Suzanne Julig is a fine art professional with more than three decades in the field. Through her business, Suzanne Julig Art Advisory, she has expanded her expertise to include Career Consulting, providing individuals with the tools to pursue and secure employment in the art world. Suzanne served as a member of the senior management teams at Christie’s Education and Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Prior to that, she was a Director at three New York galleries, specializing in contemporary as well as American and European art of the 19th and 20th century. Suzanne has placed pieces with private, museum and corporate collections, in addition to organizing exhibitions, lecturing and writing on a variety of art-related topics. She holds BA and MA degrees in Art History with distinction.
Where are you from and what is the arts community like there? When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in this industry?
I grew up in Northern New Jersey – just over the George Washington Bridge – so I had access to New York City museums from a young age. In college, I majored in Economics to start, but after taking my first Art History course I was hooked, and switched my major. An internship at a New York art gallery during my senior year confirmed for me that I wanted to have a career in the art world.
What was the most important thing you learned at your first job in the Arts?
My first job was as a tour guide at the IBM Gallery in midtown Manhattan, which presented only exhibitions from museums. I was responsible for fully researching each show, and I became adept at talking about art to groups with varying levels of knowledge about artists and movements. The schedule was intense, and I learned that I love working in a fast-paced environment, surrounded by art, and helping people engage with it.
What is something that inspires you in your career?
I think I have always been inspired to help people find an entry point into works of art and develop a greater understanding of the art market. Most recently, this has blossomed into my Career Consulting work, where I employ my career services training and my own experience building a successful art world career. Using specific, targeted tools and strategies, I help my clients navigate transitions to establish art world careers that are professionally, personally and financially enriching.
Tell us more about Suzanne Julig Art Advisory!
After a long career as a gallery director, I started my art advisory business in 2008. In recent years, I realized that although there are a few art world recruiters, there wasn’t anyone providing Career Consulting services to individuals employed in the art world, or hoping to be. I help prepare my clients to pursue opportunities in both the for-profit sector that includes galleries, auction houses, art investment, e-commerce and more, as well as the non-profit arena of organizations such as museums and foundations. Since my business grew out of my desire to assist collectors in navigating the art world, it was a natural transition to provide support to job seekers.
What is the best piece of advice you give to those you counsel?
I don’t know if there is one best piece of advice, but in my Career Consulting I emphasize the importance of nurturing relationships to establish oneself in the art world and build a fulfilling career. Statistically, about 80% of jobs in all professions are never posted, and are only found through networking, so that is key. In addition, one needs to have an effective resume and good personal branding through LinkedIn and other channels.
What is the best exhibition you have seen recently?
It is so difficult to choose! A few include Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, currently at Galerie Lelong in Chelsea, and (now closed) Cindy Sherman at Hauser & Wirth, as well as Louise Bourgeois: Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
What is a misconception about the art world that you wish more people would understand?
I think there are misconceptions around the hard work and challenges involved in having success in the art world, whether it is as an artist, dealer, curator, or in one of the many less-publicized sectors, such as development, logistics, insurance, and many others. I think the media focuses on the more glamorous aspects.
How do you think the art world can become more transparent?
I have always thought there should be much more transparency when it comes to the acquisition and sale of art, and now, as a Career Consultant, I feel it is crucial there be more clarity around salaries, hiring practices, and other essentials of art world employment.
If you could own work by any five artists, who would be in your collection?
Only five? A small selection would include Ruth Asawa, Derrick Adams, Joseph Cornell, Hilma af Klint and Do Ho Suh.