Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh

Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh is a consortium of local museums, galleries and archives working together to share information and expertise, and foster collaboration in research, teaching, and public engagement.

Here, at the HAA Constellations blog, you can read about some of the outcomes of these partnerships. Learn more about Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh at https://haa.pitt.edu/ckp.

 

Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh

  • Left: A screenshot from an archived webpage of a small business in Pittsburgh. Right: A screenshot from the patched archived webpage.

     

    Preserving Websites? Yes, it Exists!

    Museum Studies Intern at the Senator John Heinz History Center’s Detre Library & Archives – Fall 2020

    This fall I interned for the Senator John Heinz History Center here in Pittsburgh. Given the current situation, I was working remotely on a project relating to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Pandemic under the guidance of Archivists Sierra Green and Carly Lough through the History Center’s Detre Library and Archives. I was able to spend hours reviewing trial captures (crawls) of websites from multiple areas of society that have been affected by the pandemic.

     

    These crawls captured websites from local business and industry, community organizations, religious communities, municipal government, people with disabilities, schools, recreation, healthcare, charitable giving, the arts and cultural institutions. A number of the business webpages captured were small businesses that had to close their doors due to complications of the current situation. I have shared a screenshot from a crawl that was done of a small business called The Pittsburgh Yarn Company that had to close its store. Above the text there is an empty white box along with two images missing above the business name. The main point of archiving this particular website, despite the images missing, is what the text says. The company states that, “The COVID-19 pandemic was really the nail in the coffin for us and there is no way we can continue to maintain the shop.” Thankfully in this case, the History Center archivists were able to “patch” this crawl so that the missed images were preserved as well.

     

    The capture of this webpage is now a part of the History Center’s web archive, which will be open to researchers in the future. This is just one of many stories that have been preserved through crawls using this way of archiving the web. Throughout my work, I have also reviewed Facebook posts, Instagram posts, and even videos. There was a number of local businesses and places of worship that posted weekly videos for their audience to watch. So, every week, there were several webpages that I would review to make sure the weekly content was displaying correctly. Now, there is a digital timeline that is created for every week that particular webpage was captured.

     

    At times, an initial crawl would not go according to plan. An example of this was an instance where images of the staff from a business would not load when I replayed the archived webpage using the Wayback Machine. In this case, it was important to have these images show up in the archived webpage because they helped tell the complete story of that particular business. As a result, I would flag this as an issue and either Sierra or Carly would tweak the crawling parameters or try a different approach to produce a more complete result.

     

    Each of our lives have been affected by the current pandemic that is hitting the world. These archived webpages are now part of the growing documentation of how Western Pennsylvanians have responded to the pandemic. So much of the information about this pandemic is rapidly published, updated and changed only on the Internet.  The History Center’s ability to archive webpages is crucial in its efforts to document all sections of society in Western Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh area during this pandemic.

    Categories: 
    • Academic Interns
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh
  • Screenshot of one of the Instagram posts I created for the UAG.

     

    Stay Connected: Museum from Home

    Museum Studies Intern at the University Art Gallery (UAG) – Fall 2020

    Covid-19 hits the world unexpectedly, spreading across the globe and affecting people’s lives in every way. Museums and art galleries, being the places where people would usually go to and get themselves immersed with arts, were faced with an immediate challenge to respond and adapt to “the new normal.” At the start of the semester, I was anxious about securing an internship during this tough time, and my location in China added complexity as well as difficultly to the situation. Luckily, I was able to obtain an internship at the UAG, working under the guidance of director Sylvia Rhor. During my internship, I mainly worked on developing programs that connect and engage people with the UAG via social media. I will also be working on carrying out interactive Instagram projects for our current exhibition and redeveloping the UAG website.

    In preparation for developing online programs, I first researched how other academic museums respond to the pandemic, primarily through looking at their websites and social media accounts. My research indicated that many academic museums are making efforts to stay connected and continue to share art with the world. Some of them devised virtual tours where visitors could get a sense of the physical exhibition space, while others created various programs on social media such as Instagram.  After listing several potential projects that the UAG could do projects, Sylvia and I agreed that we should create a series of posts drawing from the UAG’S permeant collections to share on Instagram. In this way, despite the gallery remained closed to the public, people from all over the country can explore and get informed about the UAG collection.

