Staff Show 2017: Jeffrey Whitelow

In this series, Manager of Visitor and Family Engagement Emily Bray highlights participants in the 2017 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show, on view through September 17, 2017.

Jeffery Whitelow, “C is for Coca-Cola & Christenberry”

Jeffrey Whitelow

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

I’m a Museum Assistant and also part of the AV department. It’s interesting to see exhibits go from initial planning phase to actual show. I also enjoy meeting living artist who are in the collection. The only drawback is that when I go to other museums, I start counting how many security rules people break.

Who is your favorite artist in the collection?

Leo Villareal.

What is your favorite space within The Phillips Collection?

The Rothko Room. What many people see as just solid color in the paintings is actually, when examined, a blend of color with depth and texture. Spending hours in the galleries changes your way of seeing.

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2017 Staff Show (or your work in general)?

Last year sculptor, photographer, and painter William Christenberry died of complications from Alzheimer’s, which destroys the brain’s ability to remember. Yet his death caused me to recall the many times over the years seeing him personally visit the Phillips as an artist and a trustee on the board. He was always friendly, cordial: a real southern gentleman. I liked his sculpture but also really enjoyed his photography of the south. D.C. is a southern town in certain ways. Every summer I visit Richmond, Virginia, the former capital of the southern confederacy. Last year I took a picture of a barbershop store front with a Coca-Cola sign. I took another one this year. Christenberry also liked to take multiple images of the same thing over time. Richmond has a certain southern charm and pace of life that D.C. is starting to lose because of gentrification. The Coca-Cola sign and the corner here reminded me of Christenberry’s photos.

The 2017 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show is on view August 3 through September 17, 2017.

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