Open Call / Exhibition Opportunity – Art / Labor / Activism

Organization: Art Handlers Alliance / Interference Archive

Country: United States

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Call for Entry/Open Call
All Disciplines

Application Deadline: 10/16/2015


The Art Handlers Alliance of New York and Interference Archive invite submissions to an exhibition addressing the history of cultural workers movements and activism within New York City. We are looking specifically at prior and current art workers movements and the strategies utilized to solicit and organize members/participants and plan and execute demonstrations. Exhibition materials include ephemera and photographs, newspaper and magazine articles, and other documentation of labor disputes and strategies for organizing workers. Artists whose works address any of the previously mentioned issues or reflect critically on the conditions of labor within the culture industry are encouraged to submit.

EXHIBITION DATES: December 3, 2015 – December 31, 2015

LOCATION: Interference Archive. 131 8th Street. #4 Brooklyn, NY 11215

Application Instructions / Public Contact Information


1. Up to 5 images or link(s) to 5 minutes of video.
• File Format: JPEGs
• Dimensions: No larger than 1280 pixels on the longest side
• File Resolution: 72 DPI
2. Image list. Must include:
• Artist’s Name
• Title
• Date of Work
• Medium
• Dimensions
• You may include a brief description for each image. Optional.
3. A one-page resume/CV.
4. Artist’s statement. Optional.
5. Submit all documents as PDFs.

MEDIA ACCEPTED: Open to all media. [Video/Media artists, if selected may need to provide their own equipment. A projector and two iPads are available]

NOTIFICATION: Accepted artists will be notified via email by October 30th.

DROP OFF: Drop off of accepted artwork will be November 21st at Interference Archive from noon-4pm. Mailed artwork must arrive by November 20th and include return shipping label/postage/etc.

PICK UP: Artists (or their representative) are responsible for picking up artwork on January 8th, noon to 4pm. Return of mailed artwork with return postage will begin on January 8th.



October 16, 2015 – Entries due
November 2, 2015 – Confirm participation & ability to meet all deadlines
November 20, 2015 – Mailed artwork must be received by
November 21, 2015 – Artwork drop-off
December 3, 2015 – Opening
January 8, 2016 – Artwork pick-up
* Selected artists must be able to meet all deadline dates.

Art Handlers Alliance of New York (AHA-NY):

AHA is a group of art handlers, cultural workers, and like-minded individuals advocating for Art Handlers rights. AHA meetings offer an expanded conversation regarding the unfixed nature of ‘creative’ labor and are focused on the development of potential new forms of organization and collective bargaining to address the contemporary challenges faced by workers involved in the transport, display, storage, and preservation of art objects. The meetings are open to the public and topics of discussion include: health benefits, fair wages, job protection, better working conditions, and solidarity amongst freelance, part-time, and full-time art handlers.

Interference Archive:

The mission of Interference Archive is to explore the relationship between cultural production and social movements. This work manifests in an open stacks archival collection, publications, a study center, and public programs including as exhibitions, workshops, talks, and screenings, all of which encourage critical and creative engagement with the rich history of social movements.

The archive contains many kinds of objects that are created as part of social movements by the participants themselves: posters, flyers, publications, photographs, books, T-shirts and buttons, moving images, audio recordings, and other materials.

As an all-volunteer organization, all members of our community are welcome and encouraged to shape our collection and programming; we are a space for all volunteers to learn from each other and develop new skills. We work in collaboration with like-minded projects, and encourage critical as well as creative engagement with our own histories and current struggles.

Art Handler Magazine Kickstarter campaign

Art Handler Magazine needs your support. Please consider contributing to their Kickstarter campaign.


ART HANDLER is a new print and online publication that deals with the social and cultural impacts of behind-the-scenes labor in the art world. The magazine reconsiders the worker in museums, galleries, studios, and other sites, both practically and theoretically. By focusing on this field, we wish to offer our readers new insight on other interactions within the art world that are normally hidden. Through a combination of photography, editorials, research, and journalism, the magazine provides a clear platform in which an essential, and often overlooked, community can voice its stories and opinions. The magazine stands as a valuable resource for a rapidly growing international workforce and will be useful to critics, artists, curators, and those interested in other perspectives. ART HANDLER magazine puts labor at the center of culture.


By now, we have amassed considerable content with the help of friends and colleagues who worked free-of-charge, because they are not satisfied with the current coverage of the art world. The content is wide-ranging, offering both a historic and contemporary view of the role of labor in the art world.

The first Art Handler issue will feature 33 original articles under 11 sections: Features, Interviews, Pictures, Essays, Looking Back, Backstage, Fashion, Music, Trucking, How To, Annotated Reviews.

Rob van Leijsen’s article “Handling Occupied Art” provides a historical overview of art handling practices in Nazi Germany. Marshall Didier, the owner of one of New York’s oldest art handling companies, recalls what art handling was like in the seventies and writes about rebuilding DeKooning’s last easel from scratch (“Marshall Fine Arts”). “In Conversation with Chuck Close, Manolo Bustamante, and Robert Storr” looks back on the subjects’ last 50 years of behind-the-scenes experiences.

Alongside these historic reflections, Marie Lorenz and Jose Krapp (“Form Ever Follows”), and Clynton Lowry and Shane Caffrey (“Swimming With Sharks”), all practicing artists and art workers, share their experiences in today’s expanded artistic field. In “The Overqualified,” Joshua Simon puts this dual-existence of the artist-art worker into a global context, offering an in-depth analysis of the current labor conditions in the art industry.

Rozenn Canevet, who discusses the performative aspects of art handling in “Béatrice Balcou, In Praise of Gesture,” and Adam Lauder, who discusses the vanguard practices of artist Iain Baxter& and art collective N.E. Thing Co. in “Art In Transit: Carrying Case for Andy Warhol Pillow,” explore artworks whose subject is art’s backstage.
While photo essays by Matthew Monteith (“Handing Down”), Gideon Barnett (“ABMB 2014”), and Maayan Strauss (“NADA and Frieze, NY”) catch the industry in the act and provide an unprecedented glimpse into this complex system at work, photographs by Victor Hugo (“Re-exhibition“) and Richard Illés (“Art Handling in Hungary“), taken on the job, depict banal art handling encounters with surprising aesthetic value and wit.
Orlando Reade, who promotes this outside point of view in “What does the art handler know?” suggests that the art handler’s perspective presents an alternative model of viewing and understanding art—a model that if implemented could have positive social effects on its workers and everyone involved.
For more articles, visit our website! You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
Here’s an exclusive video of the conversation between Chuck Close, Rob Storr, and Manolo Bustamante. Check back soon for 5 of 5!