Josh Baer, art world insider…here’s the scoop

by leslierankowfinearts

jb phto JPG

JOSH BAER, JOURNALIST, ART ADVISOR, CURATOR, PUBLISHER… THE LIST GOES ON…FOUNDED THE BAER FAXT, THE NEWSLETTER FOR THE ART INDUSTRY,  IN 1995. JOSH PROVIDES EVERYONE INTERESTED IN THE ART MARKET AND GALLERY WORLD WITH AN INVALUABLE AND ALWAYS UP TO THE MINUTE  INSIDER’S VIEW OF THE CONTEMPORARY ART SCENE . HE COVERS THE AUCTIONS IN PERSON, PROVIDING FIRST-HAND INFO IN REAL TIME OF THE NAMES OF THE COLLECTORS AND DEALERS BIDDING AND BUYING AT AUCTION AS WELL AS THE LATEST NEWS ON THE PROFESSIONAL CHANGES AND APPOINTMENTS IN THE GALLERY AND MUSEUM WORLD.

JOSH BAER’S  PERSPECTIVE COMES FROM HIS LONG-STANDING PRESENCE IN THE ART WORLD AND  AN IMPRESSIVELY DIVERSE HISTORY OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN BOTH THE NON-PROFIT AND COMMERCIAL SECTORS. JOSH’S MOST RECENT CURATORIAL CONTRIBUTION WAS A STELLAR SHOW AT SOTHEBY’S S/2 GALLERY, ENTITLED “NOT CALIFORNIAN”. THIS BEAUTIFULLY INSTALLED EXHIBITION OF MAJOR WORKS BY SUCH ARTISTS AS ED RUSCHA  AND CHRIS BURDEN PRESENTS CALIFORNIA BASED WORK  AS INTERNATIONAL IN SCOPE RATHER THAN PROVINCIALLY LIMITED BY GEOGRAPHICAL ASSOCIATION.

IF YOU AREN’T ALREADY  A SUBSCRIBER OF THE BAER FAXT, I THINK YOU’LL VERY MUCH ENJOY IT.

HERE’S THE LINK

http://www.baerfaxt.com/

I AM VERY GRATEFUL THAT JOSH, WITH SO MANY PROFESSIONAL COMMITMENTS AND A HERCULEAN WORK SCHEDULE, HAS AGREED TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE LRFA BLOG.

JOSH, YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN THE ART WORLD IN MANY CAPACITIES  AS A GALLERIST, A PRIVATE DEALER, CURATOR AND PUBLISHER OF THE BAER FAXT BUT I DON’T KNOW YOUR BACKGROUND.

HOW DID YOU BECOME  INTERESTED IN ART?  DID YOU COME FROM AN ART COLLECTING FAMILY OR WAS A RELATIVE AN ARTIST AND/OR MENTOR, OR NONE OF THE ABOVE?

My mother is the artist Jo Baer, who has solo shows this year at the Stedelijk in Amsterdam and the Ludwig Museum in Cologne. So I’m an art brat who had people like Andy Warhol, Robert Smithson and Clement Greenberg around the house as a kid.

I DIDN’T REALIZE THAT. I ADMIRE HER BEAUTIFUL MINIMALIST WORK VERY MUCH AND HAVE BEEN SO PLEASED TO SEE THE CRITICAL ATTENTION IT HAS BEEN RECEIVING.

jo-baer

YOUR FIRST PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE IN THE ART WORLD WAS IN THE NON-PROFIT WORLD, AS DIRECTOR OF WHITE COLUMNS. WHITE COLUMNS IS LEGENDARY – THE OLDEST ALTERNATIVE ART SPACE, FOUNDED AS AN EXPERIMENTAL PLATFORM FOR ARTISTS.  WHAT WAS IT LIKE WHEN YOU BEGAN THERE?  WHAT WERE YOUR AMBITIONS FOR THE SPACE?

My first job was as director of what became White Columns in 1979. I was 23 , there was a budget of $8,000 for the year ($5,000 was rent) so anything went – freedom to try and freedom to fail. These spaces mattered more then than maybe now – although White Columns continues as a vibrant place under Matthew Higgs.

WE HAVE SUBSTANTIAL PRIVATE AND PUBLIC ENDOWMENTS FOR THE ARTS AT PRESENT  ALTHOUGH SUBJECT TO THE EBB AND FLOW OF GOVERNMENT POLICY AND FUNDING.  DURING YOUR TENURE AT WHITE COLUMNS, WHAT KIND OF SUPPORT DID YOU FIND FROM PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS, GOVERNMENT FUNDING AND PRIVATE COLLECTORS AND FOUNDATIONS?  HOW DO YOU FEEL THAT HAS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?

There was only support from the government and artists then – it wasn’t a minor league team supplying players to the galleries. It was all artist run.

IN THE NEXT BLOG, JOSH WILL INFORM US OF HIS EXPERIENCE IN THE COMMERCIAL ART WORLD. JOSH OPENED A GALLERY THAT ENJOYED AN EXCELLENT REPUTATION AND FOLLOWING.  WE WILL GAIN A PERSPECTIVE OF JOSH IN HIS ROLE AS GALLERIST.  HIS INSIDER KNOWLEDGE OF THE ART WORLD INFORMS US ALL OF SO MANY ASPECTS  OF THE ART WORLD, THANKS TO HIS FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE.

I WELCOME ALL COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE ON TOPICS TO EXPLORE.

ASK AWAY.

UNTIL NEXT TIME!

THANK YOU.