Photo © Glenn Glasser
Interview with Jill Gerstenblatt
You own Gallery 10G, you also own Jill Gerstenblatt Art Advisory firm, and you are an avid collector of contemporary art. How did you begin this journey into the art world?
Good Question, well, to start off my parents collected art, so that was my first glimpse into the art world. They would take me with them to museums and different shows especially when we were traveling so they definitely got my interests going. Then, when I started college I remember Freshman year they asked us what we wanted to major in and the only thing that came to mind was ART. So I majored in Art History at Univ. of Michigan and then I went on to Sotheby’s Institute, London where I received my MA in Post-War & Contemporary Art.
As a gallery director, how do you discover new artists? Do artists typically come to you or is it the other way around?
I started the gallery, which is a private space, located in the 2nd bedroom of my apt in Gramercy, NYC, about 5 years ago when my husband, then boyfriend, and I moved into our new apt. I thought this was a great way to get young collectors involved with the contemporary art scene in a non-confrontational, laid back atmosphere. I curated about 3-4 shows a year and invited young professionals to come find art for their apts/ offices. This was also a great way for me to personally stay in touch with the young artists and to find the next best thing in the art world. I started off the gallery by contacting one of my old friends from high school who was an artist and he referred me to some of his friends. That was Ofer Wolberger who is a great photographer and just had a solo show in London. He led me to Kevin Cooley who was my top selling young photographer back then and still is to this day. Many artists’ send me works unsolicited but I feel if I wouldn’t personally want to own the art then I’m not going to show it!
What does your art advisory firm do for clients? How did this business come to fruition for you?
Now since the recent “edition” our daughter Julia has come into our lives about 6 months ago, I have turned the gallery space into a baby’s room. I am no longer curating shows although the apt. itself is filled with contemporary paintings and photos by the artist’s I still work with, as well as works from my own collection. I have moved from the gallery-side more to the advisory side where I am helping clients buy several works to decorate their homes and offices rather then having them come to the gallery and just buy 1-off pieces. I still have my website though, www.gallery10g.com that features the works of the artist’s I am still working with. If someone is interested in seeing any of those works I arrange to get whatever I don’t have here from the artists. Nowadays I find it’s much easier for collectors to buy directly off the internet once they see the images online- they don’t always have to see the works in person.
What would your advice be to emerging artists who are trying to make names for themselves in today’s competitive and fast-paced art world? What is the best way to get themselves noticed?
I think the most important thing for a young artist is to go to Art School. There are only a handful of self-taught artists and those who go to school get to work with top artists/ teachers who can help shape and mold their art into something important and cohesive. Coincidentally a lot of my artists’ have gone to School of Visual Arts, NYC, and I’m glad to support the NY art scene although I also had some artists’ from London as well.
Also, a great way to get noticed is to donate works to different charity auctions. I used to go to the benefits and buy from the silent auctions several pieces of art for under $50 and if I liked it I would contact the artists to see more of their works and eventually open up a dialogue to work together in the future. Also, a lot of artists get picked up at their graduate school shows.
You are a collector of many contemporary artists. Do you have a favorite hanging on your wall at home?
Hard question to answer, Yes, I definitely have a few favorites, however not all are hanging on my wall at the moment for lack of space. I can’t wait to have a house so I can finally take some of the works out of their boxes for the first time. Right now hanging up my favorite works are a Ruud Van Empel photograph of 2 boys, Loretta Lux photos- I love her work and have several in my collection, an installation of butterflies made out of beer cans by Villinski hanging in my daughter’s room, a Tierney Gearon photo from her Explosure series, and an Anna Gaskell work from the Alice in Wonderland series. Although most of these are photos I do still collect a lot of paintings as well which have been more recent additions to my collection since I started for the first 8 years collecting mostly photography. My favorite painters I own are Benjamin Butler, painting of trees, Natasha Kissell, one of the young British stars I’ve been working with over the years and Ben Grasso.
When someone is looking to start an art collection, but they cannot afford some of the more expensive artists, like say Edward Burtynsky, how should he or she get started? How can a potential collector be sure that a good investment is being made?
There is never a sure answer as to whether an artist will go up in value. I think it’s important when starting an art collection to meet with an advisor or someone who works/ owns a gallery and get their advice about what artists they should buy. There are so many galleries and young artists out there now that it’s easy to buy crappy stuff.
That’s why I love working with my young Gallery 10G artists whose prices range from $1,000-6,000 for the most part so there’s really something in every price range. Many of my artists also show with other galleries and are included in group shows as well so they are starting to gain more exposure. If you have a good art advisor, like myself, they are sometimes able to get a young artists’ work at the beginning stages of an edition before the prices go up. This is a great way to get in at the bottom and watch your art go up in value.
Thanks for the interview! You can also see some of the works I have for re-sale on my artnet site at www.artnet.com and then put in Gallery 10G. You can also see available works by the Gallery 10G artists as well as other works available at www.gallery10g.com.