Gretchen Scott


Photograph courtesy Caroll Taveras

Gretchen Scott is the Whitney Museum’s marketing manager and social media person.

How did you first get interested in contemporary art?

Chuck Close’s portrait of Philip Glass completely scrambled my brain in the best possible way. I saw it on my first visit to the Whitney in 2001, when I had just moved to New York for college. I still have my admission ticket. (Nerd alert!)

What have you learned after five years in the marketing department at The Whitney or rather what has proved the most useful online tool for reaching a bigger audience?

We have such amazing content! I’m always trying to give our online audience access to things they might not be able to experience otherwise. I’ve live-tweeted a sold out Werner Herzog Q&A and posted pictures from Edward Hopper’s West Village studio, which isn’t open to the public.

Why can’t we take pictures at the Kusama show? We thought polka dots, like information, want to be free!

Visitor photography is a case-by-case thing at the Whitney; right now photography isn’t allowed for the Kusama exhibit, but it is allowed for Sharon Hayes’ show. Sometimes an artist or curator will limit photography because they want to encourage a certain kind of visitor experience. Kusama’s Fireflies on the Water is a great example—you’re alone in a twinkling, mirrored room for just one minute. Kusama wants you to zone out and savor that moment. And sometimes we can’t allow photography for copyright or conservation reasons. I’m always in favor of allowing photography as long as it makes sense for the exhibition and the artist is OK with it.

One thing that annoys you about the art world?

Not enough snacks (or NO snacks) at openings!

An upcoming show — can even be in 2013 — you are looking forward to?

This fall I’m excited for the Brothers Quay exhibit at MoMA and Faking It, a show about early manipulated photography at the Met.

Do you live with any artwork at home?

My husband and I have a few editioned objects: Tauba Auerbach playing cards, Claire Fontaine’s Rubik’s cube with indistinguishable images of the ocean on each side, and Kiki Smith’s Singing Siren, which is a little sculpture with a motion sensor inside it. It plays audio when you move in front of it, but we’re afraid it’s going to break so we don’t put batteries in it. We also have a pretty sizeable collection of old photo booth images. I still regret not buying one photo of a guy with a ventriloquist dummy.

Artist quote or words to live by?

I try to flip through Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit every so often as a reminder to slow down and be playful. “Tunafish Sandwich Piece” is my favorite.

Imagine one thousand suns in the sky at the same time.

Let them shine for one hour.

Then, let them gradually melt into the sky.

Make one tunafish sandwich and eat.

And everyone should follow Yoko on Twitter (@yokoono).

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