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Day Jobs

Day Jobs

March 6–July 21, 2024

An image of the front and back of a pink pants, shirt, tie, and the front of a police cap. The shirt has a legend on the back that reads Security by Julia Uniforms.

Julia Scher, Security by Julia Uniforms, 1998. Two uniforms with embroidery, installation dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist, Ortuzar Projects, New York and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul. Photo © Jörg von Bruchhausen

Pigott Family Gallery (142)
Freidenrich Family Gallery (221)
Ruth Levison Halperin Gallery (211)
Lynn Krywick Gibbons Gallery (210)


This exhibition examines the overlooked impact of day jobs on the visual arts. Success for artists is often measured by their ability to quit a day job and focus full time on their practice. Yet, these jobs can often spur creative growth by providing artists with new materials and methods, hands-on knowledge of a specific industry that becomes an area of artistic investigation, or a predictable paycheck and structure that enable unpredictable ideas. First presented at the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas in Austin in 2023, the exhibition now features a larger selection of works by California-based artists such as Margaret Kilgallen, Jay Lynn Gomez, Barbara Kruger, Ahree Lee, Jim Campbell, Narsiso Martinez, and Sandy Rodriguez, and is comprised of more than 90 works by 36 established and emerging artists based in the United States.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with commissioned essays and interviews from 24 pioneering artists such as Larry Bell, Mark Bradford, Tishan Hsu, Howardena Pindell, and Julia Scher, who offer first-hand accounts of how their day jobs—as a frame shop technician, hair stylist, word processor, museum employee, and security systems installer, respectively—altered their artistic trajectories in surprisingly profound ways.

By examining the impact of day jobs on artists, the exhibition seeks to demystify artistic production and overturn the romanticized concept of the artist sequestered in their studio, waiting for inspiration to strike. Conceived as a corrective to traditional art historical narratives, Day Jobs encourages us to more openly acknowledge the precarious and generative ways that economic and creative pursuits are intertwined.


Day Jobs is curated by Veronica Roberts, John and Jill Freidenrich Director, Cantor Arts Center, with Jorge Sibaja, curatorial assistant, Cantor. The exhibition was organized by the Blanton Museum of Art and has been expanded at the Cantor.
We gratefully acknowledge lead support for Day Jobs provided by Pamela and David Hornik. Generous support is provided by Hilary Ley Jager and Edwin Jager, and Anonymous. Additional support is provided by the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, and Anthony Meier Jr. and Celeste Meier.
Sustained support generously provided by the Halperin Exhibitions Fund and The Lynn Krywick Gibbons Gallery Exhibitions Fund at the Cantor Arts Center.

Upcoming/Past Programs

Day Jobs: Panel on Service & CareSun., Mar. 3, 2024, 1:30 p.m. Cantor Auditorium Artists represented in Day Jobs discuss the relationship between care and service and how their creative practices have been shaped by their labor as caregivers or service workers.
Registration link coming soon.

Day Jobs: Sandy Rodriguez Artist Talk Thurs., Apr. 11, 2024, 6:00 p.m. Cantor Auditorium Through research of Mexican and pre-Columbian pigments and materials used to make paintings, artist Sandy Rodriguez shares the breadth of her work at the intersection of history, social memory, and contemporary politics.
Registration link coming soon.


In the News

Some links may require payment to view

Press from Day Jobs (Feb. 19 – Jul. 23, 2023) at the Blanton Museum of Art:


A major catalogue will function both as an essential reader for the exhibition and as a standalone compilation of stories by many of the country’s most compelling artists, detailing the impact of their day jobs in their own words. Among the 24 artists who contributed interviews and essays to the books include Larry Bell, Genesis Belanger, Sara Bennett, Mark Bradford, Violette Bule, Jim Campbell, Lenka Clayton, Marsha Cottrell, Jeffrey Gibson, Jay Lynn Gomez, Tishan Hsu, Tom Kiefer, Ahree Lee, Nate Lewis, Robert Mangold, Narsiso Martinez, Allan McCollum, Virginia L. Montgomery, Ragen Moss, Howardena Pindell, Manuel A. Rodríguez Delgado, Sandy Rodriguez, Frank Stella, and Julia Scher.

Published by Santa Fe-based Radius Books, over 300 copies of the catalogue will be distributed to community art centers and public libraries across the country via their Donation Program—further enhancing the educational reach of Day Jobs and its core ethos about how to better support creative practices. The catalogue is edited by Roberts; Jorge Sibaja, curatorial assistant, Cantor Arts Center; and Lynne Maphies, former curatorial assistant, Blanton Museum of Art. Other contributors include Francesca Balboni, Sarah C. Bancroft, Meg Burns, Jenny Dally, Lucy R. Lippard, Aja Mujinga Sherrard, Kenta Murakami, and Rebekah Rutkoff.

Coming Soon




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The Cantor is open to the public, Wednesdays–Sundays 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. We’re always free. Advance registration is not required, but it helps us plan if we know who's coming.

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The Cantor Arts Center is located at the intersection of Museum Way and Lomita Drive in the heart of the arts district on the Stanford campus. The Cantor faces the Bing Concert Hall across Palm Drive, northwest of The Oval and the Main Quad.

328 Lomita Drive at Museum Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5060

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