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What Is UOVO? Only the Art Storage Facility OF THE FUTURE

An illustration of what the completed entryway will look like. COURTESY UOVO

An illustration of what the completed entryway will look like.

COURTESY UOVO

This past March it seemed like everyone at the Armory Show had nabbed the exact same tote bag: a beige canvas thing with a blue egg-like logo and the letters UOVO on it. There it was, everywhere you looked: UOVO, UOVO, UOVO. In a way it was a clear marketing coup for whatever UOVO was. In another, more accurate, way it wasn’t, since nobody seemed to know that. (You could have found out by Googling but who has the time?)

Turns out UOVO (Italian for “egg”) is a brand new 280,000-square-foot art storage facility in Long Island City set to start receiving art in mid-November. It was presented to the press yesterday afternoon. Call it the opposite of the Ben Lerner’s Salvage Art Institute, a vault for high end art where every element of the design, outside the viewing rooms, is aimed at limiting your art’s access to the outside world. (The whole thing was pretty 10:04, actually, with press materials bragging about the facility’s being “16 feet above sea level.”)

The blue and grey building looks like something out of a video game and sits just to the left of the Silvercup Studios sign, if you’re coming from Manhattan. During the tour UOVO executive vice president Tom Hale said the facility catered to the “post-red brick gallery world,” where galleries buoy themselves with business unrelated to their shows, where art advisors do business in New York without any physical plant here, where artists manage their own work through multiple galleries (and thus may need their own storage space), and where, though he did not say this, art regularly trades back and forth without it ever leaving its storage facilities.

As journalists walked through the facility he and another EVP, Christopher Wise, noted its various futuristic elements.

“You’re now standing in an air lock,” Wise said near the loading bay, where trucks may empty their contents through doors “big enough for Kiefer, big enough for Koons,” in isolation from atmospheric conditions. One door in the still-under-construction facility led to the open air, and Hale took the opportunity to note the “thermos-like” 8 inches of space between the outer and inner layer of the building, which yields temperature control. Air filters in every room, Wise said, can take “cigarette smoke right out of the air.” Each wall was done in waves of white steel, not so different from Manhattan Mini Storage, only in Queens, and for big things.

The UOVO honchos promised to have the journalists back once there was some art in the space. Early clients have included foundations, galleries, and museums.

“We’re going to have the biggest museum collection in the world!” Wise crowed.

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