Jennifer Terzian Interviewed by


September marks the beginning of the art season – fairs, openings, auctions – it’s all happening. I am excited to share an interview with you I recently gave to that will help navigate the chaos and encourage a fresh understanding and appreciation for the current art market.


Jennifer Terzian

Art consultant, Curator & Collection management. 

Founder and Director LivWill Art CT

Los Angeles

How and when did you first become involved in the art world? 

I took my first art history class my freshman year at college in Los Angeles. My instructor was a remarkable man. That course pretty much impacted the rest of my academic experience. I began interning at Sotheby’s in Beverly Hills, went to every gallery opening I could get to, joined the young collector’s groups at museums…whatever I could do to immerse myself in the art world. The turning point was being accepted into the MA Contemporary Art program at the Sotheby’s Institute and moving to London. That changed everything.

The art market has changed substantially in the past years. Would you say the developments are for the better or worse? 

I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to work in the art world before and after some very significant changes that have taken place. Back in 2000, when I was in the first of my commercial gallery positions, the relationships with collectors and artists were all consuming. Hours would be spent talking with clients who strolled in on a Saturday. Lunches and dinners with artists occurred on a regular basis. Now, these exchanges take place over email, text and Instagram. The difference is neither negative or positive it’s just the reality of how technology has changed things. That said, I can only say the developments are for the better – the contemporary art market continues to thrive, collectors are still buying, contemporary museums and private collections are opening up everywhere. However, there has to be a sense of reverence for the past, for the way things use to be done. At the core of these new developments must be a solid understanding of art history, education, relationships, loyalty and most important a passion for creativity.

What do you think of the art fair boom that has taken hold in recent years? How is it changing the market? 

Art fairs have always provided a convenient arena for both seasoned and novice collectors to see a large amount of work and make connections with dealers and other collectors in a short amount of time. However, the direction they are going in is really benefitting younger galleries and new collectors more than ever. There are a number of smaller fairs that cater to emerging galleries and the artists they represent which gives both sides a chance to get in on the action at a feasible price point. Fairs like stARTup Art Fair, Superfine The Fair, Affordable Art Fair and Scope are just a few of the many venues providing this level of accessibility. Besides purchase power, there are talks led by curators, collectors and artists; performances and on-site activities that make it nearly impossible to leave with less knowledge about the art world than what you showed up with. The possibilities are really endless as far as what fairs can offer.

Emerging art is a tricky thing. How are you able to identify potential?

The more art you see, the more studio visits you have, the more you read and educate yourself and attend lectures  – this will shape an informed, subjective opinion based on experience. As a curator and advisor, I owe it to my clients and the artists I work with to have a solid understanding of the fundamental art movements leading up to the present. In order to process the influx of new art, either online or in person, it is essential to recognize both historical relevance and innovation based on the trailblazing philosophies from past generations. I identify potential using these signifiers when I go on studio visits or see shows.

Social media has seemingly played an increasingly large role for the art market. Is it just a matter of hype?  

Social media has an enormous amount of influence on the art market, specifically, the contemporary art market. Here we have a platform for the exchanging of ideas and images between artists, curators and collectors; we have access to photos of private collections, the whereabouts of famous collectors, the gallery openings…the action is endless. At this moment in time, it really is crucial to have a presence on social media. We are fixated on immediate gratification; if you are not available with a click of a button you might lose out on a sale or a connection that might lead to something down the road.

Does PR play an important role in an artist’s carrer? 

PR is still relevant for the trajectory of an artists’ career – there needs to be something to reference, a review, an interview…something concrete to initiate the conversation with ourselves when we see something we like and want to learn more about. In addition to everything you can find on social media there is still a level of insight into an artists’ career that really needs to be translated through thoughtful and intelligent dialogue.

Is there any advice that you can give to emerging artists who want to showcase their work?

My advice would be to get your work in group shows with galleries who work with similar artists – go to their openings, network and get to know the directors of these galleries. Reach out to curators, get involved with public art projects where your work will be seen by a lot of people. Use social media wisely and create an online presence that showcases your work in an aesthetically curated format. Connect with other artists to organize pop-up shows – group shows are advantageous on many levels.

How do you feel about the excessive prices paid for works nowadays? 

There will always be excessive prices paid for contemporary art. The frenzy that surrounds the contemporary evening sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s will remain strong as long as there is the desire for consumption, investment and notoriety.

Could you name some new and emerging artists whose careers you believe are worth following?

I have been following the work of Ann Toebbe and Andrzej Zielinkski since they finished their MFAs at Yale and fortunate enough to see them develop and grow and become the accomplished artists they are today. Currently, I am very excited about Joseph Smolinski, Ryan Frank, Rebecca Ness, Conor Backman…to name only a few, there are many.

What are your top 5 must-see art events or exhibitions of 2018? 

My must-see shows for 2018 include Nina Chanel Abney at the Institute of Contemporary Art Los Angeles; Out Of Line at September Gallery, Hudosn, NY; Made in LA at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Untitled, Miami Beach; Laura Owens, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA Los Angeles.

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