As a contemporary art Specialist at Artsy, Elena Soboleva works with collectors, manages art fair sales, and develops curatorial programming. Follow: @elenasoboleva
As a Specialist at Artsy, you’re exposed to a vast amount of artwork. How does it feel to turn around an article like 9 Emerging Artists You Should Buy at Art Brussels? How do you decide who is relevant or what your preferences are under the public eye?
Sharing my opinion is a process of understanding my own taste. By having to distill ideas and commit to them, it forces me to take a stand and resist the transience of the art world. My decisions are based on my own instincts and intuition while determining how the works fit into a larger art historical narrative. The artists are often young so there is limited writing on their practice. Their vision and personality are key.
What are your first impressions of the Art Brussels contemporary art fair? Can you describe your typical day at the fair?
Art Brussels is known as a high quality fair that is great for discovering new talent. Belgium boasts the highest number of art collectors per capita and major galleries like Gladstone and Almine Rech have outposts there. It’s certainly no coincidence the Independent Show is opening an edition there in Spring 2016.
For this year’s fair, I will be curating the #ArtsyTakeover, a project series in which Artsy invites contemporary artists to reimagine onsite spaces at art fairs. The installation will pair Betty Tompkins and Lucas Jardin, two artists whose work I greatly admire. Though from different generations and places (New York and Brussels, respectively), they both create paintings which address themes of appropriation, censorship, and how images induce desire.
Besides the fair, which exhibitions are worth visiting in Brussels at the moment?
There is so much great art here! Tonight I am excited about Sofia Leiby‘s European solo debut with Levy.Delval and Alex Perweiler’s (of The Still House Group) opening at Galerie Rodolphe Janssen. Other great exhibitions opening include Sterling Ruby at Xavier Hufkens, Chris Succo at Almine Rech Gallery, and Pierre Bismuth at JAN MOT. Institutionally there is a Gareth Moore exhibition at La Loge (a great experimental art space) and the CAB Art Center has a current exhibition which presents works by artists in and from Chicago–including a huge new Tony Lewis piece and a William Pope L. video.
In the age of the Internet, art is increasingly purchased online. Where do you think that the future of art consumption is headed?
It’s a timely question: just this week the 2015 Hiscox Online Art Trade Report announced that the value of the online art market has risen from $1.57 billion in 2013 to an estimated $2.64 billion in 2014. Online viewing won’t replace seeing art in real life–that’s not the point. Instead, the online market opens up a world for new collectors to learn and discover art. In general, our experience of art is expanding online and offline.
What artists should we be paying more attention to? How do you keep yourself informed?
Many of the artists I’m excited about now are friends of mine, or are people I’ve discovered through Instagram and mutual friends. I am really into Nick Farhi who just had a show at United Artists, Ltd. and Jessica Sanders who has a solo booth with KANSAS at Art Brussels. I have been a big fan of Daniel Heidkamp for a while, though he’s hardly under the radar now. There is also Letha Wilson, Lucas Blalock and Kate Steciw who are all doing awesome things. Chloe Wise is a riot. I am also very intrigued by the conceptual practices of Elaine Cameron Weir and Carlos Reyes.
Do you live with any artwork? If you could add anything to your collection regardless of price, what would you choose?
My collection is still in the very early stages, but I have small pieces by Justin Adian and Larry Clark. I have a couple works by younger artists including Lucas Jardin, the #ArtsyTakeover artist and “one to watch”, and Krista Smith, who just finished her MFA at NYAA. I have fun editioned pieces including a Korakrit photo and the first Exhibition A print that Richard Phillips did, which is a favorite. As for the future, I’d love to own works from the artists who surround me and maybe a Laure Prouvost video and Richard Prince Nurse painting if I get lucky!