26 July 2010

The Perks of Working at AIC

So, I'm not sure if it has been quite stressed enough - but I LOVE THIS JOB. In addition to seeing amazing works of art all day, every day - having a back stage pass to the museum is almost worth more than the art itself, metaphorically speaking that is...

Over the course of the last four weeks, we have had regularly scheduled museum practices seminars in which different departments have come to us, as well as welcomed us into their spaces letting us quite honestly pick their brains on the ins, outs, ups, and downs of working at this institution. So far we have met with
  • Mark Pascale, curator of Prints and Drawings, 
  • Bob Eskridge, Executive Director of Museum Education
  • Public Affairs and Marketing
  • Development
  • The Teens and Library Program
  • Kate Bussard and Liz Siegel, curators of Photography
  • Conservation
and that's only the beginning - we have yet to meet with Contemporary Art, Security, Art Packing, and the director of the museum Jim Cuno himself!!! In case you can't tell - I really, really, really like the Museum Practices Seminars. Don't get me wrong, touring has been an absolute blast, so has the research, but understanding how the museum functions is completely fascinating.

Some highlights of our meetings have included:
- Telling PR/Marketing about our twitter and having them in return give our twitter unbelievable press.
- Seeing some of the amazing creative work done by the high school interns through the program After School Matters.
- Going into the refrigerated rooms in photography with the curators (I SAW A BOX OF CINDY SHERMAN'S AND ALMOST CRIED) - they store the black and white photographs at about 60 degrees fahrenheit, and the color photographs at 40.
- Jen receiving a copy of the book published from the Victorian Photocollage Exhibition, because she loved it and Liz Siegel curated it.
- Having Mark Pascale pull out two different editions of rare Toulouse Lautrec posters, a Degas pastel drawing, Bruce Nauman color screenprints, a Charles Ray marker drawing, a Miro print - and we have been invited to come back and have prints pulled out for us (I know I want to see some Warhol!!).
Toulouse-Lautrec, Aristide Bruant in His Cabaret, 1893
Edgar Degas, Landscape with Smokestacks, 1890
Bruce Nauman, Study for Holograms, 1970
Charles Ray, Untitled, 2003

- Getting a private walk/talk from Mark Pascale at the See America First Exhibition.
- Seeing Manet's Jesus Mocked by the Soldiers both on the wall and up close and personal in restoration mode at Conservation.
Edouard Manet, Jesus Mocked by the Soldiers, 1865
- Seeing the lovely Chagall Windows being cleaned in preparation for their return to display this coming fall!! 
Marc Chagall, America Windows, 1977

- Getting several different scientific and historical private consultations on works being cleaned, restored, and prepared by preparators in Conservation.
    And we still haven't seen it all! We also had the opportunity to attend a Town Hall meeting in the Fullerton Auditorium, which was totally and completely AWESOME. Basically, representatives from various departments present to other employees updates, ideas, new exhibitions, and marketing campaigns. It was really, really, really cool.

    What I'm trying to say is - the behind the scenes aspects of AIC are just as fascinating and interesting at the works in the galleries. Learning day by day all that goes into the functionality of the museum is one of the major perks of interning here, and for that I and the other interns are completely grateful! 

    15 July 2010

    my month in photos

    1. View from my porch after a storm 
    2. Interns at lunch in Millenium Park 
    3. Dancing on a float at The Gay Pride Parade 
    4. A view of a crowded intersection from the Pride float 
    5. Interns in front of Struth's Art Institute of Chicago 
    6. Interns in front of Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawing #1111 
    7. Mari and Rainbow Cone at Taste of Chicago 
    8. A view from a friend's porch on the 4th of July 
    9. Black Bear Combo at Star Lounge on the 4th of July 
    10. Me in Millenium Park in my new red cowl neck dress from the AA rummage sale 
    11. Clay at Millenium Park 
    12. Caribou's free show at Millenium Park

    The interns at AIC have also been keeping a blog and a Twitter if you want to hear all about my job check them out!

    14 July 2010

    Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawing #1111: A Metaphor For Interns in Training

    Though I will admit this post is long overdue, it's about time we noted that Sol LeWitt's installation ran perfectly parallel to our crash course in Museum Education.

    Upon our arrival here at The Art Institute of Chicago, we were greeted by a fantastic work in progress: none other than one of the many carefully instructed Sol LeWitt's dotting the art world today, including Wall Drawing #63 on display in Gallery 294. For those of you who aren't familiar with Sol LeWitt, a large body of his work consists of conceptual and minimalist pieces. Wall Drawing #1111: A Circle With Broken Bands of Color like much of his other work is strictly directed based upon drafted up plans and schematics as well as predetermined colors and materials. The idea is at the core of these works, and the plan and execution follows second - revealing an often times large scale, geometric, and minimal image in the wake of work and preparation.

    Wall Drawing #1111 took about three weeks to complete. When we arrived at AIC for our first day of work, the layout and colors had been determined. Day by day, tape was added, then color, layer after layer in a hard to follow pattern.

    One of the artists executing LeWitt's work

    Each day, more and more of the colors were painted in place filling in the grand scheme of the circle upon the wall. The wall drawing mirrored our own budding experiences here at AIC. We began the internship with an idea of what this opportunity was, what this institution was, but over the course of our training and the first we weeks of touring, the idea of this internship really came to life. With each color added to the wall drawing came one more day of experience, whether it was finding where the elevators are, mock touring, or learning everyone's names.

    Sections of color systematically added to the wall

    I like to think of the primary colors coming to represent the three facets of museum education that we are working for: Adult, Family, and Student Programs. Each one stands alone, yet together they function as a wonderful whole that works toward the unifying goal of bringing the museum and the art within to the diverse range of visitors. The secondary colors are what comes when you combine the primary colors - the result being the way in which the different departments work together training us on all facets of museum education and the inner-workings of this institution. With each day came more paint, and more information, as the circle began to fill in, we began to feel comfortable in our roles as museum educators. At the end of our final day of training the tape and paper was removed from the wall, revealing the finished product, a wall drawing for our intern class to call our own.

    (interns left to right) Natalie, Mary D., David, Adrienne, Mary H., Maya, Jen, Sandy

    To read a full interview with one of executors of Wall Drawing #1111 and to see more photographs of the installation, visit the AIC blog. The first two photographs were taken by Jason Stec.