MAKING A CAREER IN ART ISN’T EASY BUT THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO EXPAND YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICAL SKILLS BY DOING AN ART INTERNSHIP. ART INTERNSHIPS COME IN A VARIETY OF FORMS EMBRACING THE MUSEUM AND GALLERY WORLDS AS WELL AS ARTISTS’ STUDIOS. EXPERIENCE IN EACH WILL HELP YOU HONE YOUR PARTICULAR SKILLS AND DIRECT YOU TOWARDS THE RIGHT JOB.
IN TODAY’S LRFA BLOG POST, SABRINA BUELL OF ZLOT/BUELL, A SAN FRANCISCO BASED ART ADVISORY FIRM OF IMPECCABLE REPUTATION, WILL OUTLINE HER PAST PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE. WITH THIS LEVEL AND VARIETY OF TRAINING IT IS EASY TO SEE WHY ZLOT/BUELL ENJOYS ITS EXCELLENT REPUTATION.
Once I realized that I couldn’t learn about the business of art in school, I quickly started applying for internships. While I was in college I interned at SFMOMA in the Photography Department, at Fraenkel Gallery, at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, and at an arts school in the Napa Valley called the Oxbow School. I wanted to see what all sorts of different arts professions looked like.
When I graduated I wanted to stay in the Bay Area. One thing I knew was that while there weren’t so many galleries or auction opportunities in San Francisco at the time, there were phenomenal collectors and incredible art being acquired in the Bay Area. I wondered how this was happening when there weren’t many galleries to buy from. With this, I discovered a profession I’d never heard of before – an Art Advisor. It turned out many of the great collections in the Bay Area were being built by a woman named Mary Zlot, an advisor based in San Francisco. I went to work beating down her door until she would hire me. She finally said yes, and I started my first real job in the art world as an assistant at Mary Zlot & Associates.
WHEN WE MET, YOU WERE THE DIRECTOR WITH WHOM I WORKED AT THE PRESTIGIOUS MATTHEW MARKS GALLERY. MATTHEW IS A LEGEND IN THE ART WORLD, STARTING AS A VERY YOUNG MAN WITH A PASSION AND RESPECT FOR CONTEMPORARY ART THAT IS RENOWNED. THE GALLERY REPRESENTS A DISTINGUISHED ROSTER OF ARTISTS THAT INCLUDE JASPER JOHNS, ELLSWORTH KELLY, NAN GOLDIN, THOMAS DEMAND, AND ROBERT GOBER AND MATTHEW IS KNOWN FOR HIS RAPPORT AND RESPECT OF THE ARTISTS HE REPRESENTS.
WHEN DID YOU JOIN MATTHEW MARKS AND HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?
While working for Mary Zlot I discovered a graduate program at NYU where you essentially got your Masters Degree in the Business of Art. This is what I’d been trying to do at Stanford but had never achieved. I decided to move to NYC for this program, but took classes at night and needed a job. Mary Zlot had such a wonderful reputation in the art world that a call from her on my behalf to a gallery opened all the doors.
I wanted to work for Matthew Marks because he had such an incredible program of artists, both younger and cool like Nan Goldin and Andreas Gursky, and then more established like Ellsworth Kelly and Brice Marden. He was so young at the time and had accomplished so much! I really admired him and the program and Mary Zlot helped me get a job there as the front desk girl. My first day was Sept 11th, 2001.
WHAT WERE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AT THE GALLERY?
I worked as an assistant to one of the Directors and manned the front desk. Back then we sent offers to clients in the mail with transparencies. So I was labeling transparencies and slides, sending faxes. It was the olden days!
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE EXHIBITIONS, FAIRS AND EXPERIENCES WERE HIGHLIGHTS WHEN YOU WERE A DIRECTOR AT THE GALLERY?
Anytime we had an Ellsworth Kelly show it was a very special event. He was so kind to everyone at the gallery and would tell them most incredible stories about his years in Paris after the war. Even after years of working at the gallery being around him always felt like being in the presence of a living legend. I also remember the first time I worked a Basel Art Fair, and got to go to the Schaulager and see the Robert Gober installation there. It was a profound emotional experience and is a pilgrimage I still make every year during the fair.
IN OUR NEXT LRFA POST, SABRINA WILL SPEAK ABOUT HER RETURN TO SAN FRANCISCO AND HER PROFESSIONAL PATH.
PLEASE JOIN US FOR THE NEXT PHASE OF HER IMPRESSIVE CAREER!