It's been a year of great experiences at the Wex. For the second year in a row, staff members are sharing some of their favorite moments from behind the scenes.
Marisa Espe, Curatorial Assistant
"One of the very-unglamorous-but-cool tasks of the job is to act as an on-call chauffeur for visiting artists, curators, and lecturers. This past year included noteworthy riders like Nancy Rubins (pictured above), Douglas Crimp, and the Fallen Fruit duo. At the risk of sounding like a fangirl, I so welcomed shooting the shit and not talking about art with art heroes, chatting about things as commonplace as the virtues of trees with Rubins or the traffic in Rochester with Crimp."
Chris Stults, Associate Curator, Film/Video
"The Wexner Center’s premiere screening of The Preschool Poets (a collaboration between local poet Nancy Kangas, filmmaker Josh Kun, Columbus children, and animators from around the world) was an extraordinary evening of community, imagination, dedication, curiosity, and art. It was as wonderful a celebration of Columbus talent and the creative spirit as you can find!"
Jean Pitman, Youth and Community Programs Manager
"As a visual artist and an educator, it has been an enormous honor to work with an artist and an educator like Ms. Chinonye Chukwu on the project 10 Girls/10 Weeks. The passion she has for her craft is truly infectious.
"One of the most surprising things about learning to write movies is how similar it is to living a life—my own life. Writing movies is all about action and dialogue EXCLUSIVELY; how does a character “show up”? How does a character let the audience know they are happy or sad or troubled or worried through words and actions? This kind of close analysis has really forced me to ask about how I show up and how I communicate through my words and actions (or not!). It’s been a fascinating mirror for me to study my own actions and words as I study the words and actions of various characters in sample scripts we are reading in the class. I never dreamed this would happen but like all good art, the best stuff hits super close to home and I feel recognized, seen/heard.
"I am so grateful to work alongside such an accomplished artist and educator, and am using this experience to learn more about myself in addition to learning how to write a compelling film script! Not only that, but I am sharpening my teaching skills by working with a great teacher, too. Ms. Chukwu inspires all of us in so many ways AND she is TOUGH!! We all love her."
Dave Filipi, Director, Film/Video
"It was almost like seeing two different films to see Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro, a documentary structured around an unpublished James Baldwin book, in September 2016 (let’s call this ‘pre-election’) and later at the Wex in February 2017 (‘post-election’). Rarely does a film feel so essential, whether experienced in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, or in the wake of the election of a President whose world view runs counter to everything for which Baldwin stood. It was gratifying to be able to share such a urgent film with our audience, and to have to add two additional screenings to our scheduled four, with all six selling out."
Paul Hill, Film/Video Studio Editor
"Filmmaker and artist Barbara Hammer has made over 80 moving image works and I’ve had the privilege of working on a few of those! One of my highlights of last year was the opportunity to work with Barbara again. This time I went to her studio in NYC—a gorgeous apartment overlooking the Hudson River, where we worked for 10 days on her latest project. It’s called Evidentiary Bodies and it’s a three-channel video installation which fearlessly documents her body as its being impacted by cancer. It’s beautiful and haunting. Until this trip I’ve only been familiar with Barbara’s films but while there I got a chance to see some of her amazing photographs, paintings, and sculptures at her gallery show at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art in Soho. Barbara’s quite a legend and it’s always a huge honor to work with her."
Joanna Hammer, Patron Services Manager
"Working at the Patron Services desk, I get to meet all kinds of people. On Black Friday, I chatted with an out-of-town visitor who was here to see the Cindy Sherman exhibition. When he purchased his gallery ticket, he was thrilled that he qualified for the senior ticket rate. It was the first time he ever cashed in on that discount! I’d never seen someone so happy to achieve senior status. He even asked me to take a photo of the historic moment."
Lucy Zimmerman, Curatorial Assistant
"Besides a year of exceptional art made exclusively by women artists in view in our galleries, a Wex highlight of the year for me was working with the exhibitions team on an entry for a pumpkin themed contest open to all staff for Halloween.
"If you saw Gray Matters, you may remember the dazzling Katie Paterson installation Totality that featured a rotating mirrored ball with tiny slides of every solar eclipse ever recorded. We used this brilliant work as loose inspiration, and decided to take photos of as many slices as we could get out of a pumpkin pie, then affixed them to mirrored tiles and covering a silver pumpkin with them. From there, we made a spoof behind the scenes trailer with monster costumes. It was a much needed moment of levity in what has otherwise been an actually scary year, and the only time I’ll win an award for my terrible iPhone videography."
Images: Nancy Rubins during her April 13 talk at the Wex, photo by Brooke LaValley; Barbara Hammer and Paul Hill, photo by Paul Hill; Pumpkin video by Wex Exhibitions staff