Name: Â Claire Breukel
Current Company: Â ICArt, Miami
Current Position: Â Director of Projects
Previous positions of note:Â Executive Director, Locust Projects
Â· How did your interest in the business of art begin?
I am fascinated with what incentivizes artists to make work. When I was growing up I lived next to a Belgian artist, Jan Vermieren, and I would watch him paint. He had a dark, deep palette and would paint fantastical dream scenes and I always wandered where they came from, why he made them and what made him keep doing them. As for the business of art- Iâ€™ve never been interested in the business/marketing side but I think itâ€™s important to have an understanding of it.
Â· Why did you decide to become a gallerist/curator, rather than an artist?
It decided for me. I was a photography student and volunteered at the South African Center for Photography part time. When I graduated they invited me to curate the Cape Town Month of Photography biennale. It was a huge project and I was fresh out of university so I hit the ground running. Since then one thing has led to another.
Â· Do you have a history of gallery work? If so, what other galleries have you worked for or owned?
Iâ€™ve been lucky to work with a few non-profits including Locust Projects, ArtCenter SF, and Association for Visual Arts in Cape Town. I was also co-curator for two years for the Brett Kebble Art Awards in South Africa and started an informal space called Shot Gallery with my brother Kenneth.
Â· How did you get started at Locust Projects?
The chairperson at the time mentioned the position to me and as a huge fan of the organization I applied immediately. I went through the interview process and got really excited about the opportunities the position offered.
Â· How did the new position come about?
I had worked previously with the ICArt Director and was lucky enough to be offered a great position with the company helping start a new program.
Â· Do you have a specific artistic vision or style?
I never thought I had but Iâ€™ve realized through the course of curating and working with a number of non profits that I have a specific idea of what kind of art I feel is relevant and exciting. The fact that I feel like art needs to be relevant is in itself an indication of my style. I donâ€™t like labeling but to define what Iâ€™m attracted to I would say satire and work that is transformative- often taking found objects and making something new. But I realize that art has many different functions and there is a place for all of us in it.
Â· Who is your favorite artist ever? Who is your favorite current Miami artist?
Wow… ever? I have to name a few for different reasons and functions: Nan Goldin (real and prolific), South African artist Cameron Platter (edgy and speaks to my own experience) and another South African Marlene Dumas (for just being a genius) As for Miami, again wow! Thatâ€™s a hard one as there are so many creative people here. I look forward to Bert Rodriguez’ exhibitions, Tom Scicluna, Kerry Phillips, Susan Lee Chun, Clifton Childree and Trian Burbank.
Â· What are your goals for your career in the arts?
Donâ€™t take it too seriously.
Â· Have you seen any effects of the economic downturn this past year?
Yes, but itâ€™s a good thing. Focusing on the upside itâ€™s going to rationalize the market and give incentive to make work that is better in order to make the sale. Hopefully this will provide room for more creativity.
Â· From your past experiences showing at art fairs, how have those experiences gone for you?
Iâ€™ve shown at Milwaukee art fair and Pulse and I wouldnâ€™t call it shown as both were installations. I think art fairs are a challenge. You have a mini-space to create something and the problem is all the restrictions of the booth and the environment. Inevitably the gallerist becomes the curator becomes the artist in this kind of setting, which dis-empowers the artwork. And personally I think the fourth day of sitting in a booth is like watching paint dry.
Â· What would you say is the one most important idea for an artist to know when it comes to getting recognized by a gallery?
Itâ€™s like a marriage – know what the gallery specializes in and make sure the relationship is reciprocal. Understand your role- what you are supposed to and not supposed to deliver and visa versa. Like a relationship, you donâ€™t want to get in to something and then get stuck.