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New Museum internship


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I just got accepted into a curatorial internship at the New Museum. I'm not sure if I should accept, given that it's an unpaid internship and I'm moving from Mexico City to NY. My family is willing to make a huge sacrifice to send me to NY (the US dollar – Mexican Peso situation is just over the top), but I'm not sure if my time at the New Museum will be worth all of the effort. 

I was told by the curatorial assistant that my duties would include researching artists for upcoming exhibitions but also mailing, photocopying etc. I just want to know if interning at the New Museum is, at the end, worth the sacrifice that my parents will make to send me to NY, and pay for my rent etc. 

Any insights about the work of a former intern at the New Museum will be of help! 


Edited by nfefe
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What is your educational background? What are your future goals? I feel that if I were in your situation I wouldn't take it. The unpaid thing and living in NY is a tremendously difficult thing to do. Even with family support it is basically unmanageable. I don't want to be negative at all because honestly if you really want to, it can be done and if it is super prestigious then I understand the allure here. What are your other options? 


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Thanks for the reply! So I just finished an undergraduate degree in Art History and one of my goals at the moment is to move out the city to pursue an internship abroad. I applied to the New Museum mainly because of its curatorial staff – I think going there is a great opportunity to build professional networks. 

I have a second internship option at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, which I accepted, but it begins until May. I am excited to move to Germany, since my interests focus on modern & contemporary German art. 

You've heard about the curatorial internships at the New Museum? 

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I can't imagine living as an unpaid intern in NYC. Even surviving when making minimum wage it difficult. There are lots of museums that offer paid internships in the city (the Met, MoMA and now the Whitney etc. ). If you'd be coming from abroad (which means more than 1,000$ for a work visa at least on top of the cost of living in nyc), it may be worth waiting until you get one of those...

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Hi nfefe

I worked as a curatorial intern at the new museum for a semester. My advice: don't uproot your life for this internship. It is unpaid (you aren't treated the same as the paid employees there), it is not in a very "hands-on" environment (no permanent collection, the curators will have you do research but won't include you in discussions, meetings, etc.), and you will be given smaller, sometimes menial tasks unless you have extensive experience already in some sort of curatorial or contemporary art field-- in which case you probably shouldn't be taking an unpaid position. While it was eye-opening to see all the work that goes into museum exhibitions, I felt like I was not a super valuable member of the team. All of that being said, I'm totally glad I did it! But I also lived in New York already and have a paying part-time job here. Unless you're lucky enough to not have to worry about finances, I'd say you should decline. Hope this is helpful? Feel free to message me privately!


(EDIT: wrote assistant instead of intern at first-- to clarify I was an unpaid intern, the assistants are paid)

Edited by heloise
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