Graduate Student Summer 2015 Intern Needed for Artist Archive Project

The recently formed Artist Archive Project at NYU seeks a graduate student intern for the summer of 2015. The intern will perform research on David Wojnarowicz at Fales Library & Special Collections in Bobst Library and elsewhere to identify key questions and resources related to curating and conserving his work. The intern will also assist in preparing a fall seminar The Museum Life of Contemporary Art, to be taught by Glenn Wharton in the Museum Studies Program (see description below).


We are looking for a motivated graduate student who is interested in questions surrounding the disposition of contemporary art in museum collections. Experience with archival research and skills in searching bibliographic databases are preferred. The intern will work independently and hold weekly meetings with the supervisor. We anticipate interest from students in Museum Studies (GSAS), the Institute of Fine Arts (IFA), Performance Studies (Tisch), Moving Image Archiving Preservation (Tisch), Archives & Public History (GSAS), Visual Arts Administration (Steinhardt), and the Draper Program, among other NYU graduate programs.

Terms: May – August, 192 Hours @ $18/ Hr = $3,456 (schedule to be arranged with successful applicant). We are open to expanding the hours to fulfill a 300 hour internship requirement on an unpaid or matching grant basis.

Interested applicants please send brief statement of research interests, curriculum vitae and any questions related to the project to Glenn Wharton <glenn.wharton[at]> by April 10, 2015.

Artist Archive Project Description

Over the course of two years beginning in the spring of 2015, faculty, staff, and graduate students at NYU will undertake a pilot project to develop a model for creating digital archives relating to exhibiting and conserving contemporary art. The pilot project will focus on the technical, logistical, and ethical concerns associated with the work of David Wojnarowicz. His archive in the Fales Library Downtown Collection will serve as a principal resource for the research, in conjunction with questions raised by curators at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The current attention his work receives and the controversies surrounding the posthumous assemblage of his moving image and audio fragments into artworks make this research timely and critical to scholars and professionals in the art world. The Whitney Museum is planning an inaugural exhibition of Wojnarowicz’ work in 2016-17, and the co-curators David Kiehl and David Breslin will work with the NYU team on exhibition and conservation concerns associated with the exhibition:

The project is expected to stimulate research on topics that underlie logistical questions pertaining to curating and exhibiting conceptual and time-based art. Expanded research will engage literature on topics such as artwork biographies, network theory, authorship, intentionality, and authenticity.  Legal questions will lead to research on copyright, intellectual property, and ownership. These and other concerns will be addressed in the Museum Studies seminar. 

The Museum Life of Contemporary Art  –  Seminar Description

The topic of this seminar is the life of contemporary artworks within museums. Sessions are organized around the trajectory of complex artworks from acquisition, to documentation, storage, exhibition, and conservation intervention. Installation, media, and performance works serve as case studies to analyze social, legal, and material dynamics as they move through this life cycle. Examination of these stages engages various contemporary debates around artist rights, artist intentions, authorship, and authenticity. Students learn about museum processes as they assess practical challenges and theoretical questions posed by contemporary art in the museum.

Students engage in project-based research to conduct artist interviews and/or investigate curatorial and conservation problems in artist archives. One group will research questions about the work of David Wojnarowicz, who was active in downtown New York during the 1970s and 1980s. His archive in the Fales Library & Special Collections will serve as a resource for the research. Other groups will conduct interviews with artists and museum staff concerning problematic artworks in local museums.

Project Coordinators:

Glenn Wharton, Clinical Associate Professor

Museum Studies


Marvin Taylor, Director

Fales Library and Special Collections



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