Document Type

Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Arts Administration




Stephen Weil writes in his collection of essays, Rethinking the Museum and Other Meditations," .. we must never forget that ideas--and not just things alone--also lie at the heart of the museum enterprise. Reality is neither objects alone nor simply ideas about objects (2). Weil's insight into the matter of museums prompted me to search out a particular type of organization in which to work for this internship. No doubt any number of respected and successful institutions in New York City could have offered me an extraordinary internship in arts administration, but I was drawn to The New Museum of Contemporary Art in SoHo for the way it sought to explore ideas about the nature of art, the way it defied standard institutional practice, and the way it brazenly undermined conventional expectations of the museum experience. The New Museum confronted the common assumptions about what art is and the way arts organizations relate to our culture. Here was a museum that took risks, that did not claim to know all the answers, but was willing to systematically open itself to criticism as part of its mission. The New Museum provided me the opportunity to explore the possibilities not described in the textbooks. I knew this organization would inevitably pose a new set of problems, but I was sure it was just as likely to set forth new solutions as well. As it turned out, my original semester-long internship became a year-long adventure that provided me the chance to work closely with the influential director of a major New York art museum, the responsibility of overseeing an installation in one of its smaller galleries, and, ultimately, the opportunity to assume the position of coordinator of an exhibition that encompassed the entire museum. Were it not for this museum's willingness to take a chance on an unproven quantity, to trust, to try the untried, I would not have gained so soon the experience and confidence that this institution so freely granted.