Head Preparator

David Kordansky Gallery

Monday – Friday (full-time, salaried exempt)

David Kordansky Gallery seeks a highly motivated, extremely organized, and collaborative individual to join our team as Head Preparator in Los Angeles. Reporting to the Director, Exhibitions & Operations, the Head Preparator is a critical, cross-departmental role, responsible for leading a range of significant functions of the operations team, including people management, oversight and implementation of all artwork installation and de-installation, assisting in exhibition and art fair planning, as well as overseeing facilities and storage maintenance. This position is a full-time role, Monday through Friday, and will require flexibility for additional hours based on the needs of the gallery. A generous benefits package, which includes a relocation package, is offered.

ABOUT THE GALLERY:

David Kordansky Gallery is one of the most dynamic venues for contemporary art in Los Angeles and in New York, and is internationally regarded as a leading gallery of its generation. Established in 2003, the exhibition program is dedicated to presenting artists’ work with passion and intellectual rigor, and to bringing the utmost care and precision to showcasing artistic visions. The Gallery is committed to presentations that blend scholarship and connoisseurship with equity and inclusion. We are an institution rooted in our hometown of Los Angeles, and in California, even as we embrace cultural activity as a fully global phenomenon.

Maintaining a culture of belonging is important to us—we strive for a workplace where every single team member feels valued, supported, and heard. We believe in the power of creativity and seek opportunities for connection, collaboration, and learning between cultures and communities. We are committed to championing policies and practices that promote diversity, foster cultural equity, and sustain an environment of inclusivity. The Gallery is an equal opportunity employer and makes employment decisions on the basis of merit, qualifications, and abilities. The Gallery does not discriminate, and does not permit discrimination against its employees, interns, volunteers, or applicants. We recognize our strengths lie in the broad range of individuals who contribute their time and talents to our mission, and we pledge to create a safe, accessible, and inclusive place to work.

Responsibilities

The Gallery’s consistent growth, developed in tandem with its artists’ ambitions, occurs through the unique participation and contribution of each employee. We look for colleagues who are the most driven, the most talented, and the most creative. Every member of the Gallery’s team should aim for excellence and ingenuity, surpassing challenges and discovering new possibilities together. We value long-term commitment and loyalty, and in turn provide avenues for career advancement across all departments.

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES:

MANAGEMENT:

  • Oversee, schedule, recruit, and train the Los Angeles based preparator team in the following duties:

o Installation, maintenance, and de-installation of artworks for exhibitions, art fair presentations, photo shoots, and private viewings

o Proper packing of artworks for storage and outgoing shipments

o Proper unpacking of artworks for condition reporting and installation

o Receipt and release of artworks

o Local collection and delivery of artworks

o Proper construction of models for exhibitions and art fair presentations

o Storage maintenance, including, but not limited to, proper labeling, organization, storage, and handling

o General facilities maintenance

  • Mentor and foster growth of preparator team, including conducting regular one-on-one check-ins and offering opportunities for learning, collaboration, and socializing

  • Oversee work hours, following an annual budget; monitor and approve time sheets

  • Maintain a basic understanding of California and federal employment law as relates to non-exempt employees

  • Actively engage in improving people management skills, including research and discussion

ART HANDLING:

  • Lead team in the installation and de-installation of artworks for exhibitions, art fair presentations, photo shoots, and private client viewings at the gallery

  • Lead team in the installation and de-installation of artworks for clients at offsite locations (e.g. domestic settings, storage viewing rooms, corporate offices, etc.)

  • Lead team in the installation, de-installation, and cleaning of artworks and other materials for Owner both at the gallery and at Owner’s home

  • Properly pack and unpack artworks for storage, outgoing shipments, condition reporting, and installation

  • Oversee proper storage procedures for artwork, including labeling, organization, and handling practices

  • Manage offsite projects, viewings, and art fairs, representing the Gallery and maintaining high professional standards for all offsite presentations

  • Maintain familiarity with the operation of installation machinery (e.g. scissor lifts, fork lifts, gantries) and large-scale rigging equipment; research new equipment needed and make recommendations for purchases

EXHIBITIONS & FAIRS:

  • Assist the Director, Exhibitions & Operations in collaborating with the exhibitions department (including Registrar(s), Artist Relations, and Media teams) to establish installation and de-installation timelines, staffing, and supply needs; budget for upcoming projects and research materials

  • Assist with the production of new artwork, as needed

  • Oversee general contractors (e.g. painters, electricians) in collaboration with other departments

  • Coordinate in-house fabrication of exhibition materials, in collaboration with the Registrar, as needed (pedestals, etc.)

