Job Opportunity: Project Manager, Rauschenberg Catalogue Raisonné, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

POSITION SPECIFICATION

POSITION TITLE:               Project Manager, Rauschenberg Catalogue Raisonné

REPORTING TO:                Director of Curatorial Affairs

DEPARTMENT:                   Curatorial

LOCATION:                          New York City

THE COMPANY:                 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation expands the legacy of artist Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008) who believed strongly in the power of art as a catalyst for social change. The Foundation delivers on its mission through on-going research and support for exhibitions, while sustaining the well-being of innovative artists and the work of socially engaged institutions that embody the same risk-taking, inclusive, and multidisciplinary approach that Rauschenberg exemplified in both his art and philanthropic endeavors.

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation primarily supports small to midsize arts and socially engaged organizations that are contrarian and experimental, even courageous, in driving towards equity. In addition, the Foundation amplifies the creative life of artists and scholars across the disciplines through residencies, commissions, and accessible public platforms. Finally, the Foundation supports research, exhibitions, publications, academic partnerships, and special projects across the globe that promote the legacy of Rauschenberg’s joyful, responsive, and irreverent approach to making work while living an empathetic and meaningful life.

In its stewardship of Rauschenberg’s artistic legacy, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation will undertake the first Catalogue Raisonné dedicated to the sixty-year career of this protean artist. In its entirety, the Rauschenberg Catalogue Raisonné of Painting and Sculpture will be comprised of approximately 3,500 of artworks and will be published in a digital format. The first of volume, covering the years 1949 to 1953, will launch in 2025—the artist’s centennial. The Foundation is now seeking an experienced Project Manager to oversee this multifaceted project.

Robert Rauschenberg and the catalogue raisonnÉ project

Working in a wide range of subjects, styles, materials, and techniques, Robert Rauschenberg has been called a forerunner of essentially every postwar movement since Abstract Expressionism. He remained, however, independent of any particular affiliation. At the time that he began making art in the late 1940s and early 1950s, his belief that “painting relates to both art and life” challenged the prevalent modernist aesthetic. The celebrated Combines, begun in the mid-1950s, brought real-world images and objects into the realm of abstract painting and countered sanctioned divisions between painting and sculpture. These works established the artist’s ongoing dialogue between mediums, between the handmade and the readymade, and between the gestural brushstroke and the mechanically reproduced image. Rauschenberg’s lifelong commitment to collaboration—with performers, printmakers, engineers, writers, artists, and artisans from around the world—is a further manifestation of his expansive artistic philosophy. While Rauschenberg was a preeminent American artist of the twentieth century, his career continued into the twenty-first and his work remains contemporary and entirely relevant to a younger generation of artists.

This catalogue will be designed to contain all that is found in a conventional catalogue raisonné and to meet scholarly and market-based needs. In keeping with Rauschenberg’s own expansive artistic philosophy, however, we intend in addition to engage a broader audience and to include writers with various areas of interest and expertise; beyond art historians, there will be writings by social historians, conservators, and practicing artists, among others. With a multitude of diverse voices, it is our intention to present a range of perspectives that is commensurate with, and at times even goes beyond, the expansiveness of Rauschenberg’s thinking as well as his spirit of inclusivity. Furthermore, we will make use of all the technical possibilities of a digital publication to demonstrate Rauschenberg’s interests, processes, and collaborations.

Scope and responsibilities

The Project Manager (PM) reports to the Director of Curatorial Affairs and will be responsible for day-to-day management of the Catalogue Raisonné (CR). The PM will be the primary point person on the CR for RRF art, archives, and warehouse staff, outside editorial and technology consultants, CR researchers and other CR staff, and the CR Advisory Committee. They will develop tools and systems to manage critical CR information.

The PM must quickly develop a familiarity with the crucial literature on Rauschenberg and actively engage in research in order to gauge the success and failures of the project. They will be involved in processing archival and published materials; must read actively, participate in discussions with researchers and the CR team, and be active in the broader CR community. 

