A professional path in the art world- step by astute step with Paddle8 specialist, Charlie Manzo
JOINING THE RANKS OF A LEADING AND EXTREMELY INFLUENTIAL GALLERY, WITH VENUES IN MAJOR AMERICAN, EUROPEAN, AND ASIAN CITIES, IS THE DREAM OF MANY OF US WORKING IN THE BUSINESS END OF THE ART WORLD. THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE ACCESS TO AN IMPORTANT AND DIVERSE INVENTORY OF WORKS, FROM BOTH ARTISTS’ ESTATES AND THE SECONDARY MARKET, PROVIDES A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO INTERACT WITH TOP COLLECTORS AND MUSEUM CURATORS WORLDWIDE. THE ADVANTAGE OF A POSITION IN A FIRST-TIER POWERFUL GALLERY ALSO AFFORDS ACCESS TO THE WORKS OF ACCOMPLISHED LIVING ARTISTS AND A DIALOGUE WITH THEM ABOUT THEIR WORK.
IT IS A PRIVILEGE TO HAVE CHARLIE MANZO SHARE HIS EXPERIENCES IN THE ART WORLD, HIS PERSPECTIVE ON THE ARTISTS OF OUR TIMES AND HIS ASTUTE PREDICTIVE EXPERTISE ON THE ARTISTS WE SHOULD BE WATCHING. CHARLIE’S EXPERIENCE INCLUDES A LONG STINT AT PACE GALLERY AND A SHORTER BUT EXTREMELY PRODUCTIVE ONE AT GAGOSIAN. CURRENTLY, CHARLIE IS SENIOR SPECIALIST AT PADDLE8, THE MOST ACTIVE AND RESPECTED ONLINE AUCTION VENUE, WHERE HE FOCUSES ON PRIVATE SALES AS WELL AS ADDING CURATORIAL EXPERIENCE TO HIS ROSTER OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
CHARLIE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THE LRFA BLOG. IN THE LAST BLOG, YOU INFORMED US OF YOUR EARLY BACKGROUND. WHAT LED YOU TO AN INTEREST IN ART AND HOW YOU DEVELOPED THAT INTEREST WITH VERY ASTUTE STEPS THAT ENRICHED YOUR BUSINESS ACUMEN AND ART HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE.
WHAT IS YOUR ACADEMIC BACKGROUND? I KNOW YOU WORKED AT PACE GALLERY FOR SOME TIME. WHAT THAT YOUR FIRST JOB AND HOW DID IT BEGIN? WHAT WAS THE FOCUS OF YOUR ACTIVITY THERE INITIALLY AND HOW DID IT EVOLVE DURING THE TIME YOU WORKED THERE?
I went to Parsons on 5th Ave and took art studio classes for only one year, it was a great experience but also helped confirm that I didn’t want to pursue a career as an artist. I started taking business classes and loaded up on art history and design history. I started at Pace as an intern in the accounting department, this lasted three months and I forced my way into the art handling department. I learned how to handle and install art which was great, I really enjoyed working hands on with paintings and sculpture I had learned about in school. This lasted approximately three years at which time I then became an assistant to one of the head directors. This experience was invaluable to me. I learned to work with artists, clients, museums, everything. I was able to help coordinate gallery exhibitions, outside exhibitions, art fairs and learned all aspects of the art market. After about six years I decided to move on to Gagosian.
WHEN DID YOU JOIN GAGOSIAN GALLERY AND HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?
I joined Gagosian in early 2011, a very close friend had been working here for a few years and he made it happen for me. Generally people always like to compare the two galleries but they are really very different.
WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO DECIDE TO MAKE THE CHANGE? I KNOW I LIKE TO CONTINUALLY GROW AND TWEAK MY BUSINESS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE WITHOUT UNDERMINING ITS BASIC PURPOSE AND STRUCTURE. WAS THAT YOUR THINKING AS WELL?
I think for me I was ready for a change, Pace was a terrific gallery but I felt like it was all I knew since I was so submersed in it. I really liked the artists and the program at Gagosian and it just seemed like the right move at the right time.
WHAT DO YOU VIEW AS THE MOST IMPRESSIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF GAGOSIAN GALLERY? FOR ME, IT IS AN EXTRAORDINARY MIX OF EXHIBITIONS OF EXCEPTIONAL CURATORIAL DISTINCTION AND THE ACCESS TO ARTISTS OF GREAT QUALITY AND REPUTATION, BOTH IN THE PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SECTOR.
I think that’s exactly it. It was really an impressive place to work. I was always inspired by the exhibitions that the gallery has, I mean the Picasso shows of course, but then you have the Fontana show, the Rauschenberg collection show, Cy Twombly, Albert Oehlen, Rudy Stingel – Historically important, museum quality shows mixed with premier primary exhibitions makes this gallery a great arena to work in and to show art to people. Gagosian also has the ability to exhibit terrific younger and mid-career artists such as Dan Colen, Karin Kneffel, Joel Morrison. The scope of this gallery is really unparalleled.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ON CHARLIE’S BLOG, PLEASE POSE THEM. WE WILL EXPLORE THE DYNAMICS OF A RELATIVELY NEW AUCTION PROCESS IN OUR NEXT BLOG. PADDLE8 LEADS THE WAY IN ONLINE AUCTION BUSINESS. IT PROVIDES CURATED, THEME AUCTIONS AS WELL AS BENEFIT AUCTIONS FOR CHARITIES. A TIMELY AND HIGHLY INNOVATIVE IDEA, IT HAS GARNERED MUCH ATTENTION AND COMMERCIAL SUCCESS AS WELL AS THE BACKING OF HIGH PROFILE INDIVIDUALS IN THE ART WORLD. MORE NEXT TIME!
UNTIL THEN, THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ THE BLOG!