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Gaining Curatorial Perspective

Gaining Curatorial Perspective

Painting major Isabelle Rose 17 PT soaked up New York's inspiring cultural scene during a summer internship at MoMA.

A curatorial internship at MoMA gave Isabelle Rose 17 PT an opportunity to focus on looking and researching over the summer.

Warming to the frenetic pace of life in NYC, Isabelle Rose 17 PT took full advantage of the city’s always-on arts scene over the summer. “I went to two or three museums every weekend,” says the Painting major, who recently completed a 10-week internship at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). “I also walked through the galleries [at MoMA] every day for about 30 minutes.” For the artist, working as a curatorial intern in MoMA’s Drawings and Prints department allowed her “step back from making [and] focus on looking and researching”—a vital opportunity to recharge before her senior year at RISD.

Having worked at the RISD Museum the summer between sophomore and junior year, Rose learned to appreciate making historical and aesthetic connections that she otherwise might not when absorbed in her studio practice, something her concentration in the History of Art + Visual Culture also reinforces.

As one of 25 interns at MoMA this summer, Rose thrived on the professional curatorial culture. “MoMA taught me a lot about what it’s like to work in a museum,” she says, adding that she frequently spoke to curators about how they conceive of and organize exhibitions and the importance of developing relationships with artists. She forged her own strong bond with RISD alumna Tessa Ferreyros 06 FAV, a curatorial assistant at the museum who helped her figure out how to transition from making her own work in the studio to observing and handling it in MoMA’s collections.

During her internship, Rose researched the work of conceptual artist Adrian Piper in preparation for a survey show coming up at MoMA in spring 2018. In compiling a bibliography for a major exhibition catalogue to accompany the show, she enjoyed looking closely at the artist/philosopher’s work in the museum’s permanent collection and traveling to archives offsite in search of any and every mention of it. “Piper performed as an artist in her replies to editors as much as she did in her performances on the street,” Rose says. “The process was a really interesting way for me to look at an artist and her career.”

This year Rose is looking forward to pushing her work in the studio and working at the RISD Museum again next spring as a 2017 Museum Fellow. After learning from her experience at MoMA and in NYC, she feels more ready than ever to start the school year in “full force,” eager to “produce a strong body of work.”

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