We use both generalist riggers and sculpture specialists. Both types do fine. Rigging large complex objects is rigging
large complex objects, whether septic tanks or sculpture.
Sculpture specialists are more expensive. To have sufficient business, they need to serve several states (Connecticut,
New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts). Because some of these states are strong union states, the workers must be
union members and bill at union rates in all the states.
Lots of riggers are looking for work these days, thus reducing the rates of non-union generalist riggers. The result is
that the fees of unionized sculpture specialists run about twice those of non-union generalists. There are also
sometimes significant attitudinal differences between the two types.
Nonetheless, for particularly difficult local jobs in Connecticut, such as installing and de-installing a piece hung from a
museum ceiling, we rely on sculpture specialists. Otherwise we prefer the cheerier generalists, who might do a one-day
outdoor installation of a single artwork for $2000 compared to a specialist price of $4000.
In the worlds of museums and of landscape sculpture, that $2000 differential for one day for one piece is a large
amount. That's because museums have little money. And because, as Richard Serra may have said, "the market for large abstract outdoor sculpture is like the market for Canadian experimental poetry."
On installation and rigging (from my essay Seeing Around):
Big artworks are big deals to install; outdoor pieces often outweigh humans by hundreds-fold. Steelworkers, riggers, operators--who do the heavy lifting and putting together--engage in a complex and sometimes dangerous craft. Like sculptors, they move big metal to precise 3D locations, work against gravity, closely attend to rigging operations, and appreciate the sheer physicality of large artworks. Landscape installations are challenging and notable, and everyone involved usually comes away with a good story.
-- Edward Tufte