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

Boffo, Socko, Phillips

We’ve explored Phillips connections popping up in Fred Astaire movies, spy novels, and clothing store displays. But right now, we’re overrun with superheroes.

Our Rothko appears unscathed in this explosive scene from Iron Man 3.

Our Rothko appears unscathed in this explosive scene from Iron Man 3.

Assistant Registrar Gretchen Martin confirmed Director of Membership Jeff Petrie’s hunch that in Iron Man 3, the Rothko painting hanging on the wall of Tony Stark’s Malibu mansion as he and Pepper Potts are sent flying after a blow up is in fact our Ochre and Red on Red (1954). Spoiler alert? Oh well, it’s in the trailer. You’ll see the Phillips thanked in the credits if you’re one to stay ’till the bitter end. On Thursday, we’ll sacrifice some street parking to help the filming of Captain America. Bringing you the big stars and the big explosions is just part of our work here at the museum. You’re welcome.

Phillips Flashback: January 6, 1957

Brochure for exhibition. From the Phillips Collection Archives.

A modest exhibition, Paintings by Tomlin, Rothko, Okada opens in The Print Rooms on the ground level of The Phillips Gallery and runs through February 26. This is the first time works by Mark Rothko are exhibited at the museum. The exhibition includes: Mauve Intersection; Plum and Brown; Yellow, Red and Blue; Green and Maroon, Yellow, Green and Black; and Purple and Yellow.