Exhibition Project Coordinator
Hannah Baker: Where did you go to college and what did you study?
Chris Sicat: I went to Otis Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles and studied Fine Art. I was living in Los Angeles in the late 1980s, an exciting time in L.A. The school was in MacArthur Park, a very old neighborhood, but a great park. All of the professors introduced me to mind-bending ideas such as re-contextualizing old 1950s films of Rock Hudson and bringing it into a more contemporary dialogue. The school introduced me to the notion of interdependence, which I still use today.
I then went to graduate school at the New York Academy of Arts. As someone from California, I felt I had to experience New York and I used graduate school as my vehicle to get there. New York City was great and lived up to its name. Going to graduate school helped me make a commitment to the arts. Graduate school was the pivotal moment for me to choose to pursue a career in the arts. I saw how important art was in New York—culturally, economically, and politically.
HB: How did you begin your career in the arts? Did you originally start your career in a different field?
CS: My first job was working in an art gallery. From there I began working in museums and theater companies like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the UCLA Hammer Museum. I started a theater company in which I collaborated with musicians, visual artists, dancers, and writers. Since I worked and collaborated with many interesting artists, I was able to put on many creative and paradigm-breaking shows.
HB: When did you arrive at your position today?
CS: I began working at the de Saisset in Summer 2013. I'm the Exhibitions Project Coordinator.
HB: What are your responsibilities as Exhibition Project Coordinator?
CS: I oversee installation, deinstallation, handling of all artworks, and general art care.
HB: What is the most interesting part of your job?
CS: Handling the art and seeing how it is constructed; working directly with curators; working with artists; executing the proper presentation of works by elevating the works of art.
HB: What advice would you give to someone thinking about pursuing a career in the museum world?
CS: Look for experiences outside the museum and think again about how art is connected to all fields, from politics to science to law to farming.
HB: What hobbies do you have outside of work?
CS: I play music—guitar and piano—and I'm a practicing artist. Recently, I've been inspired by the foodies in the Bay Area and their focus on sustainable, local, and organic foods. I'm currently working with redwood and graphite in union that marks the very ground we stand on. Santa Clara is ideal for creating a social sculpture because of its broad awareness and interest in environmental ideals.