Calder Brannock was told he was just transporting an empty vitrine from the National Archives in DC north toward New York. That wasn’t the full truth.
The first thing his gallery colleagues asked when he emerged from the elevator: Was the art okay?
Being an art handler means belonging to a patchwork quilt of professional networks, but translating goodwill into solidarity requires significant effort. One day, you might have to entrust a colleague with your life.
The art world conditions its workers to accept subpar safety standards and low salaries in the name of high culture. And because art handlers frequently hop from institution to institution for jobs, issues are typically handed off to the next wave of workers.
Over the summer, Hyperallergic interviewed dozens of art handlers about the variable conditions of their workplaces. This week, we are bringing their stories of accident and injury into the light.