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Assistant Conservator, Media
Assistant Conservator, Media
Art Institute of Chicago
Post Date: 11 Nov 2022

JOB OVERVIEW

Introduction

The Art Institute of Chicago shares its singular collections with our city and the world. We collect, care for, and interpret works of art across time, cultures, geographies, and identities, centering the vision of artists and makers. We recognize that all art is made in a particular context, demanding continual, dynamic reconsideration in the present. We are a place of gathering; we foster the exchange of ideas and inspire an expansive, inclusive understanding of human creativity.  

Responsible for the treatment, research, and long-term preservation of over 300,000 works of art in the Art Institute’s collections, the Department of Conservation and Science is integral to the museum’s mission to safeguard the world’s artistic and cultural legacy for future generations. Founded in 1956 with a single paintings conservator, the department has grown to a staff of over 30 specializing in nine disciplines organized in five divisions:  Objects and Textiles; Paintings and Frames; Paper and Books; Photography and Media; Scientific Research.

Members of the department contribute to the advancement of the field and the broader awareness of conservation issues through multiple avenues of specialized and societal dissemination, are involved in object-based teaching and scientific research, and actively support the education of future conservation and museum professionals.

Position Summary

The Art Institute is seeking qualified candidates for a full-time position of Assistant Conservator of Time-Based Media to join its dynamic Conservation and Science Department.

The Assistant Conservator, with varying degrees of supervision, carries out examination, research and treatment of time-based media artworks in the permanent collection, providing ongoing care to media art of all provenance and times. Assists with preparation, installation, and documentation of gallery rotations, exhibitions and loans, and serves as a courier with artwork as needed. Collaborates in the planning and day-to-day workflow in the photography and media conservation department. Is encouraged to research and publish on the materials, methods of making, and on the preservation of the collection. Is committed to and actively engaged in fostering a diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environment.

Reporting to the Director of Photography and Media Conservation, the incumbent will have the following specific responsibilities:

  • Participates in all departmental activities, including acquisition, preparation of works for exhibition, collection care, loans, and research.
  • Performs technical examination, documentation, and treatment of media works, including but not limited to, audio, film, video and software. Prepares reports as required, and develops individualized preservation plans for TBM artworks.
  • Responsible for detailed record keeping of all treatments and examinations performed on works of art.
  • Performs evaluation and preparation of objects for loans to other institutions. Makes recommendations on objects considered for purchase by the curatorial departments.
  • Assists with the daily operation of the Museum’s digital repository, including ingesting of digital artwork material, collaborating with the ongoing development, and other repository related tasks.
  • Engages the expertise and collaborates with various constituents both inside and outside the museum, to ensure the institution is equipped for the purposes of documenting, examining, maintaining, preserving, and repairing media works.
  • Assists with the maintenance of the media conservation lab, including researching, maintaining, and updating both equipment and software.
  • Conducts research on the materials and techniques of artists represented in the collection.
  • Occasionally supervises interns with other staff conservators. 
  • Supports the museum in its commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable institution; treats colleagues and visitors fairly and respectfully, recognizing the value that diverse backgrounds and perspectives bring to our organization.

Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in conservation or related discipline, such as audiovisual archiving and preservation, computer science, film/television production, or information science, with preferably two years of previous experience working with TBM collections, or commensurate training and experience.
  • Proven expertise in the best practices for condition assessment, documentation, installation, and preservation of TBM works in a range of analog and digital formats; experience with digital asset management systems.
  • Familiarity with the American Institute for Conservation’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
  • Proficiency with computing environments (Mac and Window) and relevant software for time-based media conservation, such as Non-linear Editors (Premiere, DaVinci, etc), the Adobe Creative Suite, command line tools (Mediainfo, FFmpeg, Exiftool, etc.), and other relevant software is required.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills as demonstrated by written reports, publications, presentations or social media presence.
  • Must be able to manage multiple projects with tight deadlines and be proficient at project prioritization.
  • Embraces the museum’s commitment to creating an inclusive and equitable institution.

Applications

Candidates must submit a letter of interest, a CV, the name and contact information of three references, a portfolio of recent treatments and their documentation, and a writing sample. Documentation should be saved as a single document and uploaded as a single file.

More details on the website.

JOB DETAILS

Location
Chicago, USA

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