    With a general theme in mind, I then browse through our permanent collection to undertake the project. The screenshot above shows the first Instagram post I created for the UAG. I decided to share this particular etching of the Cathedral of Learning because I knew many others could not be in Pittsburgh due to the pandemic. I hope that people can find comfort by looking at a piece of artwork of this familiar Pittsburgh landmark. And I want to remind people that although we are somewhat isolated at the moment, we can still stay connected from home and continue to enjoy art through social media platforms.

    The rampant pandemic had us rethink the future of museums. Whether through creating virtual tours or social media programs, academic museums strived to adapt to the new normal to continue sharing cultural objects with the public. As we progress, I believe we can do better in connecting and sharing our beautiful collections with more and more people regardless of their geographic locations.

     

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    The Joy of Virtual Connection

    Museum Studies Intern at Associated Artists of Pittsburgh - Fall 2020

    I surely don't have to express how strange this year is, but I would like to discuss how important social media and virtual experiences have been in the current context. Social Media has been a staple for some time now, but it became nearly essential over the course of this year. It gained a new power as one of the only ways to escape our quarantined space and live vicariously through the images, words and videos that were generously posted. My internship allowed me to add to this virtual experience. 

    The incredible task that I was able to work on for my internship at Associated Artists of Pittsburgh was to create weekly videos that highlighted the artworks and creative places that can be found across Pittsburgh. These videos were posted to Associated Artists of Pittsburgh’s Instagram. The Executive Director, Madeline Gent, hatched this plan along with my input as she insisted I was to be involved in a project I would enjoy and be proud of. While I was also involved in a variety of day-to-day tasks, my main objective was the production of these videos. To do this, I would visit various galleries and organizations and make a video that would last no more than one minute. This was done to show AAP support for local art galleries, museums, organizations, and artists.  

    Through this opportunity, I was able to learn how important social media is and how it can be beneficial to the development of a company's digital outreach. People would view these videos and sometimes even contact me to thank me for showing them a new place or artist. I was so happy to increase audience for these arts venues and provide a virtual experience with art at a moment when it was most difficult to visit in person. 

    This was a tough year for so many reasons but art could provide an uplifting form of human expression or even a form of escapism. Social media became the most important museum in the world, and one in which all are eligible to participate and explore. This internship opened my eyes to both the importance of being social and also the inner workings of a cultural sector non-profit. It was an incredible experience and I’m so glad I was able to be involved and happy I could put something positive out for people to view.

    Categories: 
    • Academic Interns
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh
  • A photograph of 34 people at Area nightclub.

    Photo by Michael Halsband, 1984. Courtesy of the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh.

     

    The Lankton/Warhol Connections

    by Grace Marston, Museum Studies Intern at the Mattress Factory - Fall 2020

    When I sought to conduct my Museum Studies Internship at the Mattress Factory’s Greer Lankton Archives, part of the idea was to get some museum experience outside of the Andy Warhol Museum, where I have worked for nine years. Indeed, it has been extremely rewarding to work in a different museum with a different collection, yet I started noticing connections between Lankton and Warhol on my very first day.

    Greer Lankton’s datebooks indicate that she went to nightclubs like Pyramid, Palladium, and Club 57 during her years in New York in the early 1980s. Andy Warhol frequented those same clubs. Lankton created dolls modeled after Divine and Diana Vreeland, who were both friends with Warhol. Lankton knew Rene Richard, Teri Toye, and Stephen Sprouse, who are all mentioned in Warhol’s diaries. Peter Hujar photographed both Lankton and Warhol. Lankton compiled folders of magazine clippings about Warhol Superstars such as Jane Forth and Candy Darling. Lankton owned a book of Warhol’s prints and cut out images of several artworks.

    Sometime in the afternoon of my first day at the Mattress Factory, I came across a newspaper clipping of an advertisement for a nightclub called Area. It was a group photo taken by Michael Halsband featuring 34 people, a dalmatian, and a horse. On the far left of the photo was Andy Warhol, and on the far right was Greer Lankton. I recognized many of the people in between. It was exciting to see evidence that these two artists were in the same room at the same time, at least once.

    I spent the next few weeks digitally cataloging photographs in the Greer Lankton Archives and generating content for the Mattress Factory’s social media accounts, but my mind kept returning to that Area photo. Eventually, I discovered that the Andy Warhol Museum had a behind-the-scenes photo that Warhol had taken on the day of the Area photoshoot. I also found that Stanford University’s collection of Warhol photos contained two more contact sheets of behind-the-scenes images from that photo shoot. I decided to use these resources to begin a research project about the Area photo.

