Interview with Charlotte Kinberger: Internship at Whitewall Magazine

Charlotte Kinberger is a sophomore at SLC, studying art history and costume design. Last year she interned at the New York Observer, and this year she’s writing for Whitewall Magazine. Charlotte’s incredibly determination and work ethic are a few of the reasons that I call her one of my closest friends, and I decided to learn more about her current internship through a little interview. Read on! This girl is so inspiring!

HGG: Where do you intern? Can you explain the work environment?

CK: I intern at Whitewall magazine, which is a niche quarterly that focuses on contemporary art, design, and luxury. The work environment is interesting because Whitewall’s staff is really small, and most of the writers are freelance, so I work directly with the Editor in Chief along with one other editorial intern. Otherwise, the rest of the regular staff are marketing and PR, and there are about four of them.

HGG: How did you get your internship?

CK: There was a posting on the NYFA database, which I’d been checking fairly routinely, so I just applied through that. I got to New York a few days before registration started in the Fall, so I interviewed then and started a few weeks later.

HGG: What is a typical day like, as soon as you enter your work place?

CK: It varies day-to-day depending on whether there are press previews to attend, or people to interview. On slow days, I get in around 9:30, make myself a cup of tea in the office kitchen, and then check my email. Usually my editor will have sent me a few things to work on the day before. These can be anywhere from post-event write-ups, to interview transcriptions or even fashion show coverage, it really varies. On more exciting days, I’ll start with a press preview at a museum or gallery. These usually don’t start until 10, so I get to sleep a bit later, and often they’ll feature complementary breakfasts. Last semester I attended and wrote up shows at MoMA, the New Museum, the Cooper Hewitt, Andrea Rosen Gallery and Skarstedt Gallery, among others. If I’ve gone to one of these, I’ll usually stop for lunch before heading back to the office, which is in Soho, so there are a lot of good restaurants around. Then I’ll head back and work on a write-up of what I just saw.

HGG: What are your primary responsibilities?

CK: Because the staff is so small, my primary responsibility is generating content for the website. Usually I’ll write between three to five articles a day, with a transcription or interview thrown in occasionally.

HGG: What have you learned from your internship?

CK: So much. The art world is constantly shifting and changing and there’s so much history I still don’t know as well, so I’m always learning about new artists, curators, architects, and designers. That’s one of the things that’s both really exciting and potentially daunting about what I do, but I love it. I find it really invigorating to constantly mine this never-ending wealth of information, both past and present. I’ve also learned how to go to an event and write on it, which was something I’d never done until last semester. I think that’s the key with journalism, you learn so much by just doing it and continuing to do it.

HGG: Are you interested in pursuing a career in the field that you are interning in? What has your internship taught you about said field? 

CK: I definitely want to be involved in the art world in some capacity. I’d love to continue writing freelance and try my hand at curation. I think I’ve learned a lot from just going out and seeing stuff all the time, seeing how works interact with the space they’re put in, or how they respond to the other works they’re shown with is really interesting.H

HGG: Can you tell me a funny/memorable story from your internship?

CK: Last semester, I was really lucky to cover the Robert Gober retrospective at MoMA. It was my first big press preview, and I was both nervous and excited. About a half hour after it opened, there was a talk held with Gober and the curator, Ann Tempkin. When everyone convened in the gallery I saw Maika Pollack, who I took two classes with last semester, and who coincidentally helped me get my first internship last year at the New York Observer. She was covering the show for the Observer, which was another funny coincidence. It was fun to see her and catch up, and it was surreal to feel like we were there doing the same thing.

HGG: What advice would you give to students looking for similar internships?

CK: Take advantage of the resources we have here at SLC. We’re so lucky to have professors who are not only very connected, but who also genuinely care about us and our careers. Like I said, I got my first internship because Maika offered it to me. I’d taken her photo lecture, and when I came in the Spring to interview for her curating seminar, she mentioned that she’d been talking to her colleagues at the Observer about having a few interns, and that she’d thought of me for the position. I was floored. And these experiences build on each other; I never would have gotten my position at Whitewall without the experience the Observer gave me.

*Check out some of the amazing articles Charlotte has written for Whitewall:

Hannah Gottlieb-Graham is a sophomore studying dance, art history and women's studies. In her spare time she enjoys writing articles for Surface Magazine and College Fashion, cooking vegetarian cuisine, gallery hopping, shooting film and making her own perfume. Her weaknesses are Wes Anderson and good champagne. Insta: @sweetsweetnoir

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