What is the most difficult part about curation – both in the art world and more broadly?
I grew up with a house filled with art. Art was everywhere – a Picasso print next to a painting by a friend of my parents, a Calder mobile over family photos, with some interesting Mies Van der Rohe chairs to look at as well as sit on. Looking at art everyday of my childhood and experiencing what it was like to live with a collection, you begin to realize why you may love some works, and not others, and how time can change your opinions of a work.
When curating for museums, the art is there to illuminate different facets of an idea; when curating for collectors, the art is there to reflect them, as the ideas are the thread that will go through the works. It takes a lot of looking at works and speaking to my clients to see what they like, to figure out what sort of story their collection will tell. Some have a very specific direction they want their collection to go in and others acquire works piece-by-piece. When it is all installed I almost always find there ends up being some underlying aspect that holds the works together.
What is the most important attribute you look for when surveying new art?
I make sure the artist has a specific point of view that carries throughout their work. Also for most of the collectors I work with, they want to love the work but I always keep in mind that not only the artistic quality, but the monetary value are important and often interwoven. Art is not rational. If you love it, you love it. You’ll have that feeling that you want it and you don’t want anyone else to have it. That being said, you don’t want to spend your money unwisely.
How do you define quality – and how do you know once you’ve found it?
Quality is just another word for consistency. Artists that continue to surprise and create engaging works are usually making something that has that mysterious element.
The Rain Room has been a sensational hit at MoMa. What do you find most exciting about the intersection of technology and art?
For about a year and a half I worked with Artis, a non-profit organization that supports and promotes contemporary artists from Israel internationally. While I worked with Artis, I had the great pleasure of meeting Ofri Canaani, another artist that has an innovative use of technology. Canaani’s work, The Sota Project was shown at the USC Fisher gallery last year. It is an immersive, multilayered video installation that reenacts a controversial text from the Talmud. In this piece, the view is surrounded by room-sized moving panoramas and is completely enveloped by this enigmatic and disturbing ancient story. Video has become more of a sculptural medium, something the viewer can be drawn into and quite literally be immersed in.
In what ways are artists using technology to create truly innovative works of art that haven’t been seen before?
I think one artist using technology in a truly innovative way is Jennifer Steinkamp. Steinkamp uses video projection to transform nature into mesmerizing environments. Even though much of her imagery stems from familiar objects in nature, these object are animated, performing dances, marking the passage of time, telling the story of life and death.
What sort of online curation sites, RSS feeds, blogs, or digital tools would you recommend to the art collector who’s just starting out?
There are so many wonderful website, blogs and arts writers out there it is hard to know where to start. Also, auction house websites are a great resource. And remem- ber to look at the websites of your local MFA programs. Students sometimes post their works online – get on the e-mail list for the MFA exhibitions.
Who are your favorite artists of the moment?
There are so many great artists it’s hard to choose, but Julie Mehretu’s last show at Marian Goodman was incredible and the current James Turrell exhibition at LACMA is sublime.
If money were no object, what single piece of art would you acquire?
For me it is hands down Jasper Johns’ White Flag. While Johns has painted many flags, this was his first monochrome flag, and its waxy encaustic surface, although just white, is a rich display of textures and surfaces. Like many great works, it has layers and layers of meaning to unpack, but it also would look wonderful on any wall. It is simply spectacular.
Andrea Feldman Falcione is a Los Angeles based art advisor who works with clients internationally. A graduate of Phillips Academy Andover and Brown University, Feldman Falcione worked at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy and the Museum of Modern Art in New York for nine years, prior to her move to the west coast. Before forging out on her own, Feldman Falcione worked with collectors Michael Ovitz and Eli Broad in building their exceptional 20th/21st century collections.