Index

Intern Spotlight: Stephanie Strickland

Stephanie Strickland posing with Ernesto Neto’s work for the MCA. Image courtesy of Stephanie.

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Eliza, our 2017 curatorial intern, interviewed media relations intern Stephanie Strickland for our Intern Spotlight series, which highlights the varied backgrounds and interests of our interns. Summer 2018 call for applications is out. Apply before February 15.

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SCHOOL AFFILIATION
University of California, Riverside, BAs in Fine Arts and Anthropology

INTERNSHIP DEPARTMENT
Communications

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What was one thing that surprised you about the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago?

One thing that surprised me was how interested people are in contemporary art, and how popular the MCA is in the Chicago community. I think that in the past, museums have catered to a different caliber of community, and they are actively trying to work on that. The MCA has really taken that in stride, and shaped their museum into a place that is accessible to everyone.

What is your favorite work of art in the MCA?

For something to be a favorite to me, it has to really capture my interest. I often return to Jonathas de Andrade’s The Fish (2016) because it’s slightly disturbing, yet very captivating. You have to keep watching. To me, it’s a commentary on cultural differences; you can see the care in the man’s eyes as he holds a dying being.

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What is a piece of advice you would have for a prospective intern applying to the MCA?

Talk. To. Everyone. What harm can be done when you’re making yourself known while simultaneously learning what everyone in this industry is doing.

If you had access to a time machine, where and when in the past would you go?

I would go live with the hominids. To be more precise, I would live 3.3 million years ago in prehistoric Pangea. I want to explore that time because so many people still don’t believe in evolution. It’s a scientifically proven fact and to me it is flabbergasting that it is still up for debate. It was a time when one’s natural environment played a major role in one’s life, to a greater extent than it does today. The idea of these beings using their surrounding environment and having to rely on their primordial instincts is fascinating to me. I would love to experience that way of life firsthand—before external influences became involved.

What is an item on your bucket list?

One item on my bucket list is to travel to all seven continents before I die. I also want to travel to both poles. The next continent on my list is Africa, and I specifically want to go to Ethiopia so I can see where humanity originated.

What are your future plans or goals after interning at the MCA?

I would love to continue working at a museum. I think the MCA has prepared me really well for that. You’re surrounded by intellectual people that almost speak a different language and I’m fascinated by people that “get” art. I’d also like to go back to school, but I’m still battling with a specific area of study, whether that’s curation, art history, or anthropology. Overall, I want to keep learning, hold a stable job, and expand my awareness of the world.

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If you were the host of your own talk show, who would you invite?

A living person I would love to invite on a talk show would be the artist Yayoi Kusama. I learned a lot about her in school, and she’s also huge in the art world right now. She has a mental disorder and I would love to talk to her about how that affects her artistic practice. There are so many tedious aspects to the art she creates and I can’t imagine this doesn’t play a role in her work and her process. I saw one of her works in Seattle, and it consisted of many phallic shapes. She has spoken about how she creates these shapes in order to deal with her insecurity in her sexuality, and she does this beautifully. I’m so happy she’s gaining recognition while she is alive. She’s really old but still has an impressive grasp on the direction of contemporary art and the influence of technology on society, and she uses both to her advantage. You go girl!

Best of 2017