn about who you can turn to if the damage has already been done.​

The Bruce Presents virtual program, Crashes, Cracks, and Other Catastrophes to Avoid: Preventive Conservation Tips for Collectors, will feature Katja Zigerlig, Vice President, Art, Wine, and Collectibles Advisory at Berkley One; her colleague Gregory J. Smith, Executive Vice President and Co-Founder of Berkley Asset Protection; Jessica Pace, Preventive Conservator at New York University Libraries; and Margaret Holben Ellis, the Eugene Thaw Professor Emerita of Paper Conservation at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

Admission to the webinar on May 6 is free for Museum members and $20 for non-members; students receive a 20% discount. To register, visit the Reservations page at brucemuseum.org or call 203-869-0376, ext. 311. Support for Bruce Presents programs is generously provided by Berkley One, a Berkley Company, Connecticut Office of the Arts, and Northern Trust.

“Conservators are usually called in when something has gone wrong to treat the effects of these threats, yet they are also a valuable resource for preventive care,” says Katja Zigerlig, who will serve as moderator for the discussion and following Q&A session. As the Vice President, Art, Wine, and Collectibles Advisory at Berkley One, a Berkley Company, Zigerlig consults with collectors as well as insurance and financial advisors on the physical and financial protection of their passion investments.

Zigerlig has two decades of professional experience in the art world, advising on art and wine collecting in the context of alternative investments, asset protection, trust, and estate planning to audiences of collectors, appraisers, and financial and insurance professionals. She has insured private collections, museums, galleries, and exhibitions for HUB International, AIG Private Client Group, and AXA Art Insurance. Zigerlig is a guest lecturer at Christie’s Education Department and has presented art lectures at The College Art Association, University for Applied Arts in Vienna, the UBS Arts Forum in Wolfsburg, and the Swiss Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Zigerlig has a BA and MA in Art History, with a specialty in twentieth century art. She is a board member of The Foundation of the American Institute of Conservation and a member of The Friends of the Swiss Institute Committee.

Gregory J. Smith is Executive Vice President, Claims and Loss Consulting, and Co-Founder of Berkley Asset Protection, a Berkley Company. He leads the claims and loss consulting operation for Berkley’s global fine art, jewelers block, high value assets, and commercial lines practices. A world-renowned specialty insurance authority, Smith has spent three decades advancing and refining his considerable knowledge of loss consulting and adjusting, as they relate to fine art, jewelers block, armored car, and crime. He has been instrumental in settling some of the most notable insurance claims and property recoveries in his fields of expertise. Continuing a family legacy, Smith started his career in the claims adjusting and loss consulting business in 1987. In 2004, he founded G. J. Smith & Associates, Inc. and remained at its helm until he co-founded Berkley Asset Protection.

Jessica Pace is the Preventive Conservator at New York University Libraries, where she is responsible for environmental monitoring, emergency preparedness and response, integrated pest management, as well as handling and housing of Special Collections materials. In this role, she regularly conducts donor site visits and staff training sessions. Currently, she is researching best practices for identification, housing, and handling of plastic materials in library and archival collections. Pace is a Professional Associate of the American Institute of Conservation (AIC). Prior to her role at NYU, she worked as an objects conservator at the American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis in Turkey. She received her MA in Art History and CAS in Conservation from the Institute of Fine Arts’ Conservation Center at New York University, and her BA in Art History and Visual Arts from Barnard College. 

Margaret Holben Ellis is the Eugene Thaw Professor Emerita of Paper Conservation at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, where she teaches the conservation treatment of prints and drawings and technical connoisseurship for art historians. She is a Fellow and current President of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC), a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC), and an accredited Conservator/Restorer of the Institute of Conservation (ICON). Awards include the AIC Rutherford John Gettens Merit Award, 1997, the AIC Sheldon and Caroline Keck Award, 2003, and, from the American Academy in Rome, the first Rome Prize (1994) to be awarded to a conservator.

In 1998, Ellis was invited to plan the facilities and programs of the Thaw Conservation Center at the Morgan Library & Museum; she served as its first director until 2017. She has published and lectured on artists ranging from Raphael and Titian to Pollock, Lichtenstein, and Samaras. Her research on artists’ materials and techniques is similarly far-ranging and encompasses Day-Glo colors, Magic Markers, Crayola crayons, and, most recently, Leonardo Da Vinci’s papers.

Serving as host of the discussion is Whitney Lucas Rosenberg, the Bruce Museum’s Director of Development and Institutional Advancement. “One of the most common inquiries we receive at the Museum is from patrons asking about how to protect, preserve, transport, or restore works in private collections,” says Rosenberg, who served as Vice President, Impressionist & Modern Art at Sotheby’s in New York before joining the Bruce. ”Preventive Conservation Tips for Collectors is sure to provide answers to those issues, with advice and insight from our panel of conservators and art advisors who have deep and wide-ranging expertise.”

To participate in the Crashes, Cracks, and Other Catastrophes to Avoid: Preventive Conservation Tips for Collectors webinar on Thursday, May 6, 2021, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, please visit brucemuseum.org or call 203-869-0376, ext. 311.