Staff Show 2013: Lydia O’Connor

In this series, Young Artists Exhibitions Program Coordinator Emily Bray profiles participants in the 2013 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show. Join us tonight for a reception, 5 to 8 pm!

Lydia O’Connor holds a Master of Philosophy in Film Theory from Trinity College Dublin.  While she considers herself a great appreciator of art and the artistic process, this is her first foray into the creative side of the art world.

Lydia O'Connor Image

Lydia O’Connor, Transitory, 2013, Photograph

What do you do at The Phillips Collection?  Are there any unique/interesting parts about your job that most people might not know about?
Finance Assistant.   I get to enjoy a birds-eye view of the entire museum’s operations from conservation to curatorial to education to facilities and maintenance through the daily financial aspects that cross my desk.

Who is/are your favorite artist/artists in the collection?
The Phillips Collection enjoys a star-studded list of artists including Van Gogh, Degas, RenoirPicassoCezanneKlee, Rothko and so many more… . It’s quite difficult to choose a favorite when you’re in the presence of such awe-inspiring masterworks.  I absolutely adore Wassily Kandinsky.  The Phillips Collection has several Kandinsky paintings and I am always excited when these are on display.

What is your favorite gallery/space within The Phillips Collection?
The Music Room for me is a very special place.  While much of our gallery space is typical white walls, the original home carries a spirit I think is thrilling to the museum experience.  The Music Room has a drama and a life that’s unique.  I really feel like I am in the home of Duncan and Marjorie Phillips and the many beautiful concerts and events we hold here at the Phillips seem to reverberate from floor to ceiling.

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2013 Staff Show (and/or your work in general)?
I took this photo one morning in early April.  I noticed as I walked up Q street from the Dupont Circle metro that the wonderful lavender petals from our tulip magnolia tree were shedding creating a blanket of color beneath the red brick of the original house; the play of the light sprinkling shadows across the building in the morning sunshine.  It was a moment of Phillips magic. A few hours later when I left the office for lunch, the tree was bare and many of the petals that had carpeted the ground had blown away.  I knew then I had been witness to a special and fleeting moment in the life of this tree.

The 2013 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show will be on view September 23, 2013 through October 20, 2013. The show features artwork from Phillips Collection staff.

 Emily Bray, Young Artists Exhibitions Program Coordinator

Entering the #MuseumOlympics

Inspired by #MuseumOlympics taking over our Twitter feed, we took a look at our permanent collection to see which works the Phillips could contribute. It came down to three categories: the athletes, the judges, and the audience.


Images of works from the collection that represent athletes

Images clockwise from top left: Honoré Daumier, The Uprising (L’Emeute), 1848 or later. Oil on canvas, 34 1/2 x 44 1/2 in. Acquired 1925. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Aaron Siskind, Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation #169, 1954. Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 in. Gift of Fern M. Schad. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Gifford Beal, Center Ring, 1922, Oil on canvas, 22 x 26 1/8 in. Acquired 1922. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Walt Kuhn, Girl with Mirror, 1928. Oil on canvas, 24 x 20 1/8 in. Acquired 1929. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.


Images of works from the collection representing judges

Images left to right: Chaim Soutine, Woman in Profile, c. 1937. Oil on canvas, 18 13/8 x 10 7/8 in. Acquired 1943. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; George Luks, Otis Skinner as Col. Philippe Bridau, 1919. Oil on canvas, 52 x 44 in. Acquired 1919. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Paul Klee, The Witch with the Comb, 1922. Lithograph, 14 1/2 x 10 1/2 in. Gift of B. J. and Carol Cutler, 2006. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.


Images of works from the collection representing audience members

Images left to right: Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, Melancholy, late 1860’s. Oil on canvas, 7 1/2 x 9 3/4 in. Acquired 1941. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; David Bates, The Gulf of Mexico, 1990. Oil on canvas, 72 x 52 in. Partial and Promised Gift of Patti and Jerry Sowalsky, 2006. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

Did we miss anything? Tell us what works you would submit!