The following post is part of a series of interviews with influencers in the contemporary art world.
Ann Moore is making waves in the art world. She retired as the chief executive and chairman of Time Inc., in 2011, after leading a digital transformation of the company. Ann was the first woman to hold the role of CEO at the company, but it’s her next move that is making big headlines. A long time collector and supporter of the arts, Ann recently launched The Curator Gallery last year in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood. Ann and I sat down to discuss her new venture and how she’s breaking barriers in the art world.
Brett Wallace: What inspired you to start the gallery?
Ann Moore: Art changes our lives and I believe we all have an obligation to support the creative community and artists of our time. The Gallery’s mission is to bring exposure to hardworking artists, as well as to educate and expand the pool of engaged, serious collectors.
BW: What did you learn most from your career pivot that you could share with other professionals looking to change careers?
AM: Take your time. Don’t be in such a hurry to do the next thing or you’ll miss the fun of the journey.
BW: Where did this idea to launch a gallery come from?
AM: I’ve been involved in the arts for a long time as both a collector and supporter. With budget cuts in art programs across the country and many artists struggling to make ends meet, I wanted to make a difference. I also saw in many trips out to San Francisco to visit my son, who is in the technology field, how bare his walls were! I began taking my son and his friends on art walks throughout the city and I saw the opportunity to be a matchmaker between artists and potential collectors back in New York.
BW: What were some early decisions you made?
AM: I wanted our name to reflect our brand and I did not want my name on the front door as many gallerists do. The Curator Gallery leverages “guest curators” to exhibit works on paper, paintings, photography, and sculpture by emerging and mid-career artists. Another decision I made is that I was not interested in creating a non-profit, but rather a robust marketplace that brings emerging artists and collectors together. Getting to know an artist is a unique opportunity that many buyers don’t get – we wanted to make the process of buying art delightful by connecting artists and buyers.
BW: What’s an example of how you’re attracting new buyers?
AM: Well, on Wednesday nights we hold programs that help collectors learn about how to start a collection or why they should consider supporting emerging artists. These events are attracting executives from Wall Street to the tech sector in an environment that’s not as intimidating as say a Christie’s or Sotheby’s auction. We also strive to really understand our clients and make the best recommendations we can for their collection based on what they love. By visiting their homes and showing them what art would look like on their walls, we help them develop a critical eye for art and imagine what’s possible with art in their lives.
BW: What was one of your most successful shows since opening?
AM: We had a print show that combined the works of living artists next to historical masters, such as Picasso. When artists walked into the gallery for the first time to see their work shown next to a Rembrandt or Jasper Johns, their jaws dropped.
BW: How are you measuring success?
AM: I want to sell a lot of art and help transform the careers of the artists we support.
With thousands of galleries out there today, buyers can go to a lot of galleries to purchase art, but The Curator Gallery is not selling only just art. Ann and her team are certainly selling art, but they’re also providing the experience of creating a collection and championing emerging artists in our creative communities.