Osmosis reveals artistic lives of NYC Museum guards

(Courtesy Cut+Run)

Every day in New York, thousands of museum guards help protect some of the world’s most acclaimed artists and art. But what most people don’t know is that many of those museum guards are artists themselves. After putting on a full shift guarding the most expensive art in the world, they moonlight in their homes, or in shared studio spaces, trying to break into the art world with their own creativity.

Osmosis is a short documentary that paints a picture of the two sides of these people’s lives and explores how museum guards and artists clash, merge, and feed off of each other in our subjects.

The short, produced by New York-based creative collective Gentle Cowboys, directed by Nick Sokoloff, and edited by Cut+Run’s Stacy Peterson —features real guards/artists from several of New York’s most prominent museums such as the MET, Guggenheim, Noguchi, and the Brooklyn Museum.

The film was shot within the walls of the MET, the Noguchi, and inside these guards/artists’ homes, shared workspaces, basements…and wherever else they make art. Watch below:

“The more we learned about their stories and saw their artistic talent, the more we felt compelled to give them a platform. Featuring them in an exhibition, and creating a film about them, felt like a way to take things full circle and have people look at their art for a Change,” says Lucas Tristão, Creative, Gentle Cowboys.

Osmosis is such a special story to me on a personal level,” notes editor Stacy Peterson. “We each have these different parts of ourselves – who we are at work, who we are at home, how we change in specific spaces, how we express ourselves – and to be able to explore that in film through these amazing individuals is such a unique treat.”

Peterson’s edit plays with the dichotomy between each individual as an artist and as a museum security guard. In the guard world, she employs longer takes, and the action in-frame is quiet and contemplative. The visuals and rhythm embrace the stoic, serious personas the characters possess while guarding these grandiose museums. When switching into artist mode, the film ramps up the energy and enters a more free-form space – fast edits, pops of color – to really dive into the artist’s creative mindset.

“It was exciting and fun to build these two worlds, and then merge them together in the final act of the film,” concludes Peterson. “The creative team at Gentle Cowboys and director, Nick Sokoloff, pushed me to play and let loose in the edit, and I am so proud of the end result.”

Along with the three-minute piece, the collective is also organizing the first-ever art exhibit featuring only museum guards/artists. The show takes place at ArtCake gallery, in Brooklyn, from Nov 10 to Nov 13 and features 15 museum guards/artists from all of New York’s most prominent museums.


CREATIVE: Gentle Cowboys

  • Creative Team: Lucas Tristao, Boris Opacic, Gabriel Sehringer
  • Designer: Kenisha Rullan


  • EP: Thereza Helena
  • Director: Nick Sokoloff

DP: Blake Myers

EDIT: Cut+Run

  • Editor: Stacy Peterson
  • EP: Ellese Shell
  • Assistant Editor: David Soto

SOUND: Halley Sound

  • Original Score: David Bessler
  • Sound Design/Mx: Vinicius Villani


  • Color Producer: Emily Truong
  • Colorist: Connor Bailey


  • Afesha Wilkins
  • Deborah A. Meyer
  • Emilie Lemakis
  • Fabian Berenbaum
  • Joé Ortega
  • Maraya Lopez (aka Berdscarnival)
  • Maria Cabrera Nogales
  • Maura Falfán
  • Shamysia Waterman (aka MUTANT)