CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER, MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART CHICAGO, CHICAGO IL
Susan Chun is a researcher and cultural heritage professional. Her work focuses on publishing; information management and collections aggregation; cultural data analysis and visualization; intellectual property policy and open content initiatives; and advanced search strategies. She has led a number of pioneering multi-institutional research and development projects in the museum and library community including Project Audience, an interdisciplinary collaboration of arts and culture organizations founded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Steve: The Museum Social Tagging Project. She researches, writes, teaches, and lectures regularly on a range of topics. Susan is currently Chief Content Officer at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, where she and her team ‒ the Design, Publishing, and New Media group ‒ tell the museum’s stories in print and digital media. Past positions include work as an editor and publications manager at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Alfred A. Knopf, and the Asia Society, as well as 15 years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As the Met’s first Senior Editor for New Media, she served as editorial advisor for the launch of www.metmuseum.org, helped to plan its award-winning Timeline of Art History, and managed the earliest electronic publications. Later, as General Manager for Collections Information Planning, she was responsible for developing museum strategy on IP, asset management and archiving, digital imaging and licensing, cataloguing, and standards.
WHERE AND HOW DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION IN YOUR WORK?
I am devoted to the idea that culture is redemptive. My work is focused on how to make art and ideas available and appealing to as many people as possible, regardless of location, language, training, or background.
HOW DOES WHERE YOU WERE BORN, GREW UP OR LIVE NOW AFFECT YOUR DESIGN SENSIBILITY OR STYLE?
I was born and raised in Hawaii, and worked for much of my life in New York. Both cities are blenders for people, art, and ideas from around the world. The things I embrace in design are a product of living in places where cultures collide.
I’m fickle. Right now, pink.
FAVORITE TV SHOW?
The Sunday talk shows, especially The McLaughlin Group.
Haruki Murakami’s books, except the last few. All of Ray Carver. I read Don Quixote every couple of years because I identify with Quixote.
Woody Allen’s movies, when he acts; Werner Herzog’s films, when he narrates.
FAVORITE MUSICIANS OR BANDS?
These genres I love almost without discrimination: 70s punk rock, 80s grunge, J-Pop, French chanson. We attend Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts 2-3 times a month in season.
FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA?
Telephone. I’m also a Twitter lurker.
FAVORITE FINE ARTISTS?
I love art that is built around language, so many of my favorite artists make word-based art: Hans Haacke, John Baldessari, Adrian Piper, Bruce Nauman, Marcel Broodthaers, Joseph Kosuth, Xu Bing, Mel Bochner, Jenny Holzer, Carey Young, graffiti artist Stephen Powers (ESPO).
TALENT YOU WISHED YOU POSSESSED?
ADVICE TO A YOUNG DESIGNER JUST STARTING OUT?
Spend as much time reading and writing as designing. These skills will make you a better advocate for your work. Even the best design is useless if you can’t convince someone to produce it.
IF NOT A DESIGNER, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
A MANTRA OR SAYING YOU LIVE BY?