Summer Internship at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Georgia

Over summer break, I was given the opportunity to complete an internship at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Georgia, as a part of the Collections department. During my internship, I worked with Ms. Stacey Savatsky, the head of the Collections department, and a team of four other interns. Under her supervision, I, along with my other interns, did research on the artists who MOCA GA exhibits, helped organize the permanent collection, worked at the front desk, and learned how to handle contemporary art. I also helped complete condition reports for the art of Larry Walker, and most importantly, helped deinstall and install exhibits in the public museum itself. I gained many skills during this period, and soon recognized the need to think on your feet in museum curation to prevent catastrophe. One example of this was when the A/C broke in the art vault. There were many pieces which needed to be kept at a cool temperature, so we (the interns) were tasked with setting up many fans to circulate cool air in the vault, in the hour it took the A/C repairman to fix the main problem.

This internship helped me gain much-needed experience in museum work and exhibition design and see the inner workings of museums themselves. I also got to meet and work with several key figures in the Atlanta museum scene, such as Ms. Annette Cone-Skelton, the director of MOCA GA. As I hope to pursue a career in museum curation, the connections I made in the Atlanta art and museum scene and experience I gained at MOCA GA will help me set a manageable and possible career path. While I will always cherish the time I had at MOCA GA, I hope that it will provide a useful stepping stone as I pursue internships at larger museum institutions and apply for Museum Studies graduate programs.


Related Art History Learning Outcomes:

  • Take responsibility for direction of education; articulate areas of future development or inquiry).
  • Embrace experiential learning and take responsibility for education (attend events at the Dalton Gallery or other campus events; participate in activities off-campus with artists, galleries, museums, and other venues; connect with the larger art world regionally, nationally, and internationally; articulate paths for future development of individual research).

Exhibition Processes

As one of my classes for spring of 2018, I participated in Exhibition Processes. During this class, my classmates and I worked in Dalton Gallery to learn about designing and installing exhibitions. We worked all but one of the shows for the spring semester, hanging art and cleaning the Dalton Gallery. Most importantly, as our midterm project, we designed and installed the annual Showing/Thinking exhibition. My group of four worked together to design and install an exhibition based on the research of Dr. Yvonne Newsome, one of Agnes Scott College’s Professors of Sociology. We focused on how growing up during the Civil Rights Era led to Dr. Newsome’s focus on intersectionality and inequality in the media. We also created several of the pieces of art in the exhibit, such as a quilt of the southeast United States which was embroidered with information on major Civil Rights events in the South. In the exhibit, we juxtaposed the quilt with one of Dr. Newsome’s lectures on the representation of African Americans in the media, portraits of Dr. Newsome’s inspirations, quotes from famous sociologist Audre Lorde and poet Maya Angelou, and a wardrobe with an “I AM A MAN” poster in it (Dr. Newsome’s clearest memory of the Civil Rights Movement was seeing her father put his poster in their wardrobe).

Not only did this class provide useful training in exhibition design and installation, it also helped me settle on my decision to go into Museum curation as a career. I am now able to focus in on museum work in my studies of Anthropology/Sociology and Art History. I believe that the experiences in my class helped me figure out where I need to focus in my exhibition design and museum training. I also think that my experience in the class was one of the reasons I received the opportunity to work at the Museum of Contemporary Art this summer. Going forward, I hope to use what I learned in this class as I pursue more internships in museums.

Final Project: The Old in the New

Exhibitions help shape the way people view and think about art. This exhibition, entitled “The Old in the New” is no different. Through a careful selection of contemporary artists and works, this exhibit is intended to make viewers consider the roots of contemporary art in comparative perspectives, something that is rarely done. In turn, the audience will get a better sense of artistic traditions.

Curation and Theme

“The Old in the New” focuses on the ways older western artistic traditions inform contemporary art. This theme of the persistence and reception of artistic traditions is what characterizes each of the paintings in this collection. Overall, the exhibit is intended to encourage viewers not only to look at western traditions and see how they still inform contemporary art, but also to reconsider how this effects artistic traditions all over the world, as well as how it is adapted for the current era. Each individual artist looks at this persistence of tradition in a different way. Thus, the exhibit covers artistic tradition as the ultimate influencer of art (with Sharon Core’s art), art traditions interpreted to the modern era (with Hendrick Kerstens’ art), and western artistic traditions in a non-western gaze (with Rashid Rana’s art).

