In our Summer Q&A series, we profile members of the McNay staff to show a behind-the-scenes look at all the people who make the McNay what it is! Today’s post features Mario Perez, Exhibitions Preparator.
What is your role at the McNay? Walk us through a typical work day in your shoes.
I am an Exhibitions Preparator, also known as an Art Handler. My tasks vary depending on where we are with installing or de-installing the exhibitions throughout the year. Although one of the main things I do is hang great art, my department does everything from unloading the trucks full of crates, unpacking them, laying them out in the galleries, then arranging the shows along with the curator. Only then does the fun in hanging great art begin. Aside from traveling exhibitions that come to us from other institutions, I also help handle and maintain our permanent collection in the Mcnay galleries by installing and de-installing work to meet the curator’s vision and keep the Museum fresh for visitors. In between all this art handling, I might even do some light carpentry, paint and move walls as well as light the museum throughout, which aside from hanging the art, is my main responsibility within the team of three fulltime preparators in the Exhibitions Department.
What do you like to do outside of work? What are your favorite things to do and places to go in San Antonio?
When I first moved to San Antonio in 2003, I immediately purchased a fixer upper home in Southtown. It seems I am forever working on this old house, but I absolutely love working on it and in the yard and garden. I live close to the Mission trail so weekend bike rides have been one of my favorite things to do since I moved here – it never gets old. As far as nightlife, I love my Southtown neighborhood and spend my weekends at local galleries, bars, and restaurants.
What has been your favorite exhibition at the McNay so far? Tell us why.
Miro: The Experience of Seeing. This exhibition came to us from the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid and none of these works had ever been seen in San Antonio. The paintings were massive, as were his brushstrokes. Standing next to them was something else than seeing them in a magazine. The sculptures were things I had never seen before and were out of this world to me! To install we had the Head of Exhibitions from Madrid work with us over the course of a week. I was fortunate to be involved in installing every one of these sculptures, and it was quite an accomplished feeling to have handled them from the truck to the curated exhibition.
What is one thing about the McNay you wish everyone knew?
People walk into the McNay and see wonderful shows without out maybe realizing how many people make this giant machine work. We have a Director that oversees everything and has put together an amazing team from curators with vision, registrars who handle logistics, marketing that gets the word out to the world, education who creates programs for the community, as well as other departments such as development, security and grounds maintenance who are so vital to helping it all come together for the best museum experience possible! It really is a group effort.