From Academic Kids

Momart is a British company specialising in the storage, transportation, and installation of works of art. A major proportion of their business is maintaining (often delicate) artworks in a secure, climate-controlled environment. The company maintains two warehouse facilities adapted for this task. Momart's clients include the Saatchi Gallery, National Gallery, Tate Modern, Tate Britain and Buckingham Palace.

The 2004 warehouse fire

In the evening of 24 May 2004 fire broke out in Momart's storage warehouse in Leyton, east London. The blaze, which continued to smoulder for nearly a day, destroyed almost all of the artworks stored within. As well as works from other collections, over 100 items from the Saatchi collection of so-called Britart were lost. Charles Saatchi later commented "Many of these pieces are great personal favourites and irreplaceable in British art." Some of the artists themselves were, however, more reticent; Tracey Emin admitted "I'm upset, but I'm also upset about those whose wedding got bombed [in Iraq, on May 19], and people being dug out from mud in the Dominican Republic."

Other collectors who lost art treasures included the author, Shirley Conran and the artist, Gillian Ayres.

Art industry insiders noted that the insurance value of the works lost in the fire, particularly the "Britart" works in Saachi's collection, would be many times their initial purchase price, and that a comparable rise could be expected in the market values of the remaining (and future) works by artists whose works were lost. One art insurance specialist valued the lost work at 50m. Some have speculated that the fire was started deliberately in order to obtain the insurance money.

Critics attacked young British artist Stuart Semple and his agent Uri Geller for trying to cash in on a tragedy, after salvaging remains from the fire and creating a new artwork. Causing a major legal debate ( concerning the ownership of the remains from the fire.

At Christmas, 2004, Momart commissioned the Chapman Brothers to design their Christmas corporate gift. They produced a spoof Momart zippo lighter.

"We didn't have to think very hard. Our work burns, the company comes to us: there's a trajectory. What else could we do, but come up with the idea of a Zippo lighter with the word Momart on it?" -Dinos Chapman.

Works known lost in fire

External links


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