We are super excited to bring you this week’s Frank Talk with Lexi Bishop! Lexi is currently an Associate Director at Nino Mier Gallery in Los Angeles. Prior to joining the gallery, she worked as a specialist in the Post-War & Contemporary Art department at Christie’s New York for five years. Lexi received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and Russian Language from Bryn Mawr College, and a Masters degree in The History of Art and The Art Market: Modern & Contemporary Art from Christie’s Education. Enjoy the read!
What was your first job in the Arts?
I gave tours at the Brant Foundation Art Study Center in Greenwich, CT. It was my first real up-close-and-personal experience with contemporary art.
What was the most useful or important thing you learned at that job?
Learning how to speak confidently about art.
Tell us a little more about yourself. When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in this industry?
Luckily, my high school valued the arts, and I had this one influential teacher who showed us Philip Glass’ Koyaanisqatsi. I was blown away. I knew at that moment I wanted to surround myself with people who produce culture.
What do you do now?
I’m a director at Nino Mier Gallery in LA.
Where are you from?
All over the US! We moved around a lot when I was a kid, and no, my parents were not in the military. However, I spent much of middle school and high school in Connecticut, not far outside NYC.
What is the arts community like there?
Being close to NYC was a huge bonus, and a lot of time was spent wandering New York’s museums.
Has where you come from shaped what you do in the arts today?
I’m sure it has to some degree.
What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?
All you have is your reputation, so don’t be shady!
What is one of your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
While working at Christie’s, I curated my own show in the Lower East Side. Everything from exhibition planning to working with artists gave me a renewed energy. Three months later, I quit my job at Christie’s and moved to LA.
What has been a challenge for you?
Moving from an auction house to the gallery world has definitely been a learning curve.
What is something you do every day at the office (or your current home office)?
Email/talk/text with an artist. It’s the best.
What is one of the weirdest things you have had to do on the job in your career?
My first job at Christie’s was on the production team in Creative (I had no idea what I was doing). At the time, we were making a promotional short for Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog that was being sold in the upcoming auction. During the shoot, I was asked to powder Jeff Koons’ nose – not necessarily weird, however I was so embarrassed and probably shaking from nerves. He had to tell me “that’s enough.”
What defines a good employee? What defines a good boss?
A good employee is a team player; however, you need a good boss to encourage a team mentality. I’m not a fan of the “every-man-for-himself” ethos in the workplace.
What do you think makes a person hirable?
Relevant work experience….internships that turn into jobs I think are always a plus. Do not be an unpaid intern for longer than 6 months! I think it looks questionable on a resume if someone has been an intern for a year somewhere.
Any good tips for a giving a great interview?
Be passionate and be knowledgeable – you would be surprised how often this is lacking.
Is there any advice you would like to give people entering the art world?
Relationships are everything, and do not be afraid or embarrassed to use your contacts. And, see art all the time.
Any other anecdotes about your working experience that you would like to share?
A wise colleague once told me “just start doing the job you want, and eventually they’ll give you the title.”
What is the best exhibition you have seen in the last year?
Gallery Exhibition: Jason Rhoades at David Zwirner, New York; Museum Exhibition: Bruce Nauman at MoMA.
If you could own a work by 5 different artists, who would be in your collection?
Donald Judd, Bruce Nauman, Henry Darger, Francesca Woodman and Vija Celmins.
What artwork is in your home office?
Works by Sarah Slappey, Molly Greene, Matthew F Fisher, Keegan McHargue, Margot Bird, Austin Furtak-Cole, Polly Shindler, Hannah Stahl and Jonathan Edelhuber, to name a few!
What is your greatest WFH challenge? Or a WFH luxury you don’t want to lose ever again?
Knowing when to stop is my biggest challenge and learning how to not make myself available 24/7.
What is your go to snack in quarantine? And your go to soundtrack?
Mint Milanos are GOLD.