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Just Cause : Bad Faith – Art Workers’ Activism and Organizing in NYC and Beyond


December 3 – December 31, 2015
Opening Reception Thursday, December 3rd 6:00-9:00pm

Art Handlers Alliance of New York and Interference Archive are delighted to present an exhibition of ephemera, articles, and artworks that collectively address a history of cultural workers’ organizing efforts and demonstrations as well as the recent investigations and concerns of artists and individuals working within the culture industry.

In looking at a history of cultural workers’ movements, AHA and IA are less focused on creating a tally of victories and losses, but more concerned with establishing a ‘how-to’ for present day cultural workers. The majority of artists do not have self-sustaining practices and must find alternative means to support themselves and their art. And despite a history of poor labor practices, many artists seek employment within the culture industry. The proximity to art, flexible scheduling, opportunities for behind-the-scenes experiences, and networking compliment their skills and education while supplementing their practices.

However, with these attractions comes an equal opportunity for exploitation through underpayment, discrimination, lack of transparency, and instability. The point at which these concerns outweigh the benefits is the point at which individuals find themselves acting as a collective to protect themselves and their livelihood. Rather than focusing on the accomplishments of specific organizers or artists, we have chosen to emphasize the moments when collective action has been taken, and when artists have recognized their jobs as not just a way of supporting their art practices, but as a subject to be critically examined and possibly improved by their art.

AHA-NY will host its monthly Art Handlers Happy Hour on Tuesday, December 8th, and talks and performances are scheduled for Saturdays. See full schedule of events below.


AHA-NY and IA would like to thank the following individuals, and organizations that have lent their support throughout the exhibition planning and without which the exhibition would not have been possible:

Contributing Artists: Jo-Anne Balcaen, Antonio Serna, Neal Vandenbergh

Contributors, Collaborators, and Supporters: Art Handler Magazine, Adjunct Commuter Weekly, MoMA Library, OWS Arts & Labor, Teamsters Local 814, Temporary Services, W.A.G.E., Shane Caffrey, Benjamin Ferguson, Rachel Higgins, Jennifer Hoyer, Chris Kasper, Clynton Lowry, Kevin McGrath, Greig de Peuter, Blithe Riley, Chloe Seibert, Robert Smith, Stephen Sewell, Julian Tysh, James Whitman

Image Credit: Neal Vandenbergh. “The Equality Rule”. 2015. Vinyl, Graphite, Resin on Panel. Detail View. Courtesy of Neal Vandenbergh.

Schedule of Events:

December 3rd 6-9pm – Opening Reception

December 5th 3pm – Curatorial Walkthrough with Stephen Sewell and James Whitman

December 8th 6:30pm – AHA-NY Art Handlers Happy Hour – Free and open to the public

December 12th 7pm – Artist Performance. Neal Vandenbergh. Fuck Individualisierungsschub.

December 18th 7pm – Artist Talk. Antonio Serna. Collective Timelines.

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.


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