Assistant Paintings Conservator at the Menil Collection (Houston, TX, USA)

By Paid Job Ads posted 04-25-2019 11:19

  • Title: Assistant Paintings Conservator
  • Department: Conservation
  • Reports to: Chief Conservator

The Menil Collection is seeking a full-time Assistant Paintings Conservator to undertake treatments and research related to the preservation of paintings in the museum’s care. The Assistant Paintings Conservator will participate in museum-wide preservation activities including treatment; preparations for exhibition and loan; environmental monitoring; gallery maintenance; courier travel; technical research; supervision of departmental volunteers and interns; and routine lab maintenance.

A Master’s degree from a recognized art conservation program with a specialization in paintings is required, along with substantial practical experience and the ability to develop and undertake innovative treatments. While a broad knowledge of traditional materials and techniques is expected, a demonstrable interest in the treatment of modern and contemporary art is preferred. The successful candidate will be an effective verbal and written communicator. Strong interpersonal and organizational skills and the ability to prioritize and work independently are essential. The Assistant Paintings Conservator will report to the Chief Conservator and will regularly work in concert with the Matter/Framer, Andrew W. Mellon Advanced Training Fellow in Painting Conservation, Research Scientist, Conservation Imaging Specialist, Paper and Objects Conservators and other museum staff.

The successful candidate will join a team of five full-time conservators, a shared research scientist, a conservation imaging specialist, and four support staff. Integrated within the iconic Renzo Piano-designed Menil Collection, the conservation facilities comprise both shared and dedicated studios for the conservation of paintings, objects and works of art on paper, as well as analysis and imaging. Since its founding in 1987, the Menil Collection Conservation Department has distinguished itself through the publication of innovative treatments and materials research. Of particular note is the department’s ongoing commitment to working with living artists, including the establishment of The Artists Documentation Program (ADP), which interviews artists and their close associates in order to gain a better understanding of their materials, working techniques and intent for conservation of their works.

Considered one of the most important privately assembled collections of the twentieth century, the Menil Collection houses approximately 17,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs and rare books. Masterpieces from antiquity, Byzantium and the medieval period, the cultures of Africa, Oceania, and the American Pacific Northwest, and the twentieth century, including significant surrealist holdings, are particularly well represented.

General Responsibilities: The Assistant Paintings Conservator undertakes research, condition assessments, environmental monitoring, and treatments related to the care and preservation of paintings and painted objects in the care of the Menil Collection. All work must be performed in accordance with the American Institute for Conservation’s Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice.

Specific Duties:

  • Maintain paintings on view in galleries and in storage by regularly monitoring the objects and their environments, and by performing regular surface cleaning as appropriate
  • Respond to incidents involving damage or potential damage to paintings and, analyzing the specifics of each instance, communicate with departments across the museum to mitigate future risk
  • Prepare paintings for exhibition, loan, or permanent gallery rotations
  • Serve as conservation department liaison for selected Menil Collection temporary exhibitions
  • Determine exhibition, handling, storage, and packing requirements for borrowed objects as well as those in the collection that will be exhibited or loaned
  • Coordinate with Art Services and Exhibition Design to develop safe solutions for exhibition casework and decking.
  • Assess and report on the condition of specific paintings requested for loan prior to departure and upon return from travel outside the Menil Collection
  • Report on the condition of paintings borrowed by the Menil Collection for temporary exhibitions
  • Coordinate framing, schedule artwork movements, and request photography of paintings as needed for exhibition, treatment or loan
  • Assist with installations and de-installations as needed/where appropriate
  • Perform occasional domestic and international courier duties
  • Select non-exhibition-driven treatment projects in consultation with the Chief Conservator and Curators, and gather information necessary for the creation of project budgets based on project needs
  • Assess the condition of paintings presented for purchase by or gift to the Menil Collection
  • Assess the condition of paintings acquired by the Menil Collection, ensuring all necessary information is gathered and submitted to the painting’s permanent records
  • Conduct technical studies on the materials and techniques of artists represented in the Menil Collection, coordinating analysis and research with the Research Scientist and Curators
  • Engage with artists, their studio assistants or estates to document working practices, materials, and installation parameters, either in written form or on video for the Artists Documentation Program (ADP)
  • Assist Conservation Imaging Specialist in the imaging of large or complex paintings
  • Attend professional meetings and give lectures or publish papers
  • Assist in the general maintenance and upkeep of the conservation studio
  • Investigate and advise on the purchase of equipment

Salary and benefits are competitive and commensurate with experience. Preferred start date is September 2019. Please send a curriculum vitae, contact information for three professional references and a letter of intent to: Human Resources, The Menil Collection, 1511 Branard Street, Houston, 77006 TX, or fax it to 713-525-9476. Application materials may also be emailed to Application deadline is May 31, 2019. EOE.