Jen Neville next to an installment of Michael Dean’s Tender Tender at the Münster Sculpture Project.
Jen Neville next to an installment of Michael Dean’s Tender Tender at the Münster Sculpture Project.

Web and multimedia environments major Jen Neville spent two months of her summer in Germany working with a Kunstverein (arts organization) through the WorkArt Fellowship Program.

How did you hear about the WorkArt Fellowship Program?

I learned about the program from International and Off-Campus Programs Advisor Britt Nelson. She gave me information regarding deadlines, the application process, and the selection process. I also caught ideas of WorkArt through the student body. Cool kids like Sarah Evenson and Calvin Bauer (both former WorkArt interns) generously told me about their experiences, which made it real.

What interested you in it? Why did you decide to participate?

I was interested in the opportunity to do many things simultaneously: travel abroad, fulfill an internship requirement, make international connections, and attend the major art events that happened in Europe this summer. I was also interested in the free-form structure of the Kunstverein internships; I wasn’t required to adhere to a predetermined structure, which was attractive to me.

Jen Neville (middle) with Kunstverein coworkers

Where in Germany did you live?

I lived in Wiesbaden for two months, which is only forty kilometers from Frankfurt. I was able to get familiar with art academies such as Städelschule, where artists like Matias Faldbaaken, Eliza Douglas, Anne Imhof, and Wolfgang Tillmans have roots. I saw various Ründgang exhibitions (open studios) at neighboring academies and I was able to attend multiple lectures, including those that were part of Warren Neidich’s Saas-Fee Summer Institue of art in Berlin . . . so Wiesbaden was a “close-to ...” kind of city.

What exactly is involved in being a WorkArt fellow?

As I mentioned before, the fellowship forms to fit the student. If granted the fellowship, a student is paired with a Kunstverein and is then responsible to coordinate communication and the duration (start and end dates) of the internship. The internships are unpaid, but housing is free, and each student receives a small stipend to help cover travel expenses. WorkArt can B what you want it to B.

Jen Neville (left) in Münster, next to a sculpture by Nairy Baghramian

Can you talk a little more specifically about the jobs or tasks you had at the Nassauische Kunstverein Wiesbaden?

I did a range of things, all of which were generally centered around design and digital making. Assignments included designing and proofing press documents, exhibition handouts, posters, etc; text editing; language translation; artist research; documentation of archival material; Photoshop manipulation of exhibition images; and artist consultations.

What did you enjoy most about WorkArt?

I found it productive to temporarily participate in an institutional art environment that was foreign to me. My distance from familiar context enabled a better understanding of my position within art culture. Distance also allowed for concentrated focus. I was able to see the fourteenth installment of Documenta (an exhibition occurring just once every five years), the Münster Sculpture Project (an exhibition occurring just once every ten years), various Berlin shows and Frankfurt shows, as well as exhibitions in Vienna, Austria. Right now, I'm also showing my own work in a small solo exhibition, which is on view until October fifteenth.

Photo of Berlin, near the KW Institute

What have you learned from being a fellow, and what will you take away to use in your own art practice and/or job?

I began working at Nassauishe Kunsverein Wiesbaden while two Eliza Douglas shows were on view (current hot topic in the art market). The proximity to Eliza Douglas indirectly forged a connection with/awareness of Anne Imhof who is the choreographer and artist of works currently on view at the German Pavillion in the Venice Biennale. I was also able to hang out with Gerrit Frohne-Brinkman (2017 Stipend Fellow at the NKV) and talk with Magnus Andersen, both artists that my work is currently showing alongside. The reason for all of these name-drops is to emphasize and highlight the connections that I was able to make while in Europe, which have inevitably pushed my artistic practice into the conversations of new and different bodies of people! I feel privileged to have been able to participate in this program while simultaneously pursuing independent travel, and I hope that what I took away from the experience can benefit more than just myself, that’s the real-real goal.

Do you have any advice for future students who are interested in WorkArt?

Be confident!