Saturday, December 19, 2009


Art handling is all about balance, understanding the physical presence of the object/ Art and recognizing how to touch it. " ..Do know harm.." is a pretty good mantra, how to do it is the Art: Art handling part. In this business you learn through experience and that is at once the problem and reward. It's a practice, like other professions, and the ideal is something that's mandatory in it's practice. Of course this can be difficult and impossible, especially in groups where consensus is absolutely necessary. As the Art gets as big or bigger than us it becomes less personal and this distance represents the difference in the quality of the Art Handler. Here's a list of possible sculptural materials and their weights. Handling stone sculpture is a good measure. Marble can be 171 lbs. a cubic ft. A life size figure is heavy.

I love the range of Art. Objects are always dissimilar. The Art part of Art Handling is the creative prerequisite. How am I going to do it is something I always begin with. In doubt I let my instincts take over and I stop and reconsider when I have none. I wrote in an earlier post about the National Geographic's: Ceramic Warriors Show. I was primed for it by having just installed a stone Buddha for a private collector. It/ he/ is/was beautiful. I love that part of the world and the imagery / philosophy of both Warriors and Buddha seem culturally supplementary. I'm ripe for Zen, how little I know of it. The Art Handler's responsibility is to be perfect. Handling stuff like this, one after the other, is a barometer of where we're @.

I received a call based on this blog for the first time. I was asked the possibilities of de-installing and then re-installing Buddha from it's present residence to another house not too far away. At the site visit, I verified it was about 1200 lbs. The client and I hit it off, the Buddha was well loved and he wanted an aesthetic treatment commensurate with what Buddha represents. He had already spoken to a rigging company and was apprehensive about their methods. He told me he had gone through the yellow pages in vain and by accident found me. The search had taken some time and he wanted to know if I could do it ASAP as the household move was immanent. There were difficult obstacles in both locations: steps, doors, truck accessibility, object placement, that required a gantry, crane truck, etc. and since I owned all the rigging equipment, that part was not a problem. I told him I would build a handling frame/ pallet on site and I could de-install/ pack/ re-install Buddha in one day. Before I left I asked him how did he get it in the house in the first place. He told me a story about purchasing the Buddha from a dealer in Asia. It was crated, shipped and delivered to his house and left in his front yard. He was wondering what to do about it when he was visited by 15 Tibetan Buddhist monks. Somehow along with himself and another friend they managed to bring the Buddha into the house and install it on it's wood pedestal, but he said it was not easy. I loved that image. As I was leaving, he asked how many guys I would bring? I told him two.

We set up the aluminum gantry with two chain falls on the i-beam and placed Buddha in position. We wrapped two straps on either side of the figure with opposite chokes, careful where the tension would touch the body and hooked them to the chain falls. In slow motion we raised each chain fall by chain link feeling the balance and adjusting as needed. Without a sound the seated Buddha rose. In the air it floated perfectly level. The client looked at me and said something like, .." You made it levitate."

Video music: excerpt.." Perhaps it Matters." Mack on bass, Ben Gage on guitar
Merry Holidays