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High-Profile Art Couple Offers Worst Job Ever – The New York Times

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Emily Colucci, a freelance art writer, “constantly, mindlessly” browses the online job listings hosted by the nonprofit New York Foundation for the Arts — and last week she found a doozy.

The ad, seeking a full-time “Executive/Personal Assistant” with “a high level of discretion,” had been posted by an anonymous but high-profile “Art World Family.” It was that phrase that first caught Colucci’s eye: “I thought it might have been a child-care service,” she explained. But the ad itself combined a tone so blithe with a detailed list of tasks so unreasonable that Colucci quickly posted it to the blog she co-founded, Filthy Dreams, under the title “I Found It: The Worst Art Job Listing Ever Created.”

And what made the blog post immediately catch fire across the internet was that it was only slightly crazier than the sorts of jobs many young people — the overeducated assistants, the underemployed M.F.A.s, all the well-dressed hordes of the exploited — already put up with to get a toehold in what looks like the glamour of the art world.

For starters, the lucky candidate would expect to work “in a dynamic, unstructured environment and possess flexibility to change course at a moment’s notice.”

Among many other domestic chores, the aspiring subordinate would “serve as the central point of communication to household staff (includes chef, nannies, landscapers, dog walkers, housekeeper, contractors, and building managers),” but also be left alone with the couple’s 4-year-old. Clothes would need to be picked up from “high end” stores, and one could expect to “coordinate all cleaning, repairs, and guest stays.” Do you have a green thumb? You’ll need one: The post requires “apartment rooftop garden maintenance.”

He or she would make restaurant reservations, R.S.V.P. to events, and “create detailed travel itineraries for family to follow” for domestic or international excursions — passports to hotels to airport escorts. (Oh, and manage travel bookings for members of the artist’s studio, too.)

But the point that really stayed with Colucci was the ad’s one-sentence synopsis of the job requirements: “The ideal candidate must be dedicated to a simple goal: make life easier for the couple in every way possible.”

“It’s just a total lack of self-awareness,” she said. “So of course I saw it and I laughed, ‘cause it’s hilarious.”

The listing itself was quickly taken down, but Colucci had uploaded the pdf. As it pinged from one reader to another, people argued about which aspect of the job, which offered to pay “$65,000 to $95,000,” was funniest or most insulting. The most frequently singled out absurdity was the phrase “Manage dog systems,” which included “potty breaks, food, day care, dog walkers, vet appts,” and helping the studio assistant with in-house cats.

Melanie Martin, director of sales and communications for the N.Y.F.A., said that employees vet listings daily as they are submitted. “We check that job listings adhere to relevant labor laws, including, but not limited to, the inclusion of a salary range,” she said, adding that this specific listing was never flagged. The organization did not respond when asked to identity the poster.

“Many people thought it was an art world parody,” said Noah Becker, an artist and the publisher of Whitehot Magazine. He said it brought to mind a gory satire of the art world he had seen on Netflix, “a Zoolander version of the art world — ‘Velvet Buzzsaw.’”

But if it had been posted “as a goof,” said Melissa Stern, an artist and journalist, it was by someone “who knows this world quite intimately.”

Emily Mae Smith, a painter who sometimes uses as many as three assistants in her own studio, said she found the ad “completely bonkers.”

She was especially struck by the amount of detail. “‘We want you to be a personal assistant, we want you to be an executive assistant, but we also want you to do all kinds of liaising with our staff,’ which sounds to me like three jobs. Oh, and babysitting?”

But plenty of people found it all too plausible.

Emmy Thelander, an artist and adjunct professor at City University of New York, said it wasn’t the job’s requirements but their obsessive enumeration that was hardest to swallow. “What’s ridiculous,” she said, “is that they felt the need to spell out all the belittling things that role implies.”

Rebecca Greene, a film producer who once was a personal assistant to a Hollywood A-lister, said, “The tasks aren’t that uncommon for what someone of a high-caliber financial situation would want. It’s just not typically written out that way, which is sort of intense.”

Like many others, Greene also found the salary range low for a job that, by her reckoning, should pay at least $150,000 in New York.

Soren Stockman, a poet and performer who works as an executive assistant, found it unlikely that any applicants would collect a full year’s salary, anyway. “That’s a job where, if you’re hired, it’s a countdown to being fired,” he said. “This person wants to never be affected by anything irritating. There’s no way to fill that need for someone.”

Colucci said, “It’s a microcosm of what goes on in the art world and in a lot of cultural industries. People with a lot of power, and a lot of money, that are basically able to hire a lot of underlings, underpaid, probably young. It’s very clear you’re going to be abused in this role in some shape or form.”

Of course, it’s exactly that kind of abuse that leads to successful books and films like “The Nanny Diaries” and “The Devil Wears Prada” — which may be something that the “Art Family” had in mind when they added that “a nondisclosure agreement must be signed upon hire.”

