Category: Features

David Kastner

Bonnie Richards Becker sat down with artist David Kastner and spoke with him about growing up in the Midwest, his constant experimentations of materials of the course of his life’s work, and his current phase that has a renewed focus on color and the process of painting.

“Finding that moment when the human mind is free, but before conscious activity develops consecutive thought, was a difficult mental space to understand, exist in, and use for the creative moment of expression..”
– David Kastner
David Kastner, photo by Gale Richards.

My first real recollection of art came from the Art Institute in Chicago. My mother took me to the Museum when I was about five years old. Seeing the various paintings, sculptures, and other media left a deep impression that persists in my life today. Before that, I only knew of my own love for making and building things. But there I first felt the effects of the many great artists who left their ideas for others to see. Without really knowing what the creative process meant, I knew I wanted to create.

While it is possible to reflect on early childhood development, attempting to identify when and how the creative process came into being in one person’s life, it is likely there is a more general creative essence in that person’s life, rather than a singular epiphany. For me, I knew early on that I liked making things. This meant piling sticks, digging, and making marks in mud, etc. These early renderings were a precursor for more complex mark making that became the pursuit of my life’s work to date.

In elementary school we had art class with pencils, paints, and clay – and all the other materials a small child needs to build their first artistic masterpieces. Inspired by … Click here to read more

Howard Shapiro

Art Review City speaks with New York dealer Howard Shapiro about opening his gallery, some of his success stories, and his unique approach to the business of art.

“My dream was always to open an art gallery. No other business would allow me to be surrounded by beauty and help artists get the recognition that they deserve.”
– Howard Shapiro, owner of Lawrence Fine Arts in East Hampton, NY
Howard Shapiro in front of Harriette Joffe, “Untitled”, 40 x 50 in | 102 x 127 cm, c. 1980. Photo courtesy of Lawrence Fine Art.

Howard Shapiro spent over two decades as a consumer finance expert on Wall Street at firms including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, so his friends and family were surprised when he decided in 2009 to pivot his career by opening an art gallery. But it turned out to be a winning combination: he brought with him an acute understanding of business and finance, and quickly evolved from art startup to standout.

Art was always his passion, but he took a circuitous route to get there. After earning his bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature and Art History at Yale in 1983, Shapiro was accepted into Yale’s PhD program in Art History, but his parents insisted that he choose a “real” career instead. Art was something nice to look at—and buy when he could afford it—but it wouldn’t support a family. Looking back, he acknowledges that his parents had a point. The art world would have to wait.

The Wall Street life was hectic, so when Shapiro and his wife Esther could afford to start buying for themselves, they originally sought artwork that was calm and soothing and began collecting American Impressionist works. The first work they purchased—and still own today—from a small outdoor craft fair was a … Click here to read more

Valerie Goodman

New York dealer Valerie Goodman speaks with Art Review City about her new gallery, and forging her path to freedom.

Goodman opened her eponymous gallery after a long and prosperous career in the music business. She began on this new path to the art world selling French decorative art mostly from the 1930s and 40s. Today, she works closely with a high-profile roster of artists who have been featured in publications from World of Interiors to Architectural Digest, and in shows from New York to Taiwan including at the Queens Museum and the Aqua Miami fair.

Valerie Goodman, photo by Karen Kolberg.
“Art is the way to freedom,” declares Valerie Goodman, a veteran dealer with over a decade of experience selling art and design in the Upper East Side of New York.

While studying for a master’s degree in literature at The Sorbonne in Paris, she became interested in the music world and quickly became engrained in that community. It was then that she first found her passion for interacting with creators and started to work with them to bring to life their ideas and goals. Scouting talent in her city of Paris, Goodman helped young artists get record deals. She was managing a group of artists, promoting shows, and this new career would bring her to the United States. Seeking to expand her reach in the world of art, Goodman sought out opportunities that were of interest: from bringing talent to the New York trendy music convention, the New Music Seminar to managing musicians, to distributing a French film by Claire Denis, and to developing opportunities for the Sam and Larry Shaw photographic collection.

In 2003, Goodman met a gallerist who specialized in French decorative art. She started working with him and discovered the treasures of 20th century decorative art. For … Click here to read more