Art-Handling Olympics

The unsung heroes of the art world who lift and hammer, hang and adjust, got their place in the spotlight this weekend at the first ever Art Handling Olympic championships.

The unsung heroes of the art world who lift and hammer, hang and adjust, got their place in the spotlight this weekend at the first ever Art Handling Olympic championships. "The event — a combination roast, ‘Jackass’-style stunt extravaganza and excuse to drink a lot — drew about 200 people at its height who came to the Ramiken Crucible gallery to watch a dozen four-man teams (art handlers are, by and large, male, and, by and large, large) go head-to-head, demonstrating their skills with a lot of fake art and untold amounts of Bubble Wrap. ‘We kind of thought maybe this was the wrong time for this, because everyone who works in this field was worn out from working the Armory Show and everything that goes on around that, but it turned out it was the perfect time, because everybody needed to vent,’ Ted Riederer, an artist, former art handler and one of the event’s organizers, said. For some of the events, Mr. Riederer took on the role of a cruel German curator, wearing a tight houndstooth suit and sunglasses, shouting abuse at the handlers like ‘Nein! Nein!’ and ‘Hold it higher, higher, a little higher!’ and ‘I pay you people to do this?’"

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