Tuesday 4 December 2012
As exhibitions designer and coordinator, Scott is part of the Collections team responsible for handling the artworks and physically delivering the exhibitions at the Gallery.
He works closely with curators, conservators, technicians and artists to develop the display and look of the gallery spaces, as well as overseeing their installation… which can involve anything from deciding where to hang a painting, to figuring out how to secure 70 live goldfish into the passenger seats of a chartered plane!
What’s the best part of your job?
The variety that comes from working with art and artists is always really exciting and inspirational. I think it's a real privilege to be part of what we do at the Gallery. Dealing with such interesting and culturally significant items while collaborating with talented people never really gets old.
What are the challenges?
Beside the regular practical and technical ones, working with content that many people, not just the artist, are so passionate about is a pretty delicate exercise at times. Concepts and practicality or ideal aesthetics don't always align, so establishing that level of mutual trust required to come up with a compromise that responds to everyone's needs can take a lot of work, particularly when you're working off plans and drawings rather than with the actual piece in a finished gallery space.
How do you want people to react when they walk into a space you’ve designed?
It really depends on the type of show and artwork we're displaying. Often the best exhibition design is one that only a few people might notice. Generally if we've got it right I'd hope visitors’ reactions and feelings will be driven by or at least align with the art on display and what the artists or curators originally wanted to communicate or provoke. Hopefully the exhibition design just helps this along a bit, enhancing the experience.
Out of all the shows you’ve worked on, which one(s) stand out as being your favourite?
I definitely could never pick one, that’s kind of like having to pick an all time favourite song and I'd probably come up with a different answer each day of the week. There are some like Yinka Shonibare MBE or For Keeps at the old NEW Gallery that still stand out because I'm such a fan of the elegant and slickly produced art that was in them.
With shows like the Julian & Josie Robertson Promised Gift and Degas to Dalí it's really humbling and memorable to be involved with such historically impressive and valuable pieces, while others like the Walters Prize or some of our large scale commissions are cool just because of the professional relationships and processes it took to deliver them.
We've just opened Who Shot Rock & Roll so of course that sticks out. I've always spent a lot of time going to live gigs so there's a lot of stuff in there that interests me. Gail Buckland (curator) and Roger Taberner (coordinating curator) were great to work with, giving me a lot of freedom to have some fun with the design and layout.
What are your interests outside of work?
I've got three old American cars that keep me entertained and poor when I'm not watching friends’ bands at some local dive bar. Actually, the only roadworthy car we've got at the moment is a ‘77 Chevy Camaro with a bit of drag racing history; it makes grocery shopping and running errands fun. Although they're gathering dust right now, I've also got a ‘51 Chevrolet I've been restoring and customising for way too long and a ‘51 Mercury Coupe which is more pile of rusty metal than vehicle at the moment.
Messing around with them in the garage is a good distraction if I'm getting too tied up in an exhibition, but for me there's also a real similarity with the kind of form versus function problem-solving and satisfaction I get from working on shows at the Gallery.