Working on putting together the upcoming MFA show has been an investment of time, attention, and energy for all the participating artists as well as the Sullivan Gallery staff and Graduate Curatorial Assistants. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to fully explain what goes into putting together such a large show. In a February 1984 column, Harper’s Magazine’s editor Lewis Lapham explained that the Harper’s Index was designed “to give the reader a concrete sense of the world’s complexity, beauty, contradiction and size.” Today he describes the Index as a “single page of numbers that measure, in one way or another, the drifting tide of events.” Taking inspiration from the monthly Harper’s Index, I’ve compiled a collection of data that only skims the surface of the work it takes to curate SAIC’s spring MFA Show.



MFA Show Index

Number of artists participating in the Spring 2016 MFA Show : 119

Number of Graduate Curatorial Assistants (GCA): 12

Percentage of GCA’s who are graduating in the spring: 75

Number of GCA’s in the Art History, Theory, and Criticism department: 5

Number of GCAs in the Arts Administration and Policy department: 3

Number of GCAs in the Dual Art History, Theory and Criticism and Arts Administration and Policy track: 3

Number of GCAs in the Art Education department: 1

Number of Guest Curators: 3

Average number of emails per artist this GCA has sent and received: 29.7

Number of emails sent and received within Curatoral Team Irene Hofmann: 89

Number of bagels and muffins provided to the GCA’s during floor planning meetings: 64

Ounces of coffee: 576

Number of floor plan drafts proposed: 8

Approximate number of stress dreams that have involved the gallery space: 7

Variation, in inches, of the wall height throughout the gallery space: 12