Drawn from the art insurance lexicon, the term “salvage art” refers to works removed from art circulation due to accidental damage. Salvage pieces are subject to a peculiar and transformative actuarial logic. Once “total loss” status has been declared and indemnification has been paid, salvage art is considered officially devoid of value. Its objects are cast into art’s nether world, no longer alive for the market, gallery or museum system, but often still relatively intact. Salvage art is liberated from the burden of constant valuation and the obligation of exchange, yet abandoned to the invisibility of perpetual storage.
Founded by Elka Krajewska, the Salvage Art Institute (SAI) supplies a refuge for salvaged art pieces. The survival of salvage art even past its total devaluation confronts our common understanding of where art ends, disturbing the distinction, organization, and separation of art from non-art. The Salvage Art Institute offers a platform for exposing, viewing and encountering the condition of salvage art and provides a forum for engaging the regulation of its financial, aesthetic and social value.
In spring 2012 The Salvage Art Institute accepted a gift of its first salvage art inventory, which comprises the core of the exhibition. The salvaged works in No Longer Art: Salvage Art Institute are identified by their SAI acquisition numbers. A numerical index relates each piece to its insurance claim, and to the process of evaluation and judgment through which it has been made salvage and transmuted into “no longer art.” Where available documentation describing the damage and the steps toward total loss designation is displayed.