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Work In Progress: Behind the scenes of At Work

June 25th, 2010

Kendra Ainsworth is a Masters candidate in Museum Studies at the University of Toronto, and is an Interpretive Planning intern at the AGO.

Work is a learning experience, a process of self-discovery, whether you are an artist, student, CEO, or an intern like me. Everyday you are improving your skills, contributing to your field, and (hopefully!) making a name for yourself.

These are concepts that the artists featured in an upcoming exhibition have grappled with, and which play out in their art. The show, appropriately titled At Work, opens September 22nd, and focuses on the artistic practice of three seminal female artists active during the 60s and 70s: Eva Hesse, Betty Goodwin and Agnes Martin. These three women were incredibly dedicated to their work, and were constantly pushing the boundaries of their respective fields, and of their practice. This exhibition presents a unique opportunity to peer into the inner world of their lives, studios and art.

Before anyone gets a chance to see the show, I’d like to show you what goes on behind the scenes – the work that goes into the making of an exhibition. With this weekly blog series, I’d like to share my perspective on the processes involved in creating an exhibit for the AGO, as I learn about them.

Although I am an intern here at the AGO, I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an art expert. And when I was first informed that I would be working on this exhibit, I was a little terrified! Much like many visitors to the AGO, visual art and art history are not my background, and although I appreciate art, there will always be more for me to learn. The first step for me in the process of developing this exhibition was to learn about these three artists, and study their work, in much the same way that curators do. I went to the library, took out stacks of books, read artist profiles, looked at images, and made notes, all the while trying to gain insights into the inspiration, drive, and processes of these women that allowed them to create paintings and sculpture as arresting as the ones that you will see in this exhibition.

I hope that you will follow along with me through my work on this exhibition, and get an insider’s view on what goes on behind the scenes at the AGO. Perhaps you will get inspired yourself, whether to do something creative, to come see the exhibit when it opens, or just to think about the work you do in your day to day life, and what it teaches you about the world, and about yourself.

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