Each artist was chosen because of their use of western art as inspiration or their adherence to western artistic tradition. For artists such as Sharon Core and Hendrick Kerstens, western art traditions characterize the formation of their work; however, they use other mediums, often looking at these traditions through the perspective of photography. Core clings the most to older artistic traditions in her various series consisting of reproductions of older still lives. While she bases her paintings on the photographs taken of these still lives in order to create an additional layer of depth to the image (Yancey Richardson Gallery), they very much mirror the artistic traditions of the time the original was painted.

Kerstens evaluates the way that photography can be used in recreating Dutch portraits. His series of his daughter as the subject of photographs based on Dutch portraits often incorporates some modern additions, mostly through the stylized headgear she wears (“Hendrick Kerstens at…”). These portraits reflect the way that artistic traditions have been manipulated to accommodate for current day artistic mediums. Audiences should consider this when looking at contemporary art.

Rashid Rana’s series Scattered in Time uses broken up, pixelated pictures of famous paintings to critique the way that western culture and, by extension, western artistic styles have resulted alterations in Southern Asian identity and culture (“Rashid Rana”). Western art traditions are some of the large influences on artistic tastes, something that has resulted, often, in the degradation of other non-western art and changes in their artistic traditions. It is important for art consumers to be aware of this, especially as they look at contemporary art from non-western countries and compare them to contemporary art from western countries.

Uninformed observers often treat contemporary art as unique and largely uninformed by older artistic traditions. This exhibit aims to challenge that viewpoint, and help the audience see that the development of new art can connect to past art and artistic traditions. In the form of an interesting exhibit, rather than, say, a book, this show will do the important job of allowing visitors to get a sense of the artistic history which can inform contemporary art, and see just how the persistence of traditions shapes what we consider art.


This show will be shown as a small exhibit in a museum. As it is meant to challenge the viewer’s perspectives on the work of the “old masters” in comparison to contemporary art, this venue will give the exhibit more legitimacy in the eyes of the public, and encourage viewers to think more seriously about this theme.

The Artists

Sharon Core is an American artist, born in 1965 in New Orleans. She was trained at the University of Georgia (for her undergrad) and Yale University School of Art (where she received her MFA). Core focuses on photography and still lives in her professional life, often depicting scenes of nature or other still lives created by past artists. She has shown work all over the world, and has been the recipient of several awards, such as the George Sakier Memorial Prize for Excellence in Photography. Core is most known for challenging the audiences relationship with photography, suggesting alternate meanings of photographs (Yancey Richardson Gallery).

Rashid Rana was born in Lahore, Pakistan, in 1968. He was trained at the National College of the Arts in Lahore, and then at the Massachusetts College of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. While he primarily trained in painting, Rana also commonly uses photography and digital printmaking in his works. His works are often deeply political by nature, critiquing reactions to recent events in Pakistan and the larger world (Lisson Gallery). In his recent series Scattered in Time, Rana critiques colonization and Its impact on Pakistani culture (“Rashid Rana…). Currently based in Lahore, Rana is the head of the Fine Arts department at Beaconhouse National University, and is one of Pakistan’s most famous contemporary artists (Lisson Gallery).

Hendrick Kerstens was born in 1956 in the Hague, the Netherlands. In 1995, with no formal training, he entered the art world by photographing his daughter (artnet). After noticing his daughter’s resemblance to the subjects of portraits by Dutch masters, this self-taught artist eventually began a series of portrait photographs of her, using the same traditions that characterize Dutch and Renaissance painting. This series eventually became renowned worldwide, winning him multiple prizes (“Hendrick Kerstens”). The fashion designer Alexander McQueen even used one of the portraits, Bag, as the inspiration for a line of clothing (“Hendrick Kerstens at…). Kerstens continues to expand the series, and currently works out of Amsterdam, the Netherlands (artnet).