Priority given to candidates willing to make a long-term commitment.

Specific Responsibilities

CR Management (35%)

Establish, implement, maintain, and enforce project plan and related timeline

With CR leadership, establish and document the methodology and terminology for examining artwork and entering CR data; develop on-line submission forms; execute data entry; and maintain database for CR (Filemaker)

Hire and manage CR staff: researchers for bibliography, exhibition history, chronology, provenance research; copy editor; contract staff including art handlers for offsite viewings, photographers for off-site shoots, and digital asset manager

Establish and maintain style sheet and central base where all decisions about procedures are recorded and can be referred to by all those working on the CR

Day-to-day management of research team; coordinate art handling and photography through warehouse staff; establish examination teams in New York and beyond

Prior to on boarding a digital asset manager, assess, commission, and manage digital and physical CR photo assets. Maintain photographic guidelines to standardize photography and on-line submission forms

Communications / Outreach (30%)

Point person for RRF in the CR community; be actively engaged in what is going on in the CR world

Manage all aspects of the call for works including, but not limited to, research related to legal and insurance issues; create and implement an on-line submission system; coordinate any public relations related to call for works or CR in general.

Communicate with owners, including private owners, public institutions, and auction houses, announcing the project and requesting information.

Manage and update CR Website

Write quarterly updates for the RRF Board and Advisory Committee

Consider establishing a Research Internship Program for graduate students

Research & Scholarship (20%)

Assign, supervise, and be involved in daily research; create research guidelines and timeline

Oversight and implementation of fact-checking process for all elements of the CR including but not limited to copy editing short artwork and series descriptions, chronology, bibliography, exhibition history, provenance, media lines

With RRF art team and dedicated researchers: develop and flesh out existing research files (physical and digital) including exhibition, chronologies, provenance, and exhibition history.

Administrative (15%)

Schedule all CR team and Committee meetings and manage meeting notes / minutes.

Manage all CR finances: budget, invoices, and other expenses

Organize all travel for archives research and artwork exams and related expenses 

Coordinate all insurance and legal issues related to the CR reporting to Deputy Director

Additional responsibilities as assigned

EXPERIENCE REQUIRED

Prior CR experience very desirable — experience cataloguing individual works of art and familiarity with current CR best practices

Proven track record for completion of large-scale projects

Proven leadership skills: strong project management experience managing large numbers of people. 

Extensive research background and experience in libraries and archives

Experience interacting with archives, museums, private collectors, auction houses, galleries, and the catalogue raisonné community at large

High level of proficiency and comfort with relational databases and other technologies

ReQUIRED ATTRIBUTES

Excellent editorial and organizational, as well as analytical, and problem-solving skills

Excellent communication skills—written and oral—with a broad range of constituents

Meticulous approach to record keeping and research; attention to detail

Strong people skills, collaborative, proactive, and flexible working style

Ability to work independently, prioritize, organize workload, work under pressure, and multitask; manage regular deadlines all with integrity, confidentiality, good humor, and kindness

Strong written and verbal communication skills; ability to make oral and written presentations, communicating complex information in a concise and lucid way

Ability to project ahead and anticipate changing needs of a long-term project

Supportive work style that demonstrates initiative, patience, flexibility, sound judgment, and collaboration

Warmth, a sense of humor, and an appreciation for the work of the Foundation

Education

Advanced degree in art history required; 20th century art history preferred.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

As an equal opportunity employer, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (RRF) is committed to creating an equitable and inclusive work environment. We strive to attract a diverse mix of talented people and we encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

COMPENSATION

Compensation is commensurate with experience.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Please email letters of interest accompanied by a CV to employment@rauschenbergfoundation.org. In the subject line, please indicate Application for Catalogue Raisonné Project Manager position.

Author: Jacqueline Francis

Writer, educator, curator, arts consultant, and occasional artist in San Francisco, California. Follow me on Twitter @JackieFrancisSF and Instagram--jackiefrancissf

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