Artists Guarding Artists at Family Business

August 2, 2012 from 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Family Business Gallery - 520 West 21st Street, NYC

Family Business
Artists Guarding Artists
2 August-17 August

Family Business is pleased to present, “Artists Guarding Artists”, a survey of works by artists employed as security guards at various New York City museums. Featuring a diverse approach to art making from artists employed at the Guggenheim, Whitney, MoMA, New Museum, and Metropolitan Museum of Art, this survey questions the creative processes of those chosen to protect the artworks of others. For decades aspiring artists in New York City have undertaken the responsibility of guarding our museum’s masterpieces. Artistic visionaries like Brice Marden, Robert Ryman, Robert Mangold, Dan Flavin, and Eric Fischl were all once staffed as museum security guards. By investigating the unique perspectives of these present-day protectors, “Artists Guarding Artists”, exemplifies the subtle and enigmatic ways that an environment of artworks and institutions can affect one’s creative production.

Some works in the exhibit directly acknowledge issues related to guarding, while others function on wholly separate terms. In the photograph, You and Me, Emilie Lemakis uses her handmade “doppelganger” as a means of interacting with her identity as a guard, creating an air of mysterious intrigue. In Ambergris, a “throw-painting” by Charles Andresen, we see a fluctuating dance between the almost greasy surface of swirling color and the amorphous shapes within the depths of the paint. Peter J Hoffmeister, in his investigation of manmade systems and the function of line making, has rearticulated old MET Museum plans in his Blueprint 1.0001, creating a dynamic line arrangement of order and decay. In Ada Potter’s delicately small Found Slide Archive, the artist has created an encasement for found slides which serves the purpose of archiving the tiny pieces of artwork, while simultaneously housing them in a precious and nostalgic setting.

Each of the works in Artists Guarding Artists functions in a specific and personalized way, and it is ultimately left to speculation as to how they may or may not interconnect with the artists’ guarding positions. Indeed, these artists find themselves in a unique position, sometimes spending more time with the art than the curators themselves. And so the question begs an answer—but perhaps we will never know. 

“Artists Guarding Artists”, was organized by Peter J Hoffmeister, MET Museum security guard and former co-editor of SW!PE Magazine, and Laura Murray, current Family Business gallery assistant and New Museum visitors’ assistant.


Family Business is a collaboration between CCS Bard, artist Maurizio Cattelan, and curator Massimiliano Gioni.

Family Business is made possible with support from, Dakis Joannou, Antonella Rodriguez, and David Teiger.

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