Summer Centered: Mack Somers '20 Enters the Art World
The history of art major is exploring New York City’s art market with an internship at Pettit Art Partners.
Mack Somers ’20 is learning about the art world beyond the studio this summer. Funded by the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities, the history of art major is immersing herself in the New York City gallery scene with a self-designed internship at Pettit Art Partners. The art advisory practice specializes in assisting its clients, both individuals and corporations, in the acquisition and arranging of artwork.
“Each day is different,” she said, describing her duties. “I get a message from my supervisor, Lowell Pettit, in the morning, letting me know what we have going on that day. We might be installing a large canvas in a client’s home, taking a client to see a set of prints in the storage of a gallery, or going to assess the condition of a piece coming up at auction.”
As a fly on the wall of a prolific art advisor, a day of work often consists of an exploration of New York’s eclectic range of collections and galleries.
“Sometimes we spend the day hitting a number of galleries, seeing their shows, picking up press releases, and chatting with the gallerists,” said Somers. “I love these fast-paced tours during which I get a ridiculous amount of exposure to different galleries and the artists and works that they show there.”
Somers has also been tasked with an assortment of independent projects. From running the company’s social media accounts and communicating with clients to facilitating an Upper East Side installation, she’s discovering that the effective presentation of art takes a lot more than hanging up a painting with some nails.
Throughout her stint at Pettit Art Partners, Somers has been able to visualize firsthand a potential career trajectory that would allow her to manifest the years of experience that she’s garnered in the classroom.
“Advising is one of the many directions that you can take with a degree in art history, one that I hadn’t considered before I met people in the art business,” she said. “The deep understanding of the history of art which I’ve gained from my academics is essential to thinking and communicating about contemporary art.”
The dialogue which her internship has placed her in with various figures within the art world has likewise given Somers an insider’s view at other potential jobs in the field. So, going forward, she is more than prepared to explore her options.
“Working with Pettit Art Partners is opening up a world of experiences and connections with auction houses, galleries, and museums, as well as a new perspective on the way that they all connect,” she said.
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work.