Day Job at The Drawing Center

The Day Job exhibition, as a concept, resonated with me because I’m still in a state of exuberance-decompression-worry (it depends on the day) over recently having left my own day job, in an office.

This was a varied and interesting show, and here are some of my favorites:

Dawn Hunter, a professor of art. About to enter this world again myself, it is a tasty little look at how professors operate together (or don’t) in an art department. The circus performers here are based on her own co-workers.

Dawn Hunter, Art Department

Luis Romero, an office worker. These “Fetish Drawings” use materials from his office, such as Post-It notes, paper clips, and staples. Papers are folded and twisted on each other; fragments of ballpoint pen and professinal printing are visible before a fold turns in on itself. The resulting compact drawing is then clipped, wrapped, or otherwise attached with other elements such as the office supplies mentioned above, creating little packets of information. These objects are then organized and “filed” in rows within a glass case. The resulting installation is a visual model of much of the work that happens in an office, that is, combining relevant pieces of information and organizing them so they can be retrieved when needed.

Tom Hooper is the Master Scenic Artist on One Life to Live. Some weeks, his job will be to create the figure drawings that go on the students’ easels in an art class on the show. Some weeks, he’ll paint paintings for his assigned character. I want his job! His personal artwork involves the aggregate of what happens in a day at work: he begins each day with a fresh, white piece of paper on his work area. As he uses this “desk blotter” to test colors, as a place on which to put dripping paint cans, as a telephone message pad, as a sketchbook for doodles, he chronicles his day.

Alfred Steiner is a copyright lawyer, so it’s no surprise his work deals with intellectual property issues. This piece in the show was created by several individuals, all of whom were asked to create a drawing based on one of Popeye. Steiner smartly told them that their drawings would be combined with others’, turning each individual artwork into one, new whole, thereby safely getting around any charges of copyright infringement (by the individual artists, or the Popeye franchise).

Alfred Steiner, Substantially Similar (After Koons)

Nice show. On top of that, they’ve specifically designed programming, such as a recent tax seminar, to help artists with everyday working concerns.

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