Zachary Small contributed reporting.

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Home + Away artwork opens in Vancouver’s Hastings Park

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A new art installation now towers over Vancouver’s Hastings Park fields in celebration of the city’s history of spectators and sports.

Home + Away is a sculpture by Seattle artists Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo of Lead Pencil Studio, which opened Monday in the southeast end of the historic park.

It’s a 17-metre-tall structure that resembles a narrow set of bleachers — similar to the stands of the Empire Stadium, which stood on the site of the park from 1954 to 1993 and hosted The Beatles, among many others. It recalls a covered ski jump that stood there in the 1950s and the nearby wooden rollercoaster at the PNE.

The city says the public is invited to walk the stairs and sit on the benches.

“In addition to being visually striking, this artwork is intended to be ascended, sat on and experienced. It offers exciting experiences of height and views and provides 16 rows of seating for up to 49 people, making for a unique spectator experience when watching events at Empire Fields,” the city said in a release Monday.

The idea for the park to include public art was outlined in the Hastings Park “Master Plan,” first adopted by the city in 2010. The city says Han and Mihalyo first presented their design in 2015.

“It’s wonderful to see this piece realized within the context of such a well-used public space,” said Han.

Home + Away was inspired directly by the site history of spectatorship, and we hope it will connect Hastings Park users to that history and the majestic views of the environment for many decades to come,” added Mihalyo.

The artwork features a large light-up sign, in the style of a sports scoreboard, that reads “HOME” and “AWAY.”

 

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Bill Viola, Video Artist Who Established the Medium as an Integral Part of Contemporary Art, Dies at 73

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Bill Viola, whose decades-long engagement with video proved vital in establishing the medium as an integral part of contemporary art, died on July 12 at his home in Long Beach, California. He was at 73 years old. The cause was complications related to Alzheimer’s disease. The news of his passing was confirmed by James Cohan Gallery.

Viola’s works are centered around the idea of human consciousness and such fundamental experiences as birth, death, and spirituality. He delved into mystical traditions from Zen Buddhism to Islamic Sufism, as well as Western devotional art from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in his videos, which often juxtaposed themes of life and death, light and dark, noise and silence. These explorations were achieved by submerging viewers in both image and sound with cutting-edge technologies for their time.

“I first used the camera and lens as a surrogate eye, to bring things closer, or to magnify them, to experiment with perception, to extend vision and make lengthy observations of simple objects,” Viola said in a 2015 interview. “Once you do that, their essence becomes visible. So I suppose I was always interested in the inner life of the world around me.”

Beginning in the 1970s, Viola created videotapes, architectural video installations, sound environments, electronic music performances, flat panel video pieces, and works for television broadcast—all of which expanded the scope of the medium and established Viola as one of its most notable practitioner.

Video still of a man diving into water that has been reversed. The image is mostly black and teal.

In 2003 the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; Tate, London; and the Centre Pompidou in Paris jointly acquired Bill Viola’s 2001 three-channel video installation Five Angels for the Millennium.

Photo Kira Perov/©Bill Viola Studio

Bill Viola was born in 1951. He grew up in Queens and Westbury, New York, and attended P.S. 20 in Flushing, before receiving his BFA in experimental studios from Syracuse University in 1973. There, he studied with visual art with the likes of Jack Nelson and electronic music with Franklin Morris.

Following his graduation, between 1973 to 1980, Viola studied and performed with composer David Tudor in the music group Rainforest, which later became known as Composers Inside Electronics. He also worked as technical director at the pioneering video studio Art/tapes/22 in Florence, Italy from 1974 to 1976. During that time he encountered the work of other seminal video artists like Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman, and Vito Acconci.

Viola was subsequently an artist-in-residence at New York’s WNET Thirteen Television Laboratory between 1976 to 1983, wherein he created a series of works that premiered on television. He traveled to the Solomon Islands, Java, and Indonesia to record traditional performing arts between 1976 and 1977. Later that year, Viola was invited to show work at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, by cultural arts director Kira Perov, with whom he married and began a lifelong collaboration.

He was appointed an instructor in advanced video at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California in 1983. He was the Getty Research Institute scholar-in-residence in Los Angeles in 1998 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000.

In 1985, Viola received with a Guggenheim Fellowship for fine arts, and later that decade, in 1989, he was awarded the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. His work was also featured in some of the world’s most notable exhibitions, including Documenta VI in 1977, Documenta XI in 1992, the 1987 and 1993 editions of the Whitney Biennial, and the 2001 Venice Biennale.

