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3.30.2010

Robert Goff, art dealer

Good evening contemporary art lovers!
I am very glad and proud to introduce to you Robert Goff who is a contemporary art dealer and whose the gallery is located on the 23rd street in Chelsea. He is one of the first person that I really have met in New York working in the art market and he is the one who has given me a chance to work with...

Dear Robert, could you please introduce yourself and explain us how you got into the art market. Was your family working on or not? What studies did you do?...

"My name is Robert Goff and I own a gallery in Chelsea of the same name. I grew up in Minneapolis in the early 1970s going frequently to museums like the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. My father was interested in art and my parents collected a bit. And I liked to draw and attempt to make art myself so I was always interested in anything visual. I tried to buy my first work of art when I was ten years old but my parents thankfully said no. I ended up studying literature and when I got my first job in New York it was as a journalist for Forbes Magazine. When the position opened to write about art collecting and the auction market I jumped at it. After that I worked for some internet companies related to the art world and eventually started my own gallery with a partner about seven years ago. At the end of the day I really am interested in the art object and the conversation that can happen around it."

For those who may don't know, could you explain what are the differences between the first and the second market and what is the place taken by the gallery?

"The "primary" market is what a gallery like mine does. I represent 12 artists and sell their work to collectors and museums. This initial sale of a piece from a gallery to it's first buyer is the "primary"sale. A secondary sale occurs when the piece is resold - even if a work is resold 20 times it's called a secondary sale. The "secondary" market refers to all works that are resold over time - obviously this includes Picassos and Warhols but also some very young artists as well. Secondary market sales are conducted by galleries, individual dealers and collectors and auction houses."

Are you specialized in any particular movement and who are the artists whom you exposed?

"In my dealings as a primary gallery I am focused on international significant emerging artists who have a very strong grounding in technique and skill - whether that's painting, drawing, photography or filmmaking. I am less interested in artists that make work that looks shoody, whether they claim that's deliberate or not. Kevin Francis Gray reimagines classical sculpture through a contemporary lens, Melanie Manchot makes subtle photo and video portraits of individuals as they relate to larger groups and society, Simon English makes exquisitely perverse drawings that dance out of his subconscious, Ahmed Alsoudani's visceral paintings slam the viewer with images of a world in wartime agony, Isca Greenfield-Sanders makes quiet but deeply felt paintings about the American experience, Oliver Pietsch makes brilliant montages from the history of film that draw out universal themes of love, betrayal, dreams  and nightmares and despair, Scott Hunt's perfectly rendered charcoal drawings are dark, humorous explorations of the myths and traditions of American society, Iona Rozeal-Brown has created a new cosmology of characters in her paintings that reimagines hip hop, Japanese and African-American culture, Titus Kaphar's paintings really undoes both physical and historical traditions of painting, Suzanne Kuhn makes and solves complicated problems presented by painting on canvas, Type A is a collective of two New York males who explore the truths and excesses of masculinity and competition through sculpture, installation, performance and photography and Ain Cocke makes some of the most technically gorgeous portraits anywhere today."

What did you think about the art fairs and what is your opinion about the evolution of the market?

"Art fairs are important but to be indulged in with moderation. At their best fairs will introduce you to new collectors and curators and enable sales and at the worst they're an expensive waste of time. I am personally really excited by really high quality fairs that are in new and emerging regions of the world. We had a great time doing Art Dubai last year and I'm excited to participate in Art Hong Kong in May. THese are both places in the world where collecting contemporary art is relatively new and people are excited about it - conditions which make it both fun and good for business."

What kind of advice would you give to a young art dealer?

"First, be totally honest in all your dealings. Second, when you make a sale pay your artists before you pay yourself. Third, look before you leap-test out the waters with artists before you sign them, really evaluate a fair before you sign up for it and don't follow the herd."

Thank you, Robert, having answering to those questions!! Good luck for the Hong Kong fair...
To those who frequently wander in Chelsea, stop by Robert's gallery!

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