Five Questions series around the office and finding out more about SFMOMA staff members and what’s changed for them now that we’re under construction. Today we’re talking to Amanda Glesmann, Editorial Coordinator, in our Minna Street offices, where many of us have been located for several years and will be until 2016, when our new building opens.
Please describe your job in three sentences or less:
The publications department handles all texts relating to the museum’s collection, including exhibition didactics and catalogues, interpretive multimedia features, and online content. My job involves editing, proofreading, and project management—primarily for exhibition-related materials when the museum is open. We are beginning to explore new kinds of collection-based publications as well, like the Rauschenberg Research Project we just launched.
What are you thinking about now that you weren’t thinking about before the museum closed?
New ways of reaching audiences. We’re using this time to experiment with different ways of reaching the public—through online publications as well as offsite projects and partnerships. This brings challenges as well as opportunities that we didn’t have before.
If you could spend an afternoon with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Having just finished working on the Rauschenberg Research Project, I’d be fascinated to meet Robert Rauschenberg and any of the artists he collaborated with. Looking at Rauschenberg’s Automobile Tire Print, which he worked on with John Cage, or at his Erased de Kooning Drawing, which is framed with an inscription executed by Jasper Johns, it seems like they all really had a lot of fun together. As an editor, I also have some questions for Rauschenberg about his artwork titles. He loved wordplay, and some of the titling conventions are pretty idiosyncratic. I’d love to have a chance to ask him about that.
If you could steal any artwork in the world to have in your home, what would it be?
Some of my favorite museum experiences involve artworks that you couldn’t see comfortably in a home, like Anthony McCall’s You and I, Horizontal, or large sculptures, site-specific installations, or sound works. But if I were going to pick something from our collection to take home it would have to be Agnes Martin’s Falling Blue. I could look at it over and over and see something different each time.
If you weren’t Editorial Coordinator what would your gig be?
I love working in museum publications. It isn’t what I always wanted to be when I grew up—for a long time I didn’t even know the field existed—but it turned out to be a perfect fit. I like having the chance to engage with the issues, ideas, and challenges that come with working with art, culture, and artists. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Have you ever run out of money?
You know, I feel like in the nonprofit workplace one is always kind of on the edge of running out of money. I’ve come close, but somehow it always seems to work out.
What should I ask you?
It depends on what you would like to know. Editors are normally in the background so I’m not used to answering the questions!