Brian Barlow ’18, MA ’19 thinks it is fitting that he works in a remodeled schoolhouse turned art studio: It’s an apt metaphor for his continual knowledge seeking and is, perhaps, a perfect homage to the university professor and art museum director who inspired and helped him start his career. As the assistant studio manager for prominent contemporary artist and MacArthur Fellow Jeffrey Gibson, Barlow helps direct the day-to-day operations that keep the studio running smoothly: managing an active schedule; coordinating with galleries and museums worldwide; photographing pieces in the collection; handling logistics for large-scale art; and working one-on-one with Gibson to plan and produce epic events and exhibitions around the globe. This is a day in the life of Assistant Studio Manager Brian Barlow.
Jeffrey has become a friend as well as a boss. Before starting at the studio I was told “There is only one Jeffrey.” He brings his trademark kindness and humor to every situation, no matter the context. Early on, I commuted long distances every day. During that time, he paid for my fuel to get to work. It’s an honor to have a working relationship and familiarity with an artist working at his level.
Since starting at the studio, we have created upwards of a hundred new works. As pieces make their way through the studio, production documents must be updated and decisions need to be communicated efficiently.
What I enjoyed most about my education was the ability to discuss color, process, and practice. One of the many joys of this job is the ability to talk about art with artists and share our passions and pursuits.
This is an early piece of Jeffrey’s from 2004. It was recently exhibited at the Thomas Cole House in Catskill, NY. It features references to handcraft that would later become a prominent feature of his artwork. It is rare to see so much of an artist’s early career outside of a retrospective.