Meet Eleanor Martin
White Cube Gallery
MA Contemporary Art, London
What is your current position and what are your responsibilities?
I currently work at White Cube in their Curatorial Department. I am the Curatorial Administrator and I sit within the Artist Liaison team. We are the first port of call for artists and tend to be their main point of contact at the Gallery. We help with their career strategy, placing artworks, planning exhibitions, assisting with the fabrication of work, and—most importantly—consigning works to gallery for sale. I specifically provide administrative, research, and curatorial support to two Artist Liaisons who look after a dozen of artists, including Gilbert & George, Theaster Gates, and Christian Marclay. I am also the Administrator for a number of artists at the gallery, which allows me to have direct contact with the artists and their studios. This is an aspect of my role that I found particularly rewarding!
How has your career evolved since you graduated from Sotheby's Institute?
My career to date has been extremely varied post-graduation. This was something I did not anticipate, but it has given me a well-rounded overview of the art world. Immediately after I handed in my thesis, I interned at the public, not-for-profit gallery space, Drawing Room. I then went on to secure a position at Frieze Masters, assisting the Organizer’s Office and the Project Coordinator of the Fair. Shortly after my time at Frieze Masters, I moved on to South London Gallery, where I was the Personal Assistant to the Director and Office Manager of their small team.
Then a big change occurred. The opportunity arose for me to follow a path I had always dreamed of: to work in an animal hospital. I took a full-time position at a veterinary clinic, where I studied, trained, and was subsequently awarded a nursing diploma with distinction.
How did you come to your current position?
Being able to have some time away from the art world made me re-evaluate my next steps. I had the time to mature, to fully understand my skillset, and I knew that my next move had to count. To my surprise, I saw the White Cube role advertised on Arts Jobs and I knew immediately that I had to apply. Working in a veterinary practice for the past year did not deter me. I had gained a thicker skin and knew I could draw upon the many transferable skills. What drew me to the role at White Cube was that it required a combination of strong administrative skills and art historical knowledge, which were key skills I had honed during my time at Sotheby's.
How did your time on the MA program prepare you for what you are doing now? What was your favorite part of the program and what was most relevant to the role you have now?
My favorite aspect of the MA Contemporary Art (MACA) program were the trips we went on and the many museum visits we made. My cohort went on a grand tour of Germany (K21, Museum Ludwig, Kolumba), the north of England (Liverpool Biennial, Ikon Gallery, Nottingham Contemporary), and the Venice Biennale. We were constantly required to give presentations in front of artworks to our peers and to write reviews.
Being able to critically analyze works with confidence, make connections and associations between artists, and write about art has been extremely beneficial to my current role. I regularly have to research artists, write about their works succinctly, and prepare informative documents on the artists that can be disseminated to a large number of different teams at the Gallery. The MACA course thoroughly prepared me for this.