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Emerging Art Leaders Internship - Modern and Contemporary Art (Summer 2019, PAID)

Position Summary

The Department of Modern and Contemporary Art invites current graduate students, upper-level undergraduate students, and recent graduates to apply for the Emerging Art Leaders summer 2019 internship. 

In this role, you will become deeply immersed in the work of Ray Johnson (1927–1995), an artist who came to prominence in New York in the 1950s and 60s. Known as an early performance artist and for the mail art network he founded known as the New York Correspondance [sic] School, Johnson produced a resolutely unconventional group of objects and artifacts that, by design, resisted conforming to the structure of formal institutions such as museums.

Working within a team of museum professionals led by Caitlin Haskell, Gary C. and Frances Comer Curator of International Modern Art, you will become immersed in a vast archive of Johnson’s mail art, artist’s books, design work, drawings, sculptural assemblages, and ephemera. You will also be invited to conduct supervised research on Johnson’s collages. In both of these activities, you will support the organization of an upcoming exhibition, the publication of an exhibition catalogue, and will be introduced to the multifaceted career of a museum curator.

  • In-depth experience with object-based research
  • Hands-on experience navigating artists’ ephemera at the intersection of fine art and library collections
  • Deeper understanding of the origin and development of artists’ archives
  • Mentor relationships with field practitioners
  • Peer-to-peer relationships with fellow interns
  • Awareness of the inner-workings of a large museum with a global collection

  • Employ museum collection software and art-handling best practices to register and document art and archival materials
  • Communicate with curatorial, library, and registration staff across the museum to ensure this collection is properly stored and available to future researchers
  • Collaborate with staff on the Ray Johnson exhibition team to do research using primary and secondary sources
  • Work with colleagues in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art to facilitate the research of exhibition catalog authors

  • Graduate or undergraduate student (upper-level preferred) in the Chicago metropolitan area. Recent graduates (within one year of graduation) with relevant experience will also be considered
  • Demonstrated interest in pursuing careers in one or more of the following areas: Art History, Visual Arts, Library Science, and/or Cultural Studies
  • Enthusiasm and curiosity for the discipline of art history in the modern and contemporary periods
  • The flexibility to tackle a range of archival activities, from inspiring one-on-one encounters with works of art to more detail-oriented activities like database management
  • The desire to take part in a team comprised of members with skills in different areas
  • Strong interpersonal skills, diplomacy, and tact
  • Committed to the goal of promoting inclusive, pluralistic museums

About the Emerging Art Leaders Internship:
This program is a museum-wide effort to provide students from diverse backgrounds, including those underrepresented in the museum field, the opportunity to gain experience, career awareness, networks, skills that will together position them to succeed as future art museum leaders. Those selected join an intern cohort and have access to a range of programs to support their development in addition to their specific departmental placement. Mentorship is provided throughout the intern experience. Interns are also encouraged to remain connected to the museum and to other interns as part of an alumni network.

The Emerging Art Leaders Internship is open to all qualified candidates, with priority to those who demonstrate commitment to the goal of promoting inclusive, pluralistic museums. Individuals from groups historically underrepresented in the arts museum field are particularly encouraged to apply.
The Emerging Art Leaders Internship is made possible, in part, through the Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative (DAMLI), funded by the Walton Family Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Application must include the following materials
  • Resume
  • Cover letter that also includes answers to the following questions:
  • What you hope to gain from this internship experience
  • What you will contribute to this internship
  • What challenge(s) or barrier(s) you face (personal, cultural, socioeconomic, educational, etc.) as you consider pursuing a career in the arts, and how this internship might play a role in helping to surmount those obstacles
  • List of relevant coursework

Please combine all application materials into a single PDF for upload.

For fullest consideration, applications should be submitted by March 12, 2019, 5:00 pm CST.  

Intern Information
Length of Program: Summer Term (June-August), up to 35 hours/week
College Credit: Available
Compensation: Paid

The Art Institute of Chicago is an equal opportunity, equal access employer fully committed to achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace.