A warm welcome to Sarah Murkett, founder of Murk & Co, on the art of recruiting in the art world

by leslierankowfinearts

Sarah Murkett
Founder and President, Murk & Co.
painting by Nancy Hollinghurst

AS THE ART WORLD HAS CHANGED RADICALLY FROM A SMALL IDIOSYNCRATIC COLLECTION OF DEALERS AND ACADEMICS, TALENT SOURCING AND HEADHUNTING IN THE COMMERCIAL AND INSTITUTIONAL WORLDS OF ART PROVIDES A CRUCIAL SERVICE TO THE GLOBAL ART BUSINESS.

THE AREAS OF RECRUITMENT ARE MULTIFOLD, RANGING FROM POSITIONS IN AUCTION HOUSES, GALLERIES, AND MUSEUMS TO BANKS AND INSURANCE COMPANIES TO ARTISTS’ STUDIO MANAGERS AND ART FAIR EXPERTS, FROM INSTALLERS TO REGISTRARS TO PH.Ds. THANKS TO TECHNOLOGY, DATABASES PROVIDE A RECRUITMENT FIRM’S CLIENTS ACCESS TO THE MOST QUALIFIED CANDIDATES IN THE INDUSTRY COUPLED WITH THE EXPERIENCE AND INTUITIVE JUDGMENT OF THE RECRUITER.

Rochester Museum and Science Center

ONE OF THE MOST QUALIFIED RECRUITERS IN THIS NOW COMPETITIVE INDUSTRY WITHIN THE BUSINESS OF ART IS SARAH MURKETT AND HER TEAM. MURK & CO. IS A RECRUITING COMPANY OFFERING EXECUTIVE SEARCH AND CONSULTING SERVICES FOR ART AND CULTURE BUSINESSES. BASED IN NEW YORK, THE FIRM’S FOUNDATIONS ARE EMBEDDED IN THE WORLD’S CULTURAL CAPITAL.

WITH OVER 20-YEARS IN THE ART WORLD, OWNER AND FOUNDER SARAH MURKETT OFFERS HER CLIENTS AND CANDIDATES PERSONALIZED STRATEGIC ADVICE ABOUT STAFFING ACROSS THE FIELD. HER WIDE NETWORK AND DEEP UNDERSTANDING OF THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF THE INDUSTRY PROVIDE SOLUTIONS FOR THE CHALLENGES BUSINESSES FACE IN IDENTIFYING, HIRING AND RETAINING TOP TALENT.

The Bevier Art Gallery at the Rochester Institute of Technology

THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED THAT SARAH, FOUNDER AND OWNER OF MURK & CO., HAS TAKEN THE TIME TO CONTRIBUTE  HER OUTSTANDING EXPERTISE AND EXPERIENCE ON THE ART OF RECRUITING FOR THE ART WORLD.

SARAH, WELCOME TO THE LRFA BLOG AND THANK YOU.

Leslie, thank you so much for inviting me to participate in your blog.

Wendell Castle
Memorial Art Gallery

HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN ART? WERE YOUR PARENTS COLLECTORS OR ARTISTS? WERE YOU EXPOSED TO ART, AT MUSEUMS AND/OR GALLERIES, GROWING UP?

I grew up in Rochester, NY.  My parents and sister are all very creative people with keen style and an affinity for the poetic and beautiful in all its forms.  My dad, now retired, was an engineer, and my mom worked in museums (The Rochester Museum and Science Center) and galleries (The Bevier Gallery at the Rochester Institute of Technology), always bringing me along and enlisting me as her helper.  And no family vacation would be complete without visiting a museum, gallery or historic home.  And even though I did not major in art or art history in college, all my friends were artists and creatives.  I even lived off-campus in a special interest house with a focus on the creative arts called Creative Arts House.

Hera Gallery
Wakefield, Rhode Island

After college I moved to my starter city, Providence, RI and while there I took classes in Art History at Brown and Graphic Design at RISD.  I also started volunteering and working in art spaces most significantly, Hera Gallery in Wakefield, RI, one of the earliest women’s cooperative galleries in the country.  After deciding that I wanted to move to NYC and immerse myself in the art world there the ladies from Hera set me up with an internship at Marlborough Gallery where I worked in the Graphics Department.

The Rainbow Portrait Queen Elizabeth I

WHAT PERIOD OF ART AND ARCHITECTURE DOMINATED YOUR ACADEMIC FOCUS AND WHY?

While I took classes in art here and there, I never had an academic focus.  I am a lover of books and read a lot.  I have an art book library that I have amassed that includes about 1000 titles that I call my graduate education.  My main interest is post-war and contemporary art.  Some recent acquisitions include the Alina Szapocznikow catalogue from the recent Hauser & Wirth show, which I was fortunate enough to be taken on a tour of by the curator Monika Fabijanska, who has worked intimately with the artist’s work. I am also currently obsessed with The Rainbow Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I and so just picked up the recently published “The Elizabethan Image” by Roy Strong to better understand the highly symbolic imagery.  One of my areas of study as an undergrad was feminist philosophy, combined with my time at Hera Gallery, plus a dash of #MeToo, makes Nancy Princenthal’s history, “Unspeakable Acts: Woman, Art, and Sexual Violence in the 1970’s” a must read.

IN OUR NEXT LRFA POST, SARAH MURKETT WILL START TO EXPLORE HER TWENTY-YEAR EXPERIENCE IN THE ART WORLD THAT CULMINATED IN THE CREATION OF HER OWN RECRUITING COMPANY.

PLEASE JOIN US!