Walker museum guard featured in the New York Times

Walker museum guard featured in the New York Times
Photo by Cameron Wittig

The position of museum guard is a necessary, though sometimes thankless job. Folks who take on the task must often face boredom, irritating sound installations, and museum-goers who want to mess with work on display.

The New York Times recently did a piece exploring the ins and outs of the career, interviewing a handful of folks working in the field at locations across the nation. One of the people profiled is Todd Balthazor, an employee at Walker Art Center.

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In the blurb, he discusses how he breaks up the monotony by playing memory games or doing yoga stretches. He also riffs on one particularly annoying sonic piece of work:

... he bemoans having to guard "Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja, Nee Nee Nee Nee Nee," an audio installation by the German artist Joseph Beuys. "It's an 11-minute loop of him just going, 'Ja, ja, ja, nee, nee, nee.' You can't even think, unfortunately, when you're next to that," he said. "And then you had to stand right next to the speakers because they didn't want people to actually poke at it with pencils."

Balthazor isn't new to sharing his trials, tribulations, and funny thoughts on being a museum guard. He frequently updates his autobiographical comic strip, It Is What It Is, with funny anectdotes and bits,  housed on the Walker's official site.

You can read the article -- and check out Balthazor enthusiastically striking a yoga pose -- here.

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