After seeing just a few pieces in Madrid-based painter Jeronimo Elespe’s latest show at Eleven Rivington, it won’t come as a surprise to find out that he paints at night. Figures and interiors materialize out of the darkness; here, a staircase seems to magically end in a pool of reflected light, anchored by a sniffing dog. (On the Lower East Side through Dec 20th.)
Jeronimo Elespe, Fine, oil on aluminum, 14.96 x 9.84 inches, 2015.
Advice for Aspiring Art Dealers from Leading Gallerists Part 2
What does it take to become a successful art dealer today? It’s a question that has taken on increased importance in an art market that is changing rapidly due to the proliferation of art fairs, digital technology, rising operating costs and art speculators. Despite the shifting landscape, galleries continue to play a vital role in nurturing artists’ careers and preserving their legacies for posterity. From curating exhibitions, to publishing scholarship, to building long-term relationships with collectors, art dealers remain at the center of art history while it’s still in the making.
Since launching our blog Inside Stories last year, we’ve interviewed over 30 members for our “Gallery Chat” series, in which the ADAA’s distinguished art dealers talked about how and why they first became interested in art and what has kept them motivated through the ups and downs of their careers. One of the most thought-provoking questions we posed has been “What advice would you give an aspiring dealer today?” The answers have been as varied as our membership, which includes relatively young galleries like 11R and Susan Inglett Gallery alongside established powerhouses such as Sperone Westwater, Galerie Lelong and Barbara Krakow Gallery.
For this two-part series, we’ve rounded up their insights for the aspiring dealers who will carry the torch in years to come. Check out part 1 here.
“You have to love being in this business. That’s number one. It’s fascinating but it can be a tough business. But no other occupation lets you enjoy your job as much as this one. It’s pretty cool to be able to spend your days surrounded by art, the artists that make it, and everyone else who enjoys it just as much.”
“You have to learn as much as you can about the subject you’re planning to work with. That means gaining work experience first. You really have to have a basis for what you’re doing. Also, have some business background, including bookkeeping and marketing. To be a player, you’ve got to know how to present yourself and you have to know how to work with the financials.”
“I encourage people to study and understand the artist before making a decision. I have a really large, extensive archive and library of contemporary Chinese art and many scholars and students come to the gallery for research. I like to educate people first.”
“Become a specialist in a given field or artist. There is much pleasure in doing what I have been doing, but it would be easier to specialize in a narrow field. If you’re an acknowledged specialist, nobody can do without you. If you’re not, you could be easily disregarded.”
“Be conscious of how you treat artists. Make sure you’re on the same page with the ones you represent. Do other things in the art world before jumping in—we all worked for dealers for a while before starting our own spaces. It takes time to form relationships with collectors. Think long term.”
“I would advise young people now to live in different places and be exposed to different cultures. When I came to the States, America was the country you wanted to be part of. Now the world has changed. There are other important places and it’s nice to be able to recognize them and what they have to offer. Art is so much an expression of life and life is not just one place or country.”