"Three hours of sitting in a chair and kissing my girlfriend seemed like an amusing thing to get paid for," muses Susannah Magers (MA Curatorial Practice 2011), reminiscing about the work-study position that she’ll probably always remember as one of the oddest jobs of her career.
Between 2007 and 2012, Magers and dozens of other CCA undergrad and grad students got paid by the college to serve as interpreters of artworks by the contemporary art phenom Tino Sehgal. The Sehgal artworks were presented one at a time, continuously over those six years, at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, in conjunction with its regular exhibition programming. The participating students all had to audition, and then, if selected, went through a rigorous training and worked many hours a week for the 12-week duration of the piece.
Often the works called for interactions with gallery visitors that were deliberately disjunctive -- somewhere between pranksterism and institutional critique -- and surprising to many attendees, who showed up expecting a nice, sedate gallery experience rather than some kind of live intervention.
For some of the students it was a thrilling brush with fame in the form of an international art star. For others it was just another (albeit pretty out-there) work-study gig. A few finished their first day in tears. And many came away from the experience with their own artistic or curatorial practice forever changed.