Q&A with American Art Expert Peter Falk

Peter has been a leader in art reference publishing during the past 40 years. He is best known as the author of the biographical dictionary, Who Was Who in American Art. He is currently the Chief Curator and Editor of Discoveries in American Art, which is the only art publication largely focusing on bringing greater recognition to the lives and works of artists that were marginalized or slipped through the cracks of art history.

Peter Falk, photo by Don Leeds.

How did you get started in the art world?

It’s in the genes. My mother was an artist and went to RISD. At Brown, I was split between art studio and art history. I did my graduate work at RISD. Then I had no money. Zero. I liked poking around the antique shops in Providence and would pick up Old Master prints, becoming self-taught. I kept turning $20 purchases into $500 by selling them to galleries in New York and Boston, realizing I was becoming a “picker” a.k.a a “runner.” But I also knew that it was too tough to continue that route as a sustainable business. Fortunately, one day I found some drawings in a shop that looked an awful lot like those of Winslow Homer. I did research and tracked down the artist’s estate collection. Turned out the artist was a good friend of Homer but he wound up becoming completely forgotten. He was historically significant, having produced a huge series of on-the-spot drawings documenting the Civil War battles, post-war reconstruction, and the nation’s Westward expansion. This huge  collection had been stored away in trunks in a log cabin on the edge of the Vermont State Forest. I was stunned. The family was willing to sell, and in full bravado I convinced … Click here to read more

Q&A with Curator Robert Curcio

Robert Curcio, photo by Claire McConaughy

How did you get started in the art world?

I went to Tyler School of Art where not only did I study art, but I worked in the school’s galleries learning about installing, curating, and the business of art.

What advice would you tell your younger self?

Many in the art world talk a big game, but only a few can actually make things happen.  So don’t waste time with all the “talkers” and find the people who are actually doing something.

Do you have any advice for new dealers/artists?

If you don’t really love what you are doing and are willing to do the work, don’t bother.

What advice would you recommend to your clients?

For collector clients its about collecting what you love or have an interest in. Don’t just think about flipping and looking at the auctions, because if you’re chasing the auctions, running around to the “it” artist and all the hype, you’re not going to end up with much of a collection.

For artist clients it is the same, follow your own ideas, interests, and inner creativity.  Don’t rely on gallerists, curators, and others for your career; make your own career happen first.

For art fair clients, it will get better, and make the virtual fair as best as possible.

What projects are you currently working on?

I have two articles I should have finished, but have barely begun.  Curating two exhibits; one online and the other in real life, both for next year.  And, redoing my website.

What are your influences and inspirations?

When I was a kid I read all the articles, books, and interviews I could on Leo Castelli and Jasper Johns.  Even back then I knew I was going to be in art, … Click here to read more