Day Jobs

Marsha Cottrell | Cantor Arts Center

This exhibition examines the overlooked impact of day jobs on the visual arts. Success for artists is often measured by their ability to quit a day job and focus full time on their practice. Yet, these jobs can often spur creative growth by providing artists with new materials and methods, hands-on knowledge of a specific industry that becomes an area of artistic investigation, or a predictable paycheck and structure that enable unpredictable ideas. First presented at the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas in Austin in 2023, the exhibition now features a larger selection of works by California-based artists such as Margaret Kilgallen, Jay Lynn Gomez, Barbara Kruger, Ahree Lee, Jim Campbell, Narsiso Martinez, and Sandy Rodriguez, and is comprised of more than 90 works by 36 established and emerging artists based in the United States.


The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with commissioned essays and interviews from 24 pioneering artists such as Larry Bell, Mark Bradford, Tishan Hsu, Howardena Pindell, and Julia Scher, who offer first-hand accounts of how their day jobs—as a frame shop technician, hair stylist, word processor, museum employee, and security systems installer, respectively—altered their artistic trajectories in surprisingly profound ways.


By examining the impact of day jobs on artists, the exhibition seeks to demystify artistic production and overturn the romanticized concept of the artist sequestered in their studio, waiting for inspiration to strike. Conceived as a corrective to traditional art historical narratives, Day Jobs encourages us to more openly acknowledge the precarious and generative ways that economic and creative pursuits are intertwined.


The exhibition was organized by the Blanton Museum of Art and has been expanded at the Cantor.
March 6, 2024
of 20