Small Things That Make Art Great


Small Things That Make Art Great

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 at 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. 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 stains on display easels to deciding the font of wall text, these 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 breaking a fragile artwork. For some works, for example, you had to record 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 this internship gave me the chance to understand the reality of working in the art world. The huge variety of details could be repetitive and sometimes stressful. But, by the time when everything is put together, you see that it is the small things that make the art shine.

  • Academic Interns
  • Undergraduate Work
  • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh