“The journey of art collecting itself gives the kind of satisfaction and pleasure in life that is hard to find elsewhere.” – Natasha Schlesinger Founder of ArtmuseNY.
As an educator and advisor of art in NYC, Natasha Schlesinger shares her enthusiasm and deep knowledge of the art world with clients of all stages. From galleries to studio visits, to museums and fairs she knows her way around town! We’ve had the priveledge to work with Natasha on several occasions and want to share with you, our readers, her expertise. She recently became curator of the Surrey House in NYC. It seemed like the perfect time to catch up with her. Enjoy!
What drew you to this métier? I have been interested in art and art history since I was 17 years old and took my first art history class in high school. I loved that objects could speak for history and people’s stories from ancient times to the present. I would say it has been a journey of discovery and learning since that time. I have worked in many aspects of the art field from the decorative arts as a specialist at Christie’s to a researcher in the old master paintings field to an educator for a graduate program to my present day company ArtMuse that specializes in educating and consulting clients in all aspects of art.
What is your philosophy on collecting? I believe that first and foremost those interested in collecting need to love what they are buying on a very immediate and personal level. It has to speak to them, to excite them through aesthetics or content or perhaps the artist him or herself.
What is the best way to start collecting? I think the best way to start collecting is to go and see art at museums, at galleries or exhibits. One needs to see as much as possible in order to understand what aspects of art might appeal to them. If there is an art class or tour or a specialist in your area, I would seek them out and acquire a little bit of an education on the art in general.
What is hot right now in NY? In many ways figurative art and art that responds to the great artists of the past has seen a come back here. I feel that many young contemporary artists are working with a glance over their shoulder to the past, learning from and conversing with it. But overall, artists are not grouped into movements or styles per say. Most artists working today work in a variety of media and are have an individualist style and form of expression.
What are three benefits of collecting art and objects? The journey of art collecting itself gives the kind of satisfaction and pleasure in life that is hard to find elsewhere. Art of course does allow a collector to not just own it with some potential monetary benefits, but to live with and enjoy it every day in their own home. Art does offer a potential to invest your money in objects that will retain their significance and value for many years to come and can be passed down to your children and grandchildren.
How does collecting art impact your life? Art will always serve as an educational tool for people of all ages. Through collecting you will inevitably learn about various cultures, personal stories, politics, society and aesthetics.
Tell us the story about when you became the curator for the Surrey House In NY! I came to the Surrey through my capacity as a creator of art experiences but I officially came on board after a successful single artist show we put together with works by Mark Boomershine. After that show, we decided that a collaboration between ArtMuse and the Surrey will expand upon their art collection and engage the hotel in the contemporary art conversation.
What other art events are you involved with in NY? I am continuously creating art events for various organizations and entities such as YPO, the Alzheimer’s foundation, Magnises group among many others. They range from galleries exploration to meeting artists to panel discussions that encourage the sharing and conversation on art and art collecting in general amongst other relevant issues.
How do you work with your clients? And how do you work with those who might not live in NY but are passing through and would like a guided shopping tour. I am an art consultant so I normally charge my clients a set commission percentage on each purchase. It will range depending on the price of the art. I also charge an hourly fee for preparing and taking my clients around the city to various art destinations that would appeal and work for my clients based on their taste, interest and budget.
Where are the best places to buy art? I think that the best way to buy art is through reputable dealers and galleries . One then develops solid relationships and trust with them. I do feel that going to the art fairs is an amazing way to learn about the art field in general and to see more galleries and more artists in a day than one can usually see in several trips. I don’t think it’s necessarily the best way to buy while rushed at the fairs, but it is a great way to see more.
What are the most important art fairs to visit in NY? Do you offer tours around these fairs? I do provide tours for the art fairs in NY. The next important art fairs opening up in the spring are the Armory Show in March, with additional smaller satellite fairs happening simultaneously like Pulse, the AIPAD fair in April and the Frieze Art Fair in May.
What’s your most important advice for new clients/collectors? Establish a budget that you would like to work with, learn as much as you can what it is that you like in the art field and definitely consult a specialist to guide you through the process. I promise it will be worth your while and will save you time, money and aggravation.
Natasha has a great website Artmuse that tells readers about upcoming art events in NYC and includes all the information about her advisory services and tours.
We encourage you to take one of her tours on your next trip to NY!