Callie McConnico is a Sales Associate at the Amsterdam and New York-based gallery GRIMM. She was previously a Gallery Assistant at Gagosian. Callie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Art History at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY and her Master’s in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York.
What was the most important thing you learned at your first job in the Arts?
People will see how you do the little things and if you do those well, they will give you the big things. Someone gave me that piece of advice in my first job and it has never left me.
Where are you from and what is the arts community like there? How has your upbringing shaped what you do in the arts today?
I grew up in Austin, Texas. Austin doesn’t quite have the “power” of the art scenes in Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth but it has a few great institutions, Laguna Gloria and The Blanton among them. My parents raised me with an appreciation of the arts bringing me along to open studios, galleries, and museums. I especially enjoyed visiting Marfa and Houston and being able to see more contemporary works than were often shown in Austin at the time. They encouraged our engagement with the arts which I think they may have briefly regretted when my brother was an art major and I an art history major but we both turned it into careers so they have come to terms with it!
What attracted you to working in the Sales sector of the gallery world?
When in grad school at Sotheby’s Institute I met with a career counselor there and we discussed a few different sectors within the arts. She suggested that I try an internship at a gallery, and thinking it would be a good fit, she recommended me for an internship at Gagosian. I began interning there that summer and immediately appreciated the pace and ever-changing nature of the work.
What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the arts?
There are so many different avenues within the art market and just because one doesn’t work for you or doesn’t seem like a good fit it doesn’t mean that working in the arts isn’t for you. Keep trying things and keep asking questions.
What do you think defines a good employee? And what defines a good supervisor?
A good employee is often one who can see the bigger picture while engaging in the smaller tasks. If you understand why you are working on something, the way that you work will change. The supervisors who helped me see the context were the ones I appreciated the most and got the most from.
What are you most excited for this year at your company or in the art world as a whole?
Being back in the gallery and having people feeling more comfortable to visit and engage with the space has been a huge relief. I do miss going to museums and being the only one in some rooms, but having the energy back in the galleries has been infectious. GRIMM is at an exciting point, expanding its program and staff, and it’s been great to be a part of that. Being part of a smaller team has allowed me to work in different aspects of the gallery than I had previously, and I’m excited to see what we continue to build.
What is the best exhibition you have seen recently?
The Gillian Wearing show at the Guggenheim.
If you could own work by 5 different artists, who would be in your collection?
Agnes Martin, Liza Lou, Louise Giovanelli, Cynthia Daignault, and Jordan Nassar.