Art Handlers Voted Art World’s “Best Lovers” in New Survey

The results are in from a new survey administered by the Institute for Social and Amorous Sciences (ISAS) — art handlers have won the majority vote as the “best lovers” out of any other career track in the art world. The survey results were compiled from a questionnaire distributed among 2,200 arts and culture workers between the ages of 20 and 55 working in New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

“What surprised us about these results is how art handlers scored so highly across the board, among straight and LGBTQ*-identifying workers of all races in the creative field,” said Anita Goodrale, a cultural anthropologist and lead researcher for the ISAS study. In 2022, Goodrale and her research assistants published “Intimacy and Social Relationships: Non-Pecuniary Currencies of the Art Market,” a research paper analyzing how the arts and culture sector is just as susceptible, if not more, to using sexual interactions and emotional connectivity for status and approval.

“The ISAS survey is less about the minutiae of inter-field connections compared to my previous research, and more so about physical attraction,” Goodrale continued to Hyperallergic. “Let me put it plainly — the people have made it clear that biceps and a spirit level indicate a more satisfying lay than a turtleneck and an unwarranted lecture about 18th-century lace production.”

The survey asked participants to assign physical and emotional qualities to various career tracks in the arts and culture sector before placing said job types on numbered lists in the order of romantic and sexual compatibility. Art handlers were most frequently assigned “fit or in shape,” “level-headed,” “strong,” and “emotionally unavailable,” and scored between first through third place in 69% of the survey results for sexual compatibility listing. They did, however, score quite poorly in the romantic compatibility department.

Hyperallergic connected with 28-year-old gallery assistant Amal Haughton-Bothard, who shared that she took part in the survey in a post on X, about her thoughts on the results.

“I mean it’s a no-brainer,” she wrote. “Art handlers really just know how to drill — I don’t know if they pick it up on the job or what, but it seems to just come with the territory. I almost thought the survey was a bit unfair, because how are ‘creative technologists’ [sic] or archivists really in the same boat as the more hands-on gigs?”

Oliver Klozov, a 31-year-old freelance art handler and framer based in Brooklyn, told Hyperallergic that while he was impressed with the hard data, “it didn’t tell [him] anything [he] didn’t already know.”

“I mean I get around, but I’m not really the relationship type,” Klozov continued, expanding on the results about romantic compatibility versus sexual compatibility. “I think I’m just not really into commitment right now … Do you wanna see my new tattoo?”

The Art Handlers’ Alliance did not respond to Hyperallergic‘s request for comment, but appears to be aware of the survey results per an open call on social media recruiting art handlers to model for a risqué “Fools with Tools” 2025 calendar.

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