    I managed to identify 26 of the 34 people in the photo. I learned a lot about the lives of the regulars at this notorious nightclub, people who were part of both Lankton and Warhol’s worlds. I’m not surprised by Lankton’s quote that Warhol was the “dullest person I ever met;” she clearly knew a lot of fascinating people who were probably much less reserved than Warhol. Despite the pithy quote, obviously she was a Warhol fan in her own way. I felt uniquely well-positioned to investigate this overlap between the collections of the Mattress Factory and the Andy Warhol Museum; and for me there was never a dull moment.

    Categories: 
    • Academic Interns
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh
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    Interning in the Digital Age

    To finish out my final semester at Pitt, I had the opportunity to be a Museum Studies Intern at Silver Eye Center for Photography. 

    If you’ve been on the planet in 2020, you know that there has been a global pandemic. Although life slowed down for a while during the summer lockdown, once the fall semester rolled around had to get back to work and prepare to graduate. One of my final degree requirements was to obtain a Museum Studies internship for the completion of my minor. I was lucky enough to secure a position at Silver Eye!

    In past years, Silver Eye offered students a very hands-on experience, where they could learn how to print photographs as well as get a glimpse of the behind the scenes process of putting together a gallery exhibit.  Even though we could not physically go into the gallery, I found our weekly zoom meetings to be highly informational and just as eye-opening. 

    Prior to my time at Silver Eye, I had a basic understanding of photography since my major was in Film Studies. Even if both mediums use a camera, I did not know that photography was a very different art form altogether. It was almost as if I was exploring an entirely new world. Silver Eye immersed me in the image-making process. I always thought photos were more so a documentary style, but here I found myself redefining what photography meant to me. It was so much more creative, expressive, and personal than I had noticed before. 

    Because the internship was conducted remotely, I also explored the ways in which the gallery interacted with the public through its online presence. I enjoyed most of the videos that were on their youtube channel that featured artist talks. The artists featured in previous exhibitions would talk about their thought process, methodology, and lives in general. It not only let me peer into their creative process, but it also outlined what it was like to be a working artist today. I found myself thinking more deeply about photographs than I ever had before, and it was so easy! Just by watching their youtube videos, I was able to glean new information to build new connections. Little did I know, this was all preparing me for the culminating project of the semester--making my own online exhibition.

    Currently, I am in a class called Exhibition Presentation so I am eager to combine the skills I used learned there with the training I received at Silver Eye. With my online exhibition, I get to engage with my chosen photographer and present their work to the online Silver Eye audience. All of the new questions and interests I have developed over the course of the semester now will come in handy when I have to conduct an interview. Silver Eye made learning something new really fun for me, and I am excited to make learning fun for somebody else.  

    Categories: 
    • Academic Interns
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh
    • Lawson Pace next to a millstone reading "In Honor of Nellie Bly"
    • Nellie Bly raising her hat, dressed as she would have been on her journey around the world
    Lawson Pace next to a millstone reading "In Honor of Nellie Bly"

    Posing with the millstone memorializing Nellie Bly in Cochran's Mills, Pennsylvania.

     

    Traveling From Home: Following Nellie Bly

    Museum Studies Intern at the Senator John Heinz History Center - Fall 2020

    Telling a story about a whirlwind journey around the world seems ridiculous at a time when a global pandemic has led many countries to restrict travel or even close their borders, and yet this was my task this semester as an intern at the Senator John Heinz History Center. Working closely with the museum’s excellent curatorial and marketing staff, I helped to research and write material for the History Center’s website and social media pages telling the story of Nellie Bly’s trip around the world.

    Bly’s real name was Elizabeth Cochran, and she worked as a reporter for the New York World. Bly was already known for her daring and confidence, having faked mental illness to be admitted to a mental asylum in 1887. Her exposé of the asylum’s miserable conditions inspired public outrage and reform of the medical system. In 1888, she had the idea to embark on a journey around the world in a publicity stunt for the newspaper. Departing in November 1889 and returning in January 1890, Bly broke the record for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe, managing the feat in only 72 days at the age of 25. Later in life, she owned and operated a major manufacturing firm and even reported from the Eastern Front during the First World War. Nellie Bly was a journalist, feminist, industrialist, inventor, and an all-around fascinating woman.

