The Chinati Foundation : Conservation Associate
The Chinati Foundation/La Fundación Chinati, located in Marfa, Texas, is a contemporary art museum based upon the ideas of its founder, Donald Judd. The specific intention of Chinati is to preserve and present to the public permanent large-scale installations by a select group of artists. The emphasis is on works in which art, architecture and the surrounding land are inextricably linked.
The Conservation Associate will perform essential preventive collections care duties in a physically demanding environment. The work involves both surface cleaning of artworks and maintenance of exhibition spaces. The successful applicant reports directly to the Conservator and is given a high degree of independence. The incumbent will also work collaboratively across Museum departments such as Education, Development, Facilities, and Curatorial to enable continued public access and enjoyment of the collection.
This is a full-time, salaried position with a regular schedule of 40 hours per week, Monday – Friday with availability to work holidays, evenings and weekends when needed. Benefits include employer-provided health & dental insurance, employer-sponsored 403 (b) plan, flexible work environment, and generous paid time off.
• Responsible for preventive conservation maintenance for collections on display using conservation-approved materials and techniques. Follows protocols for tracking conservation treatments such as producing and archiving written reports and photographic documentation.
• For special projects, works with the conservator to determine the timeline, project supply needs, and budget details.
• Under the supervision of the Conservator, reviews and revises the conservation procedures manual which details approved techniques, materials, supplies, and equipment needed for each procedure. Ensures the necessary tools and equipment are available and ready when needed for urgent treatment and repair projects. Help assure the work meets Museum standards. Provides condition reports to the Conservator on a scheduled basis.
• Participates in environmental monitoring projects. By following directives from the Conservator, collects and analyzes data and produces written and verbal reports on environmental monitoring, problems, hazardous elements, and possible solutions for environmental conditions for artworks on exhibit and in storage. Contributes to the development of more efficient methods of testing, calibrating and using specialized tools and equipment for environmental monitoring and recording systems. Aids in monitoring dust and pests.
• Aids the Conservator to produce conservation documentation of an artwork and its treatment through written reports, photographs, and, where appropriate, diagrams and graphs.
• Participates in the installation, de-installation, maintenance, repair and preservation of artworks for special exhibits.
• Helps maintain the technical conservation library and digital image records. Follows established protocols.
• May work with the Conservator to develop and ensure live migration of digital documents. Follows data structures that foster efficient retrieval of information. Assures that digital images are saved in an appropriate format according to Conservation and Museum guidelines.
• Responsible for keeping the records up to date regarding the inventory of conservation lab equipment and supplies. Assists in developing, improving, and implementing laboratory maintenance and safety procedures. May be required to perform maintenance on laboratory equipment and alert the Conservator when specific support is needed.
• Conducts behind-the-scenes tours as required. Assists other departments for special events as needed. Responds to incidents or emergencies regarding collections or artworks on exhibition.
• Routinely reports on incidents or emergencies to the Conservator.
Time spent working indoors 50%
Time spent working outdoors 50%
Ability to work in high temperatures from 80-105 degrees F
Ability to work in low temperatures 40-65 degrees F
Ability to tolerate insect pests and other wildlife
Ability to tolerate exposure to fumes from paints and solvents
Experience loud noises from operating equipment and power tools
Must agree to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as respirators, dust masks, gloves, and Tyvek suits and boots under demanding physical conditions for extended periods
Ability to operate a 50ft Boom lift and drive it across rough terrain
Ability to operate hand power tools
Current driver’s license and ability to operate the organization’s motor vehicles
Use shovels, rakes, and mops
Carry and climb a ladder
This position requires considerable and extended periods of standing and walking from 2-3 miles per day.
Also, substantial periods working in awkward positions.
Ability to lift 50lbs
Ability to carry materials onsite to perform maintenance work throughout Chinati’s campus
Ability to focus on detailed tasks that are repetitive for prolonged periods
Problem-solving Ability to make quick decisions
Organize lab materials safely
Ability to collect and process environmental monitoring data
Knowledge of general lab chemistry, lab safety, and chemical hygiene
Applicant must meet these minimum qualifications to be considered
· Must have 3-5 years or more experience working in an art conservation lab, or experience in museum exhibits preparation.
· BA in position-related fields such as Museum Studies, Chemistry, or Studio Art.
· Legally authorized to work in the United States
· Familiarity with current conservation philosophy and ethics.
· Ability to handle rare and fragile materials with appropriate care.
· Ability to recognize, after instruction by the Conservator, the subtle physical and visual characteristics of artworks that may be altered by inappropriate treatment.
· Ability to learn and understand principles of conservation and necessary materials science (readings from conservation technical literature may be assigned).
· Ability to work collaboratively across all Museum departments, to work independently when needed, and to take direction from the Conservator.
· Excellent communication, interpersonal and organizational skills essential.
· Ability to consistently follow detailed procedures.
· Ability to change focus and duties according to assigned tasks.
· Basic word processing, spreadsheet, and database skills to document treatments that the incumbent performs and other lab duties.
· Broad knowledge of conservation and preservation theories, practices, methods, techniques, and standards
· General understanding of Museum practices, principles and standards for collections care
· Knowledge of exhibit mounts, support, housing, and case construction
· Ability to manage projects such as scheduling, coordinating site mobilization, and maintaining supply inventory
· Ability to write and communicate clearly
· Knowledge of visual imaging systems, analog, and digital photography
· Consistency and attention to accuracy and detail
· Knowledge of health and safety protocols
To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume and contact information for three references.