‘Worst one ever’: ‘Art world family’ sparks backlash with personal assistant job ad
A job listing for a personal assistant to an unnamed “art world family” in New York City has been dubbed as possibly the “worst art job ever”.
The ad, which was posted last week as an anonymous listing to the nonprofit New York Foundation for the Arts, sought for an “executive/personal assistant” to an “art world family” with the ability to juggle family travel bookings, schedule appointments, manage dogs, and look after the couple’s four-year-old child.
According to the job posting, which has since been taken down, the “ideal” candidate must be dedicated to a simple goal: “make life easier for the couple in every way possible.”
The menial position was first spotted by art writer and curator Emily Colucci last week, when she posted it to the blog she co-founded, called Filthy Dreams, under the title, “I Found It: The Worst Art Job Listing Ever Created”.
The “nightmarish” job listing caught Colucci’s attention because of its “extensive” list of demanding tasks, despite seeking an applicant with a four-year degree in fine arts or administration and only paying a “measly” $65,000 to $95,000 a year salary.
Some of these responsibilities include liaising with “external high-end travel vendors” to coordinate travel arrangements, serving as the central point of communication to household staff, picking up clothing from “high-end” stores, maintaining the couple’s rooftop garden, and making restaurant reservations. The job listing also asked applicants to manage their “dog systems” – such as potty breaks, food, day care, and dog walkers – which Colucci aptly noted was simply how a “person in touch with reality” would say to take care of a dog.
Perhaps what stuck out the most about the “worst art job listing ever” is the anonymous “art world family” that was seeking such an unattainable assistant. At first glance, Colucci thought “Art World Family” was the name for some sort of nonprofit for families in the art world, or a child-care service.
Rather, it was exactly as it sounded – a description used by a family “with a lot of money who exists on the periphery of the art world”. However, the anonymous family instead drew comparisons to fictional wealthy tyrants, like the Roys in Succession, Moira Rose in Schitt’s Creek, and Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada.
Even art industry professionals were shocked by the extensive job listing, like painter Emily Mae Smith who told The New York Times she found the ad “completely bonkers.”
“We want you to be a personal assistant, we want you to be an executive assistant, but we also want you to do all kinds of liaising with our staff, which sounds to me like three jobs,” Smith said. “Oh, and babysitting?”
However, this job posting may be more commonplace in the art world than some might think. Speaking to The Independent, Colucci explained how a job listing this is just one of the many low-paying jobs in the creative industry.
“I think a lot of jobs are probably like this, but nobody puts it out there in this much detail,” she tells us. “It was very, very detailed and just had some very quirky language, like managing dog systems? Of course, there’s other listings that are for personal assistants, executive assistants, but usually it’s more generic.
“Here, there will be no surprise about what you’re supposed to do. It’s all right there. You’re going to be doing very detailed stuff, like organising closet systems.”
While art lovers in the comments section of Colucci’s blog post have made their guesses as to who the art world family might be, Colucci maintained that it could be anyone.
“The one thing that’s so interesting about it is it could be a lot of big artists,” she said. “I think this kind of, expecting a whole lot of fairly low-paying jobs and expecting above and beyond what a job like that would normally entail, kind of pervades a lot of the creative industries.”
The job listing has since been taken down, but the NYFA has yet to reveal the identity of the anonymous art world family.
The Independent has contacted the NYFA for comment.