Mirror Cells with Associate Curator Jane Panetta
Jul 19, 2016

woman talking to teens in front of exhibition wall

YI Arts Careers tour Mirror Cells with Jane Panetta, Associate Curator at the Whitney Museum. Photograph by Camie Manayon

YI Arts Careers met with Jane Panetta, Associate Curator at the Whitney Museum, to discuss her job and Mirror Cells, an exhibition that she co-curated with Associate Curator, Christopher Y. Lew. Panetta gave us advice based on her own experiences as a curator and administrator at the Museum of Modern Art and at the Whitney. We also talked about her life as a graduate student at Hunter College. After the discussion, we walked around Mirror Cells and Panetta explained what each artist brought to the show and how the work created a cohesive exhibition that focused on craftsmanship, fabrication, and personal narrative.

I had walked through Mirror Cells before, but this was a completely different experience. Panetta pointed out details I never would have thought were under the purview of the curator—like the carpeting and the way artworks with electricity were plugged in. A curator’s job includes a lot of different pieces that I wasn’t really aware of before talking to Panetta. Not only do curators put shows together, they also help with the Museum’s collection and acquisitions. Panetta also discussed the art historical aspects of curating a show with emerging artists, and how sometimes their work inadvertently reflects things that came before it. At other times, artists are particularly interested in and influenced by some of their precursors. I’m so incredibly thankful that Youth Insights got to walk through the exhibition with one of its curators. It was really fun, educational, and exciting.

By Anna, YI Participant