Art & Development

A few observations of the New York Art World

“You can charge that!?!”
On the NY art market, or as NB pointed out, art mark-up. It could not be more different from the non-profit, alternative art world in the Bay Area that I am most familiar with.

Art auctions = deals and flat-out steals.

At a recent auction I attended, the starting prices were predictably much higher than those typically found in auctions for SF non-profits. At the same time, I thought that people made out like bandits. While there is a bigger pool of collectors here, there are also lots more galleries competing for their attentions. Even big names, great works, steep discounts and the NY collector base can not guarantee sales.

Some gallerists have always been gallerists.
Gallery lineages are alive. They aren’t lost artifacts from the Leo Castelli-era. Assistants who have worked for big-time galleries still open their own shops. The Bay Area seems like it might have a small demographic like that (akin to the tiny percentage of high-society old money in San Francisco), but my sense was that gallery owners often had alternative income streams, or previous non-art careers.

Curators can be art-slaves too.
I’m pleasantly surprised to share that, in my short time here in NY, I’ve worked with a few curators are super down-to-earth and don’t think twice to do install or preparator work. This is reassuring because it speaks to teamwork and efficacy over rigid hierarchy. Proof once again that modest expectations can yield pleasant surprises.

5. Curatorial Master’s programs are OK.
There are a few CCA Curatorial Practice alumni out here, and they all seem to be engaged in interesting, rewarding work. Note the word work, connoting being paid actual money. I’ve heard people question curatorial master’s programs, but NY shows at institutions need curators, and that the curators from CCA have interesting perspectives and they know how to work.


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