Art World Q & A: Edition 14


I am thrilled to share this edition of Art World Q&A with you. Jamie Goldblatt Manné, Deputy Director of the Marciano Art Foundation in Los Angeles, took time out of her busy schedule to thoughtfully give us her insight into the contemporary art market.

1. How has the art market changed over the last 20 years?

So much has changed. 20 years ago I was 14 years old, so I wasn’t exactly privy to the art world at that time, but in just the last 10 years, so much has changed. The ability to access images is overwhelming– you can see artworks around the world via the internet and social media, whereas 15/20 years ago you had to physically go to a gallery or museum to view something. I still strongly believe in seeing works in person when possible, but I will admit I’ve bought many artworks via jpeg! Artist’s markets are sharply affected by this shift in access to information. We have witnessed young artists works reach record level auction prices within the first few years of their emergence and then seemingly drop off from the market. The speed with which the business now moves is hard to keep up with and can be disheartening for young artists.

2. Who are the contemporary artists that will stand the test of time and why?

There are the obvious ones of course, but I think the artists who are using their medium and voice to support social justice issues through their work will be the ones who stand the test of time and ultimately guide our society forward. A few examples include Rirkrit Tiravanija, Andrea Bowers, Theaster Gates, Sam Durant, Goshka Macuga, Barbara Kruger, Ai Weiwei and the Guerilla Girls.

3. What role do you think taste plays in the decisions that important collectors make when buying new work?

Taste is very important and is usually what initially determines the direction of a collection and the early purchases. You have to like what you are buying – there is so much out there and so many reasons to invest and support different artists. Taste is usually intrinsic and should be utilized to guide your collecting.

4. What would you buy with $10k, $100k and $1 million?

$10K – a Naotaka Hiro painting or drawing or a Mimi Lauter work on paper

$100K – Rodney McMillian carpet painting or Andrea Bowers cardboard painting

$1M – David Hammons tarp painting or a Felix Gonzales-Torres last light sculpture (from the larger edition)

5. What are the advantages/disadvantages of buying at auction versus buying through a commercial gallery?

The benefits of buying through the galleries, particularly primary galleries, is endless. By doing so, you can create a real and lasting relationship with the gallery and with their roster of artists. You can also rest assured that your hard-earned cash is going to the artist and not to a collector or auction house trying to make a profit. Of course, auctions are very useful for sourcing specific or historical objects and for gaging the secondary market, but I always prefer to buy from the galleries.

6. What criteria do you use in judging art?

I try not to “judge” art but rather experience and understand it and use it to educate myself. There is so much out there to see and I think after a while, you start to develop an inner eye that you can really trust and depend on. I usually have an instinctual response to artworks; whether it’s positive or negative, I try to really pay attention to that response and understand why it is manifesting itself as such. The works that I have strong negative reactions to are often the ones that I end up thinking about the most and interestingly, usually circle back around to loving, if only for the reason that it challenged me in a profound way.

7. How are art fairs shaping contemporary art? What is the primary role of art fairs?

Art fairs are tricky – they are incredibly seductive and exciting, but I don’t like to buy art at fairs. It always feels rushed and chaotic and it’s not an ideal setting for taking the time to really understand a work and its varied nuances. I prefer to use art fairs as a tool for research and to connect with dealers outside of Los Angeles, rather than as a source for acquisitions. There are of course, always exceptions!

8. What are your favorite online venues for buying art?

Artspace and Tappan.

9. What do you look for in the art you collect?

I look for many things including the artist’s mastery of their concepts and media, curatorial support for the work, market support for the work and probably most importantly, is seeing that the artist continues to push him/herself in new directions and takes risks. For me, the best part of collecting and supporting artists is watching them and their career take shape and change over time. It’s so exciting to see how one series informs the next. When an artist surprises you, it can be the best feeling.

10. What is the best advise you can offer to someone who is ready to start collecting contemporary art?

Go slowly and do your homework. The contemporary art world and market can be very overwhelming. It’s constantly growing and changing, which is what makes it so exciting but also daunting at the same time. There is always more to learn and more to understand. Get to know your inner eye and what makes you excited and really trust your gut. Befriending experienced collectors or curators doesn’t hurt either! Their expertise and knowledge is priceless! This business is all about relationships and trust, play the game fairly and transparently, and usually you’ll win.

About Jamie Goldblatt Manné

Jamie Goldblatt Manné was born and raised in Los Angeles. She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at The George Washington University in Washington, DC where she received a Masters in Art Therapy. Upon graduation, Jamie worked in NYC galleries, including three years at Paula Cooper Gallery, where she worked in sales and served as an artist liaison. In 2010, Jamie relocated back to Los Angeles and since then has been managing the Marciano Art Collection. With over 10 years of experience working in the professional art world, she is currently the Director of the Maurice and Paul Marciano Art Foundation, which opened to the public in May 2017. Jamie lives in Los Angeles with her husband and 3 rescue dogs.