We’ve asked FWMoA staff the hardest question you can ask art museum people: so, what is your favorite artwork currently on display? As “art museum people”, we often get asked about our favorite artists, artworks, and the art we choose to hang on our own walls. Since not all of our staff are front-end, and not all of them write for the blog, this series gives everyone a chance to get to know them, too. Taking advantage of our rotating exhibitions of artworks, from painted portraits to sculpted bronzes, FWMoA staff from all departments are choosing artworks that enthrall and enchant them; or, in other words, playing favorites.
Kaitlin Binkley, Director of Visual Communications, has made the art museum her place of work since 2013. Her current favorite? A photograph by Richard Renaldi titled Jet Star, Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
Q: What is the first thing you noticed about this artwork? What drew you to this particular piece?
A: The first thing I noticed about this work is the juxtaposition of the angular roller coaster construction to the roiling, natural sea and sky. It is a striking image that can be interpreted many ways by viewers, something I love about art.
Q: Would you hang this artwork in your home? Why or why not?
A: I would because, like I said, it’s conversation piece. There is a known history to how this landscape came to be (Hurricane Sandy) but there are many ways that story can be told, with either an optimistic or pessimistic spin depending on the story teller. Renaldi has captured a masterful moment for conversational crossroads.
Q: What does this artwork mean to you?
A: This piece was the focal point for one of my first big projects as a designer here at the museum. We were launching The National: Best Contemporary Photography Biennial and had reached out to several key artists to be the anchor points for the exhibition. Renaldi’s work was the piece that was picked to be the identifying image of this exhibit. I designed the large building banner, the Call for Entry postcards, the exhibition postcards, the catalog, and the actual The National logo. It was so exciting for me to be able to create something from scratch and carry it through to completion, as well as set up a recurring identity for the successive exhibitions in the following years.
Q: Why did you choose to work in an art museum?
A: I started as an intern at the museum in January of 2013, the last semester of my senior year at the University of Saint Francis. I knew at that moment that I was not disciplined enough to be a freelance artist or studio artist, so I would be going into an agency or gallery setting if I could find a good fit for me. The museum opened internships for the education and curatorial department and I applied. During my interview with the director and another staff member I remember just trying to put my best foot forward, to show my excitement to be there and the variety of skills I could bring to the museum as someone with a design degree. I must have made an impression because I was offered an internship, not with curatorial or education, but with the head of the marketing department! From there I made sure to be and do as much as I could for the museum, and they haven’t let me go yet!
Q: What has been your favorite exhibition at FWMoA during your employment? What exhibition are you most looking forward to in the next year or two?
A: I really like the exhibitions that I create catalogs for, for selfish reasons, as I find them very fun to do. Art wise, I liked Paroxsym by Crystal Wagner, Invisible College in 2015, Kirsty Mitchell in 2018, Elly Tullis in 2019, and By Women in 2020. I’m looking forward to the upcoming Chuck Sperry exhibition.
Q: What kid of art (if any) do you have in your home?
A: I have some prints and photographs, some things from friends and my mentors at home. I have a lot more plants than artwork, however, and insects and art don’t mix well.
Come visit FWMoA to see Kaitlin Binkley’s current favorite, on display in A Century of Making Meaning until November 7th, 2021.