Team Wax Room

Photo: Klaus Ottmann

The team, left to right: Jeremiah Holland, Rachel Hrbek, Wolfgang Laib, Bjorn Schmidt, Rhiannon Newman, Tyler Smith. Photo: Klaus Ottmann

Wolfgang Laib created a permanent beeswax chamber at the Phillips in just four days, thanks to a team effort:

  • Laib’s assistant Björn Schmidt accompanied him from Germany and was the artist’s right-hand man throughout installation, from achieving the right consistency for the melted wax to applying it to the walls and ceiling and burnishing the surface.
  • Phillips museum assistants Rhiannon Newman and Tyler Smith were selected by lottery from a call for volunteers among qualified staff artists. They worked daily to break apart large blocks of raw beeswax and melt it in carefully timed batches.
  • Corcoran College of Art and Design students Jeremiah Holland and Rachel Hrbek were selected from their class by a faculty member to volunteer alongside Rhiannon and Tyler.

Listen to this segment on Metro Connection, a radio program on D.C.’s NPR station WAMU 88.5 for firsthand perspectives from Jeremiah and Rhiannon and to hear details about the process.

Before installation even began, numerous individuals played huge roles, from the project’s curator Klaus Ottmann–Curator at Large and longtime friend of the artist (Klaus also organized Wolfgang Laib’s 2000 retrospective at the Hirshhorn)–to Dan Datlow, director of facilities and security, who supervised preparations to the space including a freshly poured concrete floor.

Staff Show 2012: Meghan Schindler

In this series, Young Artists Exhibitions Program Coordinator Jenna Kowalke-Jones profiles participants in the 2012 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show. Join us for the Staff Show reception this evening, September 27, from 5:30 to 8 pm!

Meghan K. Schindler, Untitled, July 2012

Meghan K. Schindler, Untitled, July 2012

Meghan K. Schindler lives in Alexandria, VA, with her pet fish Allistair and her roommate Chance. When she has the time, she enjoys sitting on her balcony reading chronicles from 11th and 12th centuries.

What do you do at The Phillips Collection?  Are there any unique/interesting parts about your job that most people might not know about?

I am a museum supervisor in the security department, and I am in charge of the No Name No Nothing Gallery, which allows staff members to anonymously show and sell their artwork throughout the year.

Who is/are your favorite artist/artists in the collection?
It is a tie between Gustave Courbet and Georges Rouault. They both show tremendous skill and confidence in how they manipulate the paint across the canvas. I admire their ability to convey the object with very little structure.

What is your favorite gallery/space within The Phillips Collection?
The West parlor where I can sit and look at Gustave Courbet’s Rocks at Mouthier (c. 1855).

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2012 Staff Show (and/or your work in general)?

Drawing relaxes me; it is a form of stress release. I don’t usually start a drawing with a firm idea of where it is going. I start somewhere on the page and see what happens. Usually after about 1/4 of the page is covered I can see what is happening and will start to form more solid structures.

The 2012 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show is on view through October 9, 2012. This year’s show features 35 artworks, in various media, all by Phillips Collection staff.

Jenna Kowalke-Jones, Young Artists Exhibitions Program Coordinator

Staff Show 2012: Kurtis Ceppetelli and Matthew Malone

In this series, Young Artists Exhibitions Program Coordinator Jenna Kowalke-Jones profiles participants in the 2012 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show.

Kurtis Ceppetelli / Matt Malone. Ginger pot with pomegranate and pear, oh my., 2012. House paint on drop cloth.

Kurtis Ceppetelli / Matt Malone. Ginger pot with pomegranate and pear, oh my., 2012. House paint on drop cloth.

Duly Noted Painters comprises Kurtis Ceppetelli (museum assistant) and Matthew Malone (former museum assistant). Their artists’ statement:

We are two painters painting as one. Our work is just as much about the creative process as the painted image itself. It is about compromise, discussion, feeling, mood, anger, love. It is experimental like our nature. Our work is a response from our individual worlds and the impressions we take from it, combining them together to create a piece of art.

We work paintings until they can no longer be advanced. We start with an object, figure, a reference, or a vision of some sort. From there the painting gets its roots and is born. Like a child we give it life, nurture it to the point where it starts to think and make decisions on its own. When it reaches the point where we can not help make it stronger than what it is, only then is it complete.

The end result is a single image painted by two minds.

Duly Noted painters: Matthew Malone, left, and Kurtis Ceppetelli, right, painting together. Photo courtesy: Matthew Malone and Kurtis Ceppetelli.

Who is/are your favorite artist/artists in the collection?
Kurtis:  Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Matt:   John D. Graham

Favorite Painting:
Kurtis: Henri Matisse, Studio, Quai Saint-Michel
Matt:  John Sloan, The Wake of the Ferry II

What is your favorite gallery/space within The Phillips Collection?
We both like the Music Room.

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2012 Staff Show (and/or your work in general)?
Our work is a collaboration where we both paint together at the same time. The piece in the show is a version of  Paul Cézanne’s Ginger Pot with Pomegranate and Pears which is in the collection.

The 2012 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show is on view September 4-October 9, 2012. Please join us for the reception on September 27, 5:30-8 pm. This year’s show features 35 artworks, of various media, all by Phillips Collection staff.

Jenna Kowalke-Jones, Young Artists Exhibitions Program Coordinator