    I started my internship by researching Nellie Bly and her trip broadly, trying to understand who she was and her significance to the time that she lived in. Since my internship was entirely virtual, I used digitized newspaper records extensively. After several weeks of preliminary research, I began the main task of my internship, to write twenty short articles following Bly’s journey day-by-day. My previous writing experience was predominantly academic, so I worked with my supervisor to develop my skills writing for a general audience. As I wrote, I began to discover that the story I was writing was not only about Nellie Bly; it was also about gender, race, imperialism, and the rapidly changing world of the late nineteenth century. Learning how to engage with these topics in a sensitive way was one of the most important parts of my internship.

    Besides the many other things that she was, Nellie Bly was also a Western Pennsylvanian. She was born in Cochran’s Mills, a small village in Armstrong County built around the mills that her father owned; and she got her start in journalism at the Pittsburgh Dispatch. One Sunday, I decided to drive out to Cochran’s Mills to see what remained of the hometown of the woman that I feel that I have come to know so well. I found a church, a fire department, a few scattered houses, and a millstone with a plaque honoring Bly. The 45-minute drive felt like a surprisingly long trip to make to see a single historical marker at first, but it made me think about how the pandemic and its accompanying isolation has altered our perception of distance and what constitutes “travel.” I was struck by the irony of the fact that this short trip was the furthest I had ventured for a project about travelling the world. However, I believe that the peculiarity and irony of this project reveals potential paths forward for museums in a transformed world. We can only grow by embracing the contradictions.

  • Dinosaurs in Their Time gallery at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

     

    Problematic Language in the Prehistoric

    Museum Studies Intern at Carnegie Museum of Natural History - Fall 2020

    When walking through the galleries of a museum, how often do you read the labels on each display? Do you dissect each one with careful detail? Skim them for important information? Or perhaps skip them entirely, paying more attention to the visual display right in front of you? As a student interested in pursuing a career in public health, my interest is often directed toward the public. I was able to integrate that interest with my internship at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History by taking a closer look at the display labels in each gallery, specifically addressing the language used to describe species interactions.

    Under the supervision of Dr. Jessica Landau, my investigation led me through many galleries, however the one I found most interesting from the results it yielded was Dinosaurs in Their Time. As one of the largest galleries featured in this museum, with extensive collections of fossils and prehistoric skeletons, there were plenty of display labels available for me to break down and record for my data collection. For statisticians, scientists and researchers out there, a large sample size is key, right?

    I recorded the explicit occurrence of each word in a comprehensive Excel spreadsheet, allowing me to quantify the usage of positive (symbiotic or cooperative) or negative (competitive or predatory) species interaction vocabulary being used in the gallery. When I recognized the explicit occurrence of a word being used in a display label, I recorded it in my spreadsheet. In addition, I took careful notes about what kind of interaction was being displayed by the fossils themselves. I performed this same data collection routine with all the display labels in the gallery.

    The quantitative results I found from the initial investigation were dramatic. Out of the 61 display labels available, there were 50 occurrences of negative species interactions and 2 occurrences of positive species interactions. This frequency of predatory and competitive language identified in this gallery unveiled a unique trend that motivated the rest of the project I worked on for the three months of my involvement in this internship.

    Conducting this research was exciting and continued to pique my curiosity as trends revealed themselves through each gallery breakdown. Additionally, investigating the labels in this way allowed me to think critically about the interactions the public is having with the language used in the display labels and how they affect their experience as a viewer or museumgoer. I look forward to seeing this research develop further, and possibly shape how this museum and many more approach writing display labels in the future.

    Categories: 
    • Academic Interns
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh
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    On Greer Lankton, the Best Friend I’ve Never Met

    Author: Isaiah Bertagnolli, PhD Student in History of Art and Architecture

     

    On the night before my last day working as a graduate fellow with the Greer Lankton Archive at the Mattress Factory, Greer came to me in a dream. She handed me a black shoebox. Inside of that shoebox was the doll she made of the drag queen Divine, star of Pink Flamingos, one of Greer’s favorite movies. I myself have never seen the movie, but remember the poster well from the video rental store my family used to frequent when I was a kid. As a six-year-old in Montana, I had no idea what drag was. But I remember thinking Divine was...ridiculous looking. This is the best gift I have ever been given, even if I’ll never have the doll in my possession. Thanks diva.