In this way, through the theme of the persistent continuity of artistic traditions, this exhibit will focus on the way older artistic traditions influence contemporary art. The multitude of ways demonstrated by each individual artist will bring into focus the multifaceted way artistic traditions can be interpreted in the modern era. With the exhibit’s placement in a museum, this exhibit will hopefully teach visitors about the way art is interconnected and help develop some interesting conversations about the nature of art itself.


Works Cited

artnet. “Hendrik Kerstens.” Artnet, Artnet,
“Hendrik Kerstens at Danziger Gallery.” Artsy, Artsy,
“Hendrick Kerstens.” Danziger Gallery, Danziger Gallery,
Lisson Gallery. “Rashid Rana.” Lisson Gallery,
“Rashid Rana: Scattered in Time at Leila Heller Gallery.” Artsy, Artsy,
Yancy Richardson. “Sharon Core.” Yancey Richardson Gallery,





Blog Post Eleven: Off Campus Visit to Whitespace Gallery

Whitespace Gallery’s recent exhibition of the works of Pete Schulte contained a series of interesting and seemingly unassuming paintings. At first glance, they looked like relatively simple works, made with black and white mediums, and displaying easy geometric shapes such as rectangles, circles and arches. However, on closer examination of the works, it was revealed that they actually consisted of little dots placed so closely together that the shapes they made looked concrete. Not only that, but the perspectives Schulte played with when creating his works created unique pictures out of basic shapes. Finally, tonally, these works are quite relaxing, with their muted color palette and simple nature.

The gallery itself reflected this with its atmosphere. Set in the back of the owner’s house in a converted stable, it was mostly set with white walls and black accents, almost matching the Schulte’s works. Compared to the bright day outside, it definitely encouraged me to relax and stay in the gallery and look at the work. What was especially interesting was the garden shed in Whitespace. It was a refurbished shed, complete with a dirt floor. This was perhaps the most unique gallery space that I had ever seen. However, the amount of natural light in it definitely made Schulte’s drawings look good. I do wonder, though, about the effect the direct natural light had on the conservation of each work. In this way, Whitespace Gallery and the work in it was a unique, complex and relaxing experience.

Blog Post Ten: On Campus Exhibition Visit

Dalton Gallery’s exhibition of Showing/Thinking followed the lives and works of five Agnes Scott professors: Dr. Yvonne Newsome, Dr. Julia Knowlton, Professor Jeffery Whittle, Dr. Rachel Hall-Clifford, and Dr. Willie Tolliver. Each professor was given a separate room which was designed to reflect the scholarship and influences of these professors. The exhibition was designed by Professor Maria Korol and the Exhibition Processes class, and contained art and installations from both professionals and the students themselves.

Dr. Newsome’s room, the first that visitors saw when they entered the space, focused on her remembrance of the Civil Rights Movement and study of black feminist theory, intersectionality, and the portrayal of black people in the media. This was reflected in the quilt of civil rights events in the south, the installation of a home scene featuring an I AM A MAN poster, portraits of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and the Obama family, Newsome’s recent presentation on the portrayal of black politicians, and a self-portrait of Dr. Newsome surrounded by the women who have inspired her work.

To the left, Professor Jeffery Whittle’s room reflected the process that he goes through when creating paintings, and featured some of his recently-completed works. His room included a collage of pictures of his studio, two sketch books and a wall of initial sketches, and some items from his studio which he says help inspire his work. Dr. Rachel Hall-Clifford’s room explored the health issues in Guatemala. It included an abstract color collage intended to represent the different colors of feces (which changes as health changes), a documentary about health issues in Guatemala, some pictures taken by Dr. Hall-Clifford during her studies in Guatemala, and some cultural artifacts which were given to her by the people she stayed with.