  • Maintain organized digital records of installation instructions

Requirements

OPERATIONS:

  • Ensure safety of building, artwork, and people throughout installation, exhibition duration, and de-installation; maintain basic understanding of Cal/OSHA policies and procedures

  • Work with the Operations, Management & Administration, and Sales teams to facilitate the scheduling and planning for client viewings, group exhibition tours, and other private or public events

  • Serve as a resource for operations-related questions and problems as they arise on a daily basis; offer informed solutions; and make independent decisions on behalf of the business

PROPERTY MAINTENANCE:

  • On a daily basis, complete a visual inspection and walk-through of the exhibitions spaces, storage spaces, and the exterior property, assessing for any maintenance needs

  • Oversee purchasing, maintenance, and organization of department’s supply needs

  • Arrange and oversee periodic maintenance/monitoring of facilities vendors / accounts and regular servicing at main gallery; submit payment requests in a timely manner

  • Oversee and direct regular in-house facilities maintenance, including weather preparedness

  • File and organize maintenance receipts, contracts, plans, and materials, in digital and/or physical folders

STORAGE:

  • With Registrar, oversee facilities at all onsite and offsite storage locations

  • Ensure the safety of artwork, including maintaining high standards of artwork storage, packing, and labeling

QUALIFICATIONS:

Our ideal candidate is highly detail-oriented and creative with exceptional organizational skills; an excellent verbal and written communicator; and possesses the ability to work successfully in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. We seek candidates who are extremely self-motivated, responsible, and efficient, and who hold a sincere appreciation for and experience with navigating diverse cultural spaces. In addition:

  • Knowledge of and interest in contemporary art required

  • Minimum two (2) years of experience managing a team of direct reports (at least two people)

  • Minimum three (3) years of experience working in a production or installation role in a sales-driven environment at a contemporary art gallery, auction house, fine art shipping company strongly preferred; experience in production in the film industry, for trade shows, or in advertising welcomed

  • Minimum five (5) years of professional experience working as an art hander, installation technician, and/or preparator preferred

  • Hands-on experience using scissor lifts, forklifts, gantries, and large-scale rigging equipment strongly preferred

  • Prior working relationships with multiple fine art shipping companies, framing studios, and conservators

  • Knowledge of various artwork media and fabrication materials and methods, as well as familiarity with general best practices in art handling and packing procedures

  • Basic knowledge of contemporary art fairs and some experience of related logistics welcomed

  • BA in Art History, BFA in Studio Art, or related field preferred, but consideration is given to candidates with related experience

  • Skills in a Mac-based environment required, including: Google Suite (Gmail, Calendar, Sheets) and Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)

  • Familiarity with databases preferred; specific knowledge of Artlogic or related artwork databases welcomed

  • Physical ability to lift up to 75 pounds and to stand or sit for extended periods of time, with or without accommodation preferred

  • Valid California driver’s license and access to reliable transportation preferred

  • Experience driving a sprinter van or box truck welcomed

  • Fluency in multiple languages welcomed

  • Preference is given to candidates with expert knowledge of global contemporary art, including art of the African Diaspora, Latin America, and Asia

  • BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply

How to Apply

COMPENSATION & BENEFITS:

  • This is a full-time salaried position at five days per week.

  • The pay scale for this position is $90,000 – $110,000 annually.

  • A relocation stipend is available.

Benefits for full-time employees, following a waiting period, include:

  • Premium PPO or HMO medical insurance (fully subsidized, at no cost to employee)

  • Vision insurance (fully subsidized, at no cost to employee)

  • Dental, long-term disability, and voluntary life insurance

  • Access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

  • Paid personal and vacation days (starting at 13 days annually, increased over time)

  • Paid sick time (6 days annually)

  • Paid holidays and floating holidays (10 days annually)

  • Paid gallery closures (typically 8-10 days annually)

  • Paid family leave

  • Participation in a 401k retirement plan (with employer contribution)

  • Staff discounts on gallery publications and merchandise

ADDITIONAL DETAILS:

  • This position is based in Los Angeles, CA.

  • The gallery greatly values the health & safety of its employees, and is following all COVID-19 city, county, and state business guidelines for the pandemic.

  • The work required of this position is fully in-person.

HOW TO APPLY:

Please submit the following via email with the subject line “DKG LA: Head Preparator” to jobs@davidkordanskygallery.com:

  • a cover letter detailing your previous experience

  • a resume

In your application, please note all relevant skills requested in the qualifications above.

BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. Applicants with most, if not all, of the requested qualifications are invited to apply. Submissions including the above items will be prioritized. No phone or walk-in inquiries, please.

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Posted on February 7