Carmen Gonzalez Fraile began working at the Museum in November of last year as the BMA UAB Curatorial Fellow. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in art history at UAB after moving to Birmingham from Madrid four years ago. In Spain, Carmen received degrees in journalism and photography and worked as a journalist, but her position at the Museum allows her to embrace her passion for art history. She is currently working on her exhibition for Kirklin Clinic that will be installed this summer.
Read along to learn more about Carmen’s interests at the Museum and her upcoming exhibition!
Birmingham Museum of Art: What brought you to Birmingham from Spain?
Carmen Gonzalez Fraile: I came to Birmingham because my husband works for BBVA Compass, and I thought it was a great opportunity to follow my passion for art history. I’ve always been fascinated by art. I love art – everything about art history. I really love it. I wanted to study a master’s in art history, but I wasn’t allowed to do that because of my background as a journalist. In Spain, when you study something, you are stuck. It is not dynamic. So when I came here and saw that it was possible to do that, I was really happy.
BMA: What does a typical day look like for you at the Museum?
CGF: I am working in the photography studio at the Museum, and I’m working on a mini-exhibition in the Kirklin Clinic. I take pictures of the collection, and sometimes I take pictures of some events here at the Museum, and that’s what I do. Mainly photography.
BMA: How would you describe your exhibition?
CGF: I picked small boxes from 18th Century England. When I was receiving Museum training, I accidentally found these little things, and I really love them. Some of them are French and German, but the majority of them are English. What can I say, I love it! They are really small snuff boxes and match boxes. I think they are really interesting because you can infer the type of thinking and life in 18th Century England. And I really like that – to see the history behind the objects. It’s going to be fun, and it’s going to be interesting. This is the first time I will do something like that.
BMA: What is your favorite part about your experience at the Museum?
CGF: Learning. Learning everything. I am curious about everything. I think curiosity drives me, and every day I want to learn something. In curatorial, I’m learning a lot about the boxes and the work that I’m doing particularly. Also, in the photography department, having the opportunity to be so close to the objects in the collection – that is amazing. You feel part of something, and it makes you feel good.
BMA: What is your favorite piece in the collection?
CGF: It is the Joan Mitchell, and I really love that piece. I fell in love the first time that I came to the Museum. I thought it would be a small and very modest Museum, and when I saw that, I was really excited. The colors are amazing – that blue, that orange. The combination was really amazing. And it is a huge piece, as well, so it is very impressive. But it is not up right now, so if I had to choose another that is exhibited now in the Museum, I would say the Canaletto. I really love that piece. I had the same feeling as when I saw the contemporary art room, like “Wow, they have a Canaletto!” There are not many Canalettos in the world.