THE ART WORLD’S FAVOURITE HEAVY LIFTER GOT INTO THE BUSINESS BY CHANCE, AS MARGO COLE DISCOVERS.
PHOTOGRAPHY: CRAIG PUSEY
Have you ever wondered how to move a Barbara Hepworth bronze to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park? Or how to get a grand piano out of a fourth floor window? Or how to lift the next controversial artwork onto the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square? Or how to get a sculpture through the doors of a 13th Century cathedral? If so, the answer is likely to be “get Jimmy to do it”.
“Jimmy” is James Mackenzie, owner of Wiltshire-based lifting and haulage specialist JA Mackenzie, which has over the past 20 years developed a reputation as the “go to” company for complex moves and lifts – particularly in the art world. Such is his reputation that Mackenzie now works directly for many artists, who talk to him before they start work on a new piece. “They send me drawings or images of their initial models, and I will tell them where they will need to make cuts so that we can lift it and fix it together on site,” he explains.
Among the contemporary artists he currently works with are Sophie Ryder, Helaine Blumenfeld and Marianne Heske, and he has also moved works by Henry Moore and Jeff Koons. The clients for these artworks include major UK and European galleries, museums, public authorities, the Royal Family and celebrity art collectors.