    To work during the summer of Covid was a challenge. It wasn’t until my final month as a fellow I could access the archive itself, and even then only twice a week and each for a short amount of time. For most of my fellowship I catalogued photographs remotely, and went through some of the materials from the archive which had been digitized. I could glean bits and pieces of her life, and I found her very sympathetic. But being in the archive was a profound experience, emotional rather than scholastic. I felt her with me most days, and I think of her as the closest friend I’ve never met.

    She was assigned male at birth to her parents, Bill and Lynn Lankton in 1958. She came out as gay at 14, suffered a psychotic break at 19, and began to transition shortly after. She underwent gender confirmation surgery, which her Presbyterian minister father got his Church’s board to cover under the church’s medical insurance. She went to Pratt Institute, and started making a name for herself in the East Village art scene of the 1980s. Peter Hujar shot an ad for her solo show at Civilian Warfare, which appeared on the back cover of ArtForum International. Her father officiated her wedding to Paul Monroe, and the event was photographed by her friends Joyce Randall and Nan Goldin.

    Greer struggled. A lot. She was bullied growing up for being effeminate, and bullied for being gay. She came to regret her gender confirmation surgery because she felt deeply unattractive and consequently unloveable. According to close friend Joyce Randall, Greer felt gay men didn’t want her and neither did straight men. She struggled with substance abuse, and went through rehab for heroin addiction after her divorce. According to medical records in the archive which quote Greer, she was subject to domestic abuse. She attempted suicide a number of times throughout her life, and she ultimately died of a cocaine overdose. But despite all this, one can feel the happiness that making dolls brought her. One can feel the love so many had for her in letters and photographs that the archive preserves. She may have felt alone, but there were people who loved and supported her, who wanted things to be better for her, to be easier for her, even well before she moved to New York.

    Greer played with dolls as a kid, and as anyone who had to play by themselves can tell you, that really exercises your imagination. That same sense of make believe is manifest in all of her dolls; they were actors in her fantasy world. An interview published in Cellar Door asked “Do you think of them [the dolls] as being real?” To which Greer replied “No, not really, I mean in a way I do. I talk to them. I know they are dolls. I miss them when they are not here, but I don’t feel lonely when they’re not around.”[2] Her dolls all have unique personalities indicated by their names, their sense of style, their appearances. For Greer, I came to suspect, dolls were her friends, and this was a question that I posed in an interview with her close friend David Newcomb. Newcomb said the dolls were the type of friends she wanted, the drag queens she never quite fit in with. Some of her dolls were autobiographical, but not all of them are self portraits. Her dolls are art, but to regard them solely as art minimizes the enormity of the world to which they belong.

    It is appropriate in a lot of ways that her installation at the Mattress Factory was a house. It’s a doll house. It’s a reconstruction of her apartment, but more succinctly it represents her world. It is full of the things she loved, and the things that brought her joy. The installation title “It’s All About Me, Not You” tells us as much. It’s a declaration that this installation is unequivocally Greer. But that’s not to say one cannot participate. Initially, visitors were allowed to enter the space, to see these little treasures up close. It seems that Greer Lankton wanted people to get to know her through her art, on her terms. She wanted to be known, and to be loved. It’s Greer’s world. We’re all just living in it.

    To close, I would encourage supporting trans-led organizations which seek to benefit transgender folks who are at higher risk for suicide attempts, substance abuse, domestic violence, and homicide. Trans people of color are at especially higher risk. Here in Pittsburgh, SisTers and BroThers PGH, True T, and Trans You-Niting are all local community organizations which address intersecting systems of oppression to uplift and care for trans people in this city.

    [1] Personal Interview with David Newcomb, 14 July 2020 conducted by Greer Lankton Archive team. I was able to tell Newcomb about Cloey’s dream, to which he said “She wanted to be remembered, for sure.”

    [2] “Three Women Artists in the 80’s: Greer Lankton” Cellar Door Vol. xii No. 2, Spring 1985, pp 33-42, Archive Cabinet 3, shelf 3, box 1 “Newspapers and magazines 1972-1989 and undated” Folder 34.

    Categories: 
    • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh
  • Journal by Charles Bonaventure Scully, 1843.

     

    Manuscripts, Documents, and Journals- Oh My!

