New Hire: Philip Leers
Behind the Scenes /
What is your official title, and what are some of your general responsibilities?
My official title is Senior Research Associate for the Time-Based Media Collection, which is a roundabout way of saying that I’m an archivist working with the museum’s film and video holdings. The collection is in need of organization, and it will be my responsibility to research and catalog each work, assess their physical condition, and ultimately plan for the preservation and long-term storage of these significant materials.
What were you doing before joining us at CMA?
I was living in Los Angeles, earning my Master’s Degree in Moving Image Archive Studies from UCLA and putting in time at the Getty Research Institute and a film preservation lab called Film Technology. Prior to that, I received an MA in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto, during which time I interned at Vtape, a video art archive. Prior to that, I lived in Chicago for seven years, four as a student at the University of Chicago, and three as an architect at Studio Gang Architects. And prior to that, I was a proud Central Catholic Viking and an intern in the Warhol Museum Archives, right here in my hometown of Pittsburgh.
What’s your favorite exhibition that you saw this past year (at any museum/event)?
That’s a tough one, mainly because I spent the last year so busy with school that I scarcely left the house. I thought MOMA’s Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects exhibit was fantastic, and I loved their New Photography 2011, though I’m a bit biased because my brother curated that one. I was also very impressed by LA MOCA’s staggering Art in the Streets, and the Paul Thek retrospective, which I missed at the Carnegie but caught at the Hammer Museum in LA. Hopefully this makes me sound more cultured than I really am.
If you could steal one artwork from our collection, what would it be?
I’m about to move into a new apartment, so to answer this question, I hit the Ailsa Mellon Bruce Galleries and perused the furniture like I was at Ikea. I settled on Sam Maloof’s beautiful Double Rocking Chair (1996), a triumph of American woodworking and a welcome addition to my living room. I foresee a lot of tandem rocking in my future.
Sam Maloof, Double rocking chair, 1996, fiddleback maple and ebony, Promised Gift of Deena and Jerome Kaplan. Photo: Tom Little
Describe Pittsburgh in five words or less.
It’s a great city to