Arts and Culture / Beyond Michelangelo
Arts and Culture / Beyond Michelangelo
Nini’ Bonavoglia, hip, young and trendy art dealer/art advisor. At only 26 years old, is taking the New York art scene by storm/ "In New York the professional networking happens all the time. So, I could even meet a potential buyer chatting in a bar"
We meet Nini’ Bonavoglia the hip, young and trendy art dealer/art advisor from Apulia that at 26 years old is taking the New York art scene by storm.
He answers our questions with a determined certainty and exudes the confidence only a youth with real enthusiasm and passion for his work can.
What led you to become an art dealer/art adivsor?
“Everything started when I was very 'young'.
My passion for contemporary art grew in me while I was traveling in Italy and all over Europe, visiting Museums, Biennials and Art Fairs.
I was fascinated in particular by this world made of enormous spaces that smelled like paint and were made of great creative minds, some of which I had the rare opportunity to meet in person during that time.
I would say the enthusiasm of the people involved in the contemporary art scene was palpable and contagious, affecting me deeply.
At the beginning, I tried to work in the contemporary art field in different roles, looking to find 'my' own identity and role in it.
I used to write for different art magazines, I curated some shows and now I have finally found my role in the market as an art dealer and art advisor.
For me this is not only a profession, but also a hobby, it is always challenging, I never get bored and it really fullfills me on many levels.”
What exactly does it mean to be an art dealer and an art advisor? What skills are required?
"An art advisor is someone that a collector can fully trust in the long run, someone that knows the collector's taste, his likes and dislikes, his budget and guides him in choosing the best opportunities in the art market. It is different from the job of an art dealer or a gallerist.
The main skills are very basic: a good eye and great PR skills are the requirements to be a successful art advisor.
You need to know immediately if a work is worth it, if it is innovative and original and high quality, and to do so you have to train your eye by travelling and seeing as many art objects and art exhibits as possible to be always updated on the latest trends."
What is your role towards your artists and towards your collectors?
"I always try to involve the artists, especially the young ones, in different kinds of projects and I show their works to my collectors so that they get the chance to be included in some prestigious collections.
With my collectors I try to establish a relationship based on trust, so that they come back to me for a new sale. It has often happened in the past because they realized that I advised them to invest their money wisely."
What are the differences between your role and the role of a gallery owner?
"Compared to my job, a gallery owner has many more responsabilities.
He has a project and a vision that is explicit often through the choice of the artists that he represents; his object and focus is to promote and build the carreer of the artist, selling his works to Museums and Institutions, and that is part of a long-term strategy for them. On the contrary my role usually ends when the artist reaches a certain celebrity. My goal is to show my clients what is not yet trendy but has good potentials."
Who are your collectors?
"The collectors I work with are very often young professionals with very different backgrounds: fashion, cinema, finance, and so on, both Americans and Europeans.
They have in common a great enthusiasm and interest towards contemporary art and also they are interested in the investment opportunities that the market can offer, especially nowadays in a time of crisis in the financial and real estate market.
The art market has been booming in the last 3 years with historic records in the sales."
How did you get known in the contemporary art world?
How do the collectors or buyers get in touch with you?
"In New York the professional networking happens all the time. So, I could even meet a potential buyer chatting in a bar.
Very often it works through word of mouth...I already know a lot of curators, gallerists collectors and young artists but I'm still working on enlarging my network.
Maybe in 10 years, when I'll be 36 years old, if I keep on working hard, I'll be famous in the contemporary art scene."
Likes and dislikes of your job?
"What fascinates me about my job is to be part of the contemporary discourse. The art becomes for me a fun alternative for reading and analyzing the present.
I am very impatient by nature, so I don't like to be on the long waiting lists of the galleries and when it becomes very hard to buy an artist, then it means that I got there too late and I prefer to move on…"
Which Italian artists can be considered emerging in the international art scene?
"Unfortunately there are not many Italian artists that can make it on the international scene. Especially the young ones are noticed too late in the auction houses, when they are already established or part of history…like it is happening with artists like Boetti, De Dominicis, Pino Pascali, Dorazio.
The most famous ones at the moment are Maurizio Cattelan and Francesco Vezzoli…in New York City Piero Golia, Alessandro Pessoli and Angelo Filomeno work with exellent galleries."
Would you have any advice to give to the young artists that struggle to make it in the art market?
"My first piece of advice is not to get discouraged…if the work is good and original, the market will at some point respond to it.
It is important to follow the right strategies, to be known and to try and get accepted in the most prestigious schools or artist's residencies and not to believe in the myth that an artist can grow isolated in his own world.
That was true in the past, in Van Gogh's times, but today it is necessary to travel a lot and to be exposed to the world out there and to challenge onself and then chance of course plays a big role…I have been following a young English artist who sold all the works of his graduate show to Charles Saatchi; small events that can really change your career."
Any projects for your future?
I am working on an exhibit for an award organized by the Art Fair in Dubai. I hope to bring a very young Iraqui artist Ahmed Alsoudani to the New York art scene.
(Edited by Giuli Giannaccini)