In 1995, he represented the United States at the 46th edition of the Venice Biennale. For the pavilion, Viola produced the series of works “Buried Secrets,” including one of his most known works The Greeting, which offers a contemporary interpretation of Pontormo’s oil painting The Visitation (ca.1528–30). The Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin and New York’s Guggenheim Museum commissioned the digital fresco cycle in high-definition video, titled Going Forth By Day, in 2002.

Viola’s work was the subject of a major 25-year survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1997, which subsequently toured internationally. His work has been the subject of major museum retrospectives in the years since, including at the Grand Palais in Paris (in 2014), the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence (2017), the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain (2017), and the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia (2019), as well as an exhibition pairing his work with that of Michelangelo at the Royal Academy of Art in London in 2019.

Viola is survived by his wife Kira Perov, who has been the executive director of his studio since 1978, and their two children.

“One thing that’s very exciting about video that has turned me on since I first saw this glowing image way back in 1970 is that it can be so much,” Viola said in a 1995 with Charlie Rose on the occasion of this US Pavilion at the Biennale. “Furthermore, what’s really exciting is I don’t think it’s been since really the Renaissance where artists have been able to use a medium that one could say is the dominant communication form in society.”

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Couple’s winning art projects adorn overpass

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Annabelle Harvey and Corbin Elliot are partners: in life, love, and art. Thanks to their creative pursuits, now they are also joined in the recognition of their work along the Lakeshore overpass.

The City of North Bay, in collaboration with the Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC), recently held an event to acknowledge the successful applicants for the Lakeshore Drive overpass banner project. This initiative features 14 artworks created by local artists, highlighting the ongoing commitment to bringing public art to the community and celebrating local talent. The banners were installed early last week.

On behalf of PAAC, Katie Bevan noted that 71 submissions were received for the banner art project. “Selecting just 14 artworks from such outstanding submissions was no small feat. It truly highlights the incredible creativity within our community — and it’s only growing.”

Bevan acknowledged all who submitted their work and congratulated the 14 winners:

  • Caitlin Daniel
  • Corbin Elliot
  • Adam Fielder
  • Ian Gauthier
  • Ruby Grant
  • Annabelle Harvey
  • Penny Heather
  • Robert Johannsen
  • Robyn Jones
  • Gerry McComb
  • Victoria Primeau
  • Tessa Shank
  • Rana Thomas
  • Claudia Torres

“This is the first time I’ve participated in something city-wide, and I’ve been really interested in getting more involved in the art community,” said Harvey, a teacher by vocation when not helping to beautify North Bay. “I’ve worked a lot with the WKP Kennedy Gallery and I’ve been putting in submissions for some of their group shows. So, this is a cool opportunity to try something new. This is the first time I have done digital work. Usually, I like painting and collage. So I was interested just to try something new.”

In September 2023, public art gained more prominence in North Bay as 12 pieces by eight local artists selected by the Public Art Advisory Committee were placed on aluminum panels mounted onto the public buildings in both Champlain and Sunset parks.

Harvey’s partner Elliot is an emerging artist and a Fine Arts graduate from Nipissing University who says his passion for bringing his vision to life has only grown, thanks, in part, to these public art initiatives.

“There is so much opportunity to have a lot of different public art in different spaces,” he says. “So, when I saw that there was a variety of different artists and voices being accepted, of course, I wanted to have my vision out there in the city, to make my mark and be a part of that kind of trajectory of building the art scene within the city.”

The couple share a studio space, often working on separate projects at the same time while collaborating with encouragement and ideas.

“We are working on different mediums, a lot of the time,” Elliot said. “We have our own corners set up in the studio and I’ll usually be on my easel and Annabelle will be doing something…”

Harvey picked up his thought, “I’m usually at my desk doing pottery, jewellery, collage — I do a lot of different things.”

2024-07-12-lakeshore-overpass-banner-art-elliot-harvey-2-campaigne
Couple Annabelle Harvey and Corbin Elliot each earned a spot among the 14 winning banner art projects. Stu Campaigne/BayToday

For Harvey, working so closely together is her “favourite part, especially watching his creative process.”

Elliot added, “I think I’m more non-verbal as I’m creating. I often hear you saying, ‘Oh, I think I like this.'”

Both have active Instagram pages featuring their artwork, Harvey’s can be found here, and Elliot’s here.

Elliot has a show at the WKP Kennedy Gallery, entitled “Upon a Star,” opening Sept. 13. “I’ll have my own solo exhibition. I typically work in painting. I have a big body of work with paintings,” he said.

The City of North Bay and PAAC encourage everyone to take a moment to appreciate these works of art when passing by the overpass.

Harvey and Elliot are thrilled about the banner art project.

“It’s like seeing your vision come to life. We’ve had lots of friends, even before we saw them today say excitedly, ‘I saw your work on the overpass,’ it’s just a proud moment to have so many eyes on our work.”

 

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