Dr. Julia Knowlton’s room explored her ties to Paris and love of French poetry and literature. It was by far the most ornate of all the rooms, painted a turquoise color and embellished with gold leaf. It included photographs of Paris, some of Knowlton’s favorite French books and poems, and an installation of a Parisian café. Finally, Dr. Willie Tolliver’s room explored his work analyzing the role of black men in the media; specifically, his studies surrounding the roles of Will Smith. It contained several films of Will Smith and other actors, a bookcase with some of the works he has studied, a wall on the six degrees of separation, and some pieces that reflect his identity as a black man. As one of the curators, it was very cool to see what everyone came up with and to see the show come together. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. There are some changes that I would have made to Dr. Newsome’s room specifically (I was one of the curators for that room). For example, that room felt, to me, very blank and formal; I would have liked to add some more color to the exhibit to make it more eye catching and to have dug further into her work on intersectionality. However, overall it was a very good show.

Blog Post Eight: Research for Final Project

I initially began this project with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. I had originally played with the idea of looking at the different ways light and darkness intersect with each other before deciding that the idea would be a) rather simple in terms of concept, and b) would be difficult to fully pull off. After much contemplation, I decided to look at the different ways people perceive the night, collecting quotes from authors like Lord Byron and Sarah Williams all the way to Eurpides. I had planned to illustrate the quotes collected over a faint outline of said quote, but quickly lost enthusiasm in the idea. After considering what I love most about the nighttime, I ultimately decided that

I would use the quotes to inform one of my favorite things about the night: the sky. The basic concept is to show a six-panel progression of the night sky, from bad to good. I will start with a basic, starless night. The next panel will involve an ominous blood moon. After that, a basic starlit night sky will take up the third panel, before converting into a meteor shower in fourth panel. After that, the Aurea borealis will take up the fifth panel, as the book moves into the good and wondrous of the night sky. Finally, an illustration of the galaxy as seen during the nighttime from earth will be the last scene. I’ve pulled several images from the internet to help inspire each section. As the night sky is one of my favorite parts of the nighttime, I think it will look great!

Gallery Visits

Credit: “Whitespace Gallery Shed” by Logan Douglas (author) is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

One thing which intrigued me about the galleries that we visited was the different way that they displayed their works. While in many cases institutional galleries attempted to get as many pieces as they could shown in their space, commercial galleries gave each piece space so that they could individually be enjoyed. There was not as much emphasis placed on a full collection. As these galleries were mostly commercial, I suppose that allowing visitors to focus on one piece at a time helps them to not get overwhelmed and decide that they want to buy a work.

I also felt like galleries are much more flexible with the way they use their space. They focus on what will make the art look good instead of what the art needs to stay pristine, like in museums. One example that I saw of this was the shed at Whitespace Gallery. No museum would dream of putting art in a dirt floor shed, yet Whitespace is able to pull it off. Also, artists have more say in the way that they want their art to be displayed in galleries than they do in museums. This results in some very specific designs, like the sculpture that we saw in Hathaway Gallery. In this way, the different purposes of museums and commercial galleries results in some differences between the way art is displayed.

Blog Post Seven: Mixed Media Critique

Credit: “Mixed Media” by Logan Douglas (author) is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

I was not particularly thrilled by the outcome of this project. While there were sections I liked, overall the composition looked disjointed and not at all like how I had imagined the final picture. While I understand that attempting to reconcile the artistic styles of old, professional artists with my own amateur art is probably not the best criteria for critique, I was still left dissatisfied, as a whole.
There are some sections which I particularly enjoy. These include the charcoal section (bottom center), the photography section (second to the bottom right), the pointillism section (top center), and the pop art section (bottom left). Several which I was all right with, but not particularly inspired by, were the stained glass (second to the top, left), Rococo (top, right), Baroque (second to the top, right) and expressionism section (second to the bottom, left). I did not like the way the impressionist (second to the top, center), classical sculpture (bottom right), cave painting (top left) and naturalism (second to the bottom, center) sections looked. The cave painting looked more like someone had spilled wine than blown pigment on it, the brush strokes in the impressionist section were too big, the classical sculpture section had no good definition, and the naturalism section turned more into a contemporary Howard Finster painting than a Renaissance naturalism section. The different sections also posed a problem for me because I wasn’t able to get a cohesive picture. As a result, the composition looks more like a bunch of individual pieces glued together in a collage. That being said, I was able to use a variety of materials to create a very interesting array of images. In this way, while I think that my concept was great, the way that it was carried out was less than stellar.