The Chelsea Art Galleries west of 10th Avenue suffered major damage during Hurricane Sandy this week, and after, as high tides of storm water rushed through the streets, generators popped, sewer systems spewed up, windows shattered and metal gates got torn off, flooding the basements and destroying equipement as well as damaging what appears to be hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of art, very very quickly.

Hyperallergic talked to Postmasters gallery’s Madga Sawon, whose basement was flooded, but being East of 10th, the gallery was spared much of the devastation experienced closer to the river. Zach Feuer was severely damaged. Sawon could see ruined art on the walls. A Feuer rep tells the Gallerist that there could be more: “Loose con Ed transformers and doors warped shut are keeping us from seeing the back rooms and storage.” At Carolina Nitsch, Ai Wei Wei’s chairs are thrown all over the floor. Eyebeam will be closed for major storm repairs, postponing the much anticipated F.A.T. GOLD: Five Years of Free Art & Technology exhibition and event series until March 2013.

“This is like a disaster zone,” Marc Jancou tells Bloomberg. “Everyone was flooded. Everyone has lost so much art.”

Greenpoint was hit even harder, with some galleries at the 99 Commercial Street complex flooded to the ceiling with noxious water. As Postmasters’ Sawon tells Hyperallergic (who are diligently live-updating on the dammage):

“My personal opinion is that this will hit smaller galleries much harder than the mega operations and will further contribute to polarizing the art scene.”

Museums and galleries can contact American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works for 24-hour assistance at (202) 661-8068.

(Images: Curator Lindsay Howard, HyperallergicGallerist)