Art Frankly is ecstatic to bring this week’s Frank Talk with Adam Green for you here. With over a decade of experience in the art industry, Adam founded Adam Green Art Advisory in 2016. Adam Green Art Advisory provides bespoke services to new and experienced collectors including advising clients on contemporary art acquisitions as well as locating and brokering important contemporary artworks. Additionally, Adam serves as the podcast host of the ArtTactic Podcast, the first and leading podcast covering the art market. Born and raised in Dallas, Adam now resides in New York City with his wife and son. To learn more visit www.adamgreenartadvisory.com and https://arttactic.com/podcasts/ or @adamgreenartadvisory on Instagram. Please enjoy this week’s interview!
What was your first job in the Arts?
After graduating from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art with a Master’s degree in Art Business in 2008, Lehman Brothers collapsed and the ensuing financial crisis began. In this panic-stricken climate, I suddenly had to seek employment in the midst of a deep recession. Ultimately, I decided to start my own business, a pop-up art gallery in a vacant retail space, which was unoccupied due to the poor economic environment.
At the time, I read about and subsequently noticed that, among the many negative impacts of the recession, was the emergence of many desirable but vacant first floor retail spaces throughout Manhattan. I approached a number of real estate brokers who controlled these properties hoping to convince one to allow me to temporarily possess a vacant space, rent-free, to host a pop-up art gallery. My proposal was as follows: I would clean and occupy the space, make it available for potential tenants, but would pay no rent, utilities or taxes. Ultimately, I reached an agreement with a firm for approximately 5,000 square feet in a building just a street south of the famed Flatiron Building.
I cleaned the floor, painted the walls and hung lights. I then visited several fine arts graduate schools in New York to discover artists I liked and who might want to exhibit in the space. Over the next year, I hosted five exhibitions, convinced twenty artists to show at the space and sold over $50,000 worth of art.
What was the most useful or important thing you learned at that job?
After my lease and renewal term ended, the real estate firm released the space. I still am good friends with a number of the artists and I remain exceedingly appreciative for the opportunity the real estate broker gave me. The experience taught me the value of persistence, as it is what allows for the occasional appearance of serendipity in one’s life. The experience also taught me the importance of fighting through anxiety in difficult times, to take risks when it is appropriate to do so and the importance of marketing, even in difficult economic circumstances.
Tell us a little more about yourself. When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in this industry?
Growing up, my parents often took my brothers and me to art museums in the US and Europe. I have felt a strong appreciation for the arts since then, however I did not consider a career in the arts until college at Brandeis University. My freshman year roommate convinced me to take an art history class on Renaissance art. I loved it and began taking more and more classes. My senior year, I worked closely with the registrar at the school’s museum, the Rose Art Museum. While there, I encountered several auction catalogues and I quickly learned about the art market. While I already maintained an aesthetic appreciation for art, the art market, appealed to my business acumen and I became fascinated by the concept that artworks had values that fluctuated based on a variety of factors. As I discovered more about the art world, I realized I wanted to work in this industry.
What do you do now?
After working at Christie’s for nearly a decade, I founded Adam Green Art Advisory in 2016. I provide bespoke services to new and experienced collectors including advising clients on contemporary art acquisitions as well as locating and brokering important contemporary artworks. To learn more visit adamgreenartadvisory.com and follow me on Instagram at @adamgreenartadvisory.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. I have lived in New York City for the past ten years.
What is the arts community like there?
It is incredibly exciting to watch the Dallas art community flourish over the past several years. In large part due to their impressive museums, an up-and-coming art fair and a charity event that brings the international art world to town every fall, Dallas is now home to a growing and tight knit collector base that has the art world’s attention.
What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?
If you are entering the art market and want to have a long and prosperous career, position yourself as close as possible to the art. If you are not comfortable in sales, work on this skill set and force yourself to go out of your comfort zone, rather than settling for a role in a support function at a gallery, auction house or museum. Individuals in sales are generally most valued by their employers and as a result are compensated the highest. It is also incredibly rewarding to help a collector acquire a great artwork for their collection and if you are passionate about art, why wouldn’t you want to work directly with the art?
What is one of your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
When living in London in 2008, I discovered podcasts. At the time, they were simply recordings of radio broadcasts, rather than original content. The economy was in decline but the art market was still thriving. I read art publications that often featured one or two sentence self-serving quotes from auction house specialist and dealers about the resiliency of the art market. But I wanted to have lengthy conversations with these individuals to learn how they really felt about the art market. In 2009, I partnered with ArtTactic to launch the ArtTactic Podcast,the first podcast in the art world. Over the years, I have interviewed hundreds of guests, built a loyal and growing audience, and have made incredible connections.
What has been a challenge for you?
In 2015, I decided to pursue an MBA at Wharton while working at Christie’s. Managing this significant commitment was one of the greatest challenges of my career. Time management as well as sacrificing social and vacation time were imperative to obtaining this degree while continuing to work.
What is something you do every day at work?
Every day, I post an artwork on Instagram with details about the artist and the statement they are trying to make in their work.
What is one of the weirdest things you have had to do on the job in your career?
I helped in the sale of items from Roy Rogers’ estate at Christie’s, which included his taxidermy pet dogs.
What are things you can do proactively boost your CV?
Join boards of art-related organizations that are meaningful to you, such as non-profits or museums. Many of these organizations also have opportunities for younger individuals, such as committees or junior boards.
In your experience, what are things to do and things to avoid during an interview?
Prepare yourself more than any other candidate. Do extensive research on the firm that you may be able to utilize during the interview. This will shine through in your interview responses. Find a family member or friend to do mock interviews with you.
What is the best exhibition you have seen in the last year?
Picasso Blue and Rose at Musee d’Orsay.
If you could own a work by 5 different artists, who would be in your collection?
Willem de Kooning