Episode 141 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Corporate Culture

Here is another excerpt from an interview with emergetrends.com.

What were some of the criteria you considered when crafting not just the programming but the overall feel of this highly unconventional marketing program with Starbucks?

The fact that brands are participating in contemporary culture is now a given. Starbucks produces and distributes movies, music, books.

Even Bob Dylan recently released albums through Here Music, Starbucks’s music label. Starbucks, like other brands, is changing the dynamics of contemporary culture, which is why I came up with the slanted gallery installation downstairs, where all the angles of the walls were off, as a literal reaction to this phenomenon.

Corporate Culture

You can see he can speak to corporate culture, and that is one of his talents. He talks about “brands” being involved with contemporary culture and how he can expand on that. He has been able to connect with a culture he understands. When he writes to them, he is talking about why they are already in this market and how he understands their interests. This is subtle in some ways, but very important. I write in other parts of this book about how to meet people that can help you and to find out what they want to hear or what their interests are that you are part of. It is like what the private banker told me, “You must find out what the person or institution wants.” It is a rule of thumb for many business people. If you are trying to make a new relationship, there has to be something in it for the person you are trying to meet! In the case of the curator/designer I am mentioning here, he has the ability to talk the corporate language that gets him in the door. This is something that you can acquire fairly easily. First, if you understand the rules of the game, companies are not looking to sponsor art exhibits usually; they are looking for innovative ways to make more money and have a higher public profile.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.


Episode 60 – The Art World Demystified by Brainard Carey / Sue Stoffel cont’d / Building a Collection

Sue Stoffel interview continued.

Carey: So what happened after that?

Stoffel: I went back to school. That was an important catalyst. I went back to Columbia and got my masters in arts administration. I figured that I have been doing that for so long that it was time to put the diploma behind it. So my mentor at Columbia, Joan Jeffri was the founder of Arts Administration program there, put me under her wing and kind of professionalized all this intuitive knowledge and experience that I had and with that I was able to go to work and establish my professional credentials in New York. And that was a major moment as well.

Carey: So let’s talk a little bit about your professional credentials, before that you didn’t have any degrees in Arts Administration or the Arts?

Stoffel: Not in Art Administration. I have a couple of degrees in arts history. I do have huge arts historical background but not in Arts Administration which is different because you’re working with funders, with granters, with foundations, government, sponsorships, boards, budgets, very different than just having an art history background.

Carey: Right and since then what’s been happening?

Stoffel: 2005 I started a contemporary photography collection for a law firm in New York. I was given a grant for a mandate to work with 6 floors of their New York offices putting up contemporary photography which was very rewarding. I loved every minute of it, it was a great acquisition committee of lawyers who understood the value of putting art in their conference rooms and in their hallways and in their public spaces.

And then 2008 hit and I watched my 2009 budget disappear. The whole world changed when Lehman Brothers fell. I partnered with a woman to start a new business and it’s still going on. I do collections management for collectors who would like to acquire contemporary art and I take care of other people’s collection as well.        

Carey: And when you build collection, maybe we can talk a little bit how a collection is built.

Stoffel: The art market has changed so dramatically. I think you probably know that just from reading the papers this week. Auctions are selling…

Carey: Right, it hit the billion mark this week in just one art auction.

Stoffel: Yes, the billion mark is only one auction house alone. Collecting contemporary art is a very long process and I’ve worked with clients for maybe even a year before they even write their first check.

And so there’s a huge learning curve involved in understanding of what artists are doing, why they’re doing it and why contemporary art looks like it does today. And so it’s very hands-on and I love working with people who don’t know a lot about contemporary art because I watch their eyes brighten up and they kind of sort to get it after a while that it’s just not garbage or junk or mishmash or “my kids could do that.”  The understanding that there is a process and a talent. Something I call the mind, heart, hand continuum, where you need to see the hand of the artist, and the heart of the artist in the final product and understand what his mind is thinking while he’s creating. And that takes time and dialogue and conversation and looking at a lot of art and going to galleries and museum shows and reading and following what’s going on in the world. And of course working with artists as well. I go to studio visits, I start to figure out what they’re doing and it’s very much a labor of love because I put into practice what I do for myself therefore I can speak to it in a way that appeals to people who are trying to start a collection.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here.