Art advisors have been around almost as long as collecting itself. One probably conjures images of a well-connected, educated middleman of sorts—the person who steers an important buyer to that Mark Bradford but perhaps not that Mickalene Thomas. But things are rapidly changing.
Take Juliette Premmereur, a former sales director at galleries like Sperone Westwater and Paul Kasmin, who left her plum position to strike out on her own. Now a consultant, her main clients are tech start-ups and digital companies who want in on the art world action. “I’m not a traditional art advisor in terms of advising private collectors on what they’re buying—I only do that on the side,” she says. “Rather, I saw the need for my skills in the digital landscape for art and design. That’s expanded since to some luxury lifestyle work.”
But pioneering and defining new roles isn’t always easy. For the most part, Premmereur’s work is solitary, which is why together with Teriha Yaegashi—her Columbia University pal (they met in art history class) and fellow art advisor who honed her chops as Takashi Murakami’s collection manager and now often consults with hotels, offices, brands and private clients on their art strategies—they’ve started a club for their nouveau kind: the New Art Advisors Alliance.
According to Yaegashi, the club, which launched in April and has a $250 annual membership fee, serves two needs. “We offer an exclusive, industry-specific resource database and events where members can meet each other and connect with industry leaders and collectors. These resources are meant to help each advisor optimize their businesses so they can operate more efficiently and take their work further.” A few features include the alliance’s website for posting news and spotlighting members, as well as a newsletter which will go out regularly.
Secondly, considering today’s lifestyle-focused world where connections and new projects can sprout from unpredictable leads, Yaegashi also thought the club could be a way for regular members to have a trusted sounding board. Naturally, there will also be some VIP events thrown in for good measure.
The club is already attracting advisors like Emily Havens, who has worked with both private collectors and institutions for more than a decade. “I like the freshness of NAAA,” Havens says. “There are so many spheres of the art world now. It’s hard to see everything and do everything as one person. I liked that the mission here is to have a home to collaborate.”
Yaegashi echoes the sentiment, pointing to her own career where she’s advised on everything from large-scale commissions to art-focused interior design projects. “We’re not the only industry to be undergoing change,” she says. “The idea is to stay ahead of what’s happening.”