You've gotten to know Ann, Brent, Donna and Jennifer- let's get to know more members of the merchandising team. Say hello to Anne, Ellie and Giulia!
Q. Tell us a little about each of your rolls in Merchandising.
Anne [Associate Merchandise Buyer/Product Developer- Home Furnishings, Jewelry & Textiles] Assisting in the sourcing of jewelry, textiles and home furnishings for a diverse group of discriminating customers through multiple channels is the culmination of what I do. Producing a unique, vibrant and cohesive seasonal assortment of product requires a great deal of hard work, administration and determination.
Ellie [Assistant to the Buyer- Paper Division] I assist with paper development projects while maintaining relationships with vendors, framers, printers, and independent artists. Another large portion of my job is researching artists and works of art for reproductions.
Giulia [Associate Merchandise Buyer- Books] Essentially my job is to maintain the book stock for both the modern wing and main shop of the museum, with some degree of new title addition.
Q. What do you feel you bring to the table that is unique to you and your personality?
Anne- My creativity and my fun, whimsical approach to both trade product sourcing and development.
Ellie- I’ve been called the Punky Brewster of the office. I’m creative with an art and art history background.
Giulia- I feel that my best asset is my omnivorous interest in tangential cultural and non-traditional art forms. This allows me to select for the wide spectrum of tastes and interests of our audience. Literally, my goal is to integrate the more traditional and fine art forms of The Art Institute into the context of contemporary culture so that the seemingly disparate parts become a whole palette- a more complete perspective.
Q. What is your favorite part of the job?
Anne- Travel to markets to meet with vendors and artisans face to face is one of the most engaging parts of my job. In addition, I love participating in development projects where imagination, recontextualization and thinking outside-the-box are imperative to presenting our customers with a novel product assortment.
Ellie- My favorite aspect of my job is researching artwork for our fall reproductions. I go through the AIC archives to find pieces I think our customer will love and work well in their homes.
Giulia- Seeing and investigating the new season of titles from each publisher and meeting with their representatives, many of whom have become good friends.
Q. What is your favorite piece in the Art Institute's collection?
Anne- Paul Klee’s Fleeing Ghost, c. 1929. I love the way in which Klee’s work destabilizes our complacency with seeing and knowing.
Ellie- I don’t think I could choose one favorite piece from AIC’s collection but the first thing that comes to mind is Alexander Calder, Flying Dragon. It reminds me of sitting in McCormick garden during the summer.
Giulia- The art that stands the test of time for me is minimalist and abstract, as I never tire of re-engaging with it because the context of my relationship to it is forever evolving. In complete contradiction to this, my favorite piece in the collection is a small 12th century Korean ceramic water-bird sitting at the entrance to the Alsdorf Galleries. It is an entirely fanciful giant bird with raised wings, glazed in a muted blue and conveying some sort of high official with a smile.
Q. What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago?
Anne- It’s too difficult to choose just one! Gallery openings, concerts and yoga in the winter months; music festivals, patio brunches and jogging along our lovely lakefront paths during more hospitable weather.
Ellie- My favorite Chicago activities are going to art shows, trying new restaurants, concerts, and taking my dog to the dog beach.
Giulia- Sit by the lake when daylight is fading.
Q. What is the soundtrack of your life?
Anne- I considered making a joke here but currently I can’t get enough of Clark’s eponymous new album. It is electronic music at its best: dynamic, unpredictable, eclectic, and technically subversive.
Ellie- The soundtrack of my life would be extremely eclectic. A little bit of everything from The Rolling Stones, Sylvan Esso to Kendrick Lamar.
Giulia- It changes radically from day to day- but probably the undercurrent has always been early to mid-20th century jazz and the American songbook.