Saturday, October 29, 2011

Teamsters + Occupy Museums = Occupy Sotheby's

Yesterday in front of Sotheby's.
Paddy Johnson offers this report about last evening's Occupy Museums action against Sotheby's, in solidarity with our locked-out brothers from Local 814:
Rain did not deter this week’s Occupy Museums General Assembly, the second in what is an ongoing series of protests. Joined this week by the Art Handlers’ Union, Teamsters Local 814, a group of roughly 60 people collected on the steps of MoMA to protest a system they say has a funding structure and relationship to the market that “disempowers artists, and alienates art from the 99%”. From the museums, they traveled across town to join the picket lines at Sotheby’s just before the launch of their evening Prints sale.
The crowd of protesters was unusually diverse for an art-specific event and according to some protesters larger, even in the rain than last weeks. In attendance was one Guerrilla Girl, a performance poet, and several teamsters. Also, some requisite art folk and a bunch of theatre professionals.
Sounds like an interesting event. Johnson has more...
in front of Sotheby’s ... (n)o general assembly took place, but a clammer of whistle blowing, bells, and chanting could be heard nearly two blocks over. Art handlers have been locked out by the auction house for more than three months, and are striking against the Sotheby’s proposal to eliminate their retirement benefits completely and gut the union.
Indeed, at Sotheby’s the contrast between the 1 percent and the 99 couldn’t have been more stark. Rain-drenched protestors in plaid shirts and blue uniforms faced Sotheby’s glass doors, behind which men and women in corporate attire chatted amicably as though nothing were going on outside. At one point, Sotheby’s representative Diana Phillips was spotted in the lobby, and an art handler shouted out, “That’s the woman who’s responsible for this!” A billow of boos and whistles erupted from the crowds, but no acknowledgement was offered...
By the end of the night, the signs supporting the strikers were tattered by the rain. The words of warning given to occupiers on the way to Sotheby’s hung in the air. Stopping the crowd, a teamster member prepped the protesters. “This won’t be quite as rosey.” He was right.
Read the whole thing here.