    Museum Studies Intern at Archives Service Center – Spring 2020

    For as long as I can remember, I’ve simply loved old things. I started at a young age by watching history documentaries with my parents and reading books on Egyptology. Later on, I began to collect old things.  My book collection is now at almost 60 books, with some from as early as the 1730s. My love of “old things” has always driven me to ask questions about the past and look at primary sources to see first-hand what was happening in the era I’m studying. While working at the University’s Archives Service Center this past semester, I tried to do exactly that.

    I worked on Polish in Western Pennsylvania, a collection a with multiple subseries, and focused on the Polish Societies section. The collection needed to be streamlined  to be more widely used by professors for research. I began by going through the six boxes in the series to become familiar with the many Polish societies in the Pittsburgh area and their wide influence. Just within the Lawrenceville area, there were about 3 separate chapters of the Polish Falcons of America Society. 

    After I did a first look through the materials, which consisted of documents from as early as 1916 and as recent as the 1990s, I sorted through and organized documents from the Societies subseries in Polish in Western PA Collection. I developed a plan to move the documents around and re-foldered them so they could be more easily used in future research, a kind of overhaul of the subseries. The amount of materials I had to go through was at times daunting, but I knew that by organizing this subseries, I was giving this collection a better chance of educating the public. I learned how to use Archivist Toolkit, a program the Archives Service Center uses for creating the online finding aids for the collections. I worked on updating the finding aid and making it more specific with my new organization of the folders, although it has not been published yet.

    Although my work this semester was interrupted due to COVID-19, there was actually a silver lining. I had a very interesting opportunity to do more than one project. I am now working on a transcription of the diary from 1843 by a man named Charles Bonaventure Scully, a local collector, lawyer, and Pitt graduate. Back when Scully attended the university, it was still called the Western University of Pennsylvania. His diary was fascinating in that it gives a glimpse into the daily life of a man from more than 150 years ago.

    Throughout this semester, I was able to work at the most basic level of the Archives and see the functioning of a research center. I had no idea how deep the Polish roots were in Pittsburgh and just how important these societies were to the basis of the city. My work this semester made me realize that my love of collections and old things could become more than just a hobby— it could be my career. We need collections in order to preserve human history.

    Categories: 
    • Academic Interns
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh
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    Small Things That Make Art Great

    HAA internship blog Clara Wang

    Museum Studies Intern at Pittsburgh Glass Center – Spring 2020

     

                As an artist, I am always interested in approaching art from new perspectives to discover how different views and experiences will change the way I see the art world. Working with the curator and marketing team in the Pittsburgh Glass Center this semester allowed me to get involved in the working process in an art gallery and it also brought my imagination about this job to back to earth.

                When I started the internship, I spent a lot of time researching and cataloging work to assist the marketing team to find more resources and promote the exhibitions. I spent weeks researching galleries and spaces where artists could display their works and hold small exhibitions. Though these kinds of research tasks are small compared with curating a show or developing a marketing plan for an exhibition. However, as I kept working on similar tasks, I realized that these small things are crucial to the functioning of the Glass Center. Working in the art world doesn’t always mean to be creative and critical all of the time. Indeed, many of the skills and responsibilities are the same as a lot of other jobs. Communicating with organizations to find the right resources; building connections with people of different professional backgrounds for potential cooperation; working with a team to figure out due dates and plans. When I finished steps like making contact lists and checking the grammar of the exhibition invitation, I kept in mind that each of these small steps are for art. Even though they didn’t seem so artistic in their process, they all promote the artists and their works to the public.

                Working with the curator to prepare the new exhibition, I was again surprised by how many small things a curator needs to manage for an exhibition. From cleaning tiny stain on display easels to deciding the font of wall text, theses details all rely on the curator. During the process, more problems will come up. For example, in the beginning, we needed to connect with every artist multiple times to check on their process to ensure the full collection of works by installation. We needed high resolution photos and descriptions of the works and artists beforehand to advertise. At the same time, we had to plan and schedule the transportation of the work. Installation was the most difficult part. It was not simply about avoiding staining a piece or breaking a fragile artwork. For some works, for example, you had to memorize how each component of the work was packed and placed in the box because after the exhibition they need to be arranged the same way again.

                Large and small, the whole process of internship gave me the chance to understand the reality of working in the art world. The huge variety of details could feel boring and stressful. But, by the time when everything is put together, you see that it is the small things makes the art shines.

    Categories: 
    • Academic Interns
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh

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