01 May Interview to Marta Gnyp
Interview to Marta Gnyp
My goal was to speak to the artists and other individuals in the art world that have significantly contributed to what we consider to be great art today.
Marta Gnyp is Dutch art historian with business background, active as international art advisor, gallerist and author specialized in post-war and contemporary art. As insider of the art world she also regularly contributes to theoretical investigations of the art world.
Her book “The Shift. Art and the Rise to Power of Contemporary Collectors” based on her PHD research at the University of Amsterdam forms the first systematic academic study on contemporary collecting and has been used by many universities when teaching about collecting activities. The second edition of the book has been released in November 2020. Gnyp’s other books on art and artists are “Made in Mind” (2014, Art and Theory Publishing) “You, Me and Art” (2019, Skira Publishers).
You are the author of several books published by Skira. What is it like seeing your own research historicized in volumes of this kind?
The field of post-war and contemporary art has become extremely exciting. The art world opened up and has become global; there is great art being made and we are in the middle of rewriting the Western art historical canon. I’m lucky because I could observe the shifts from an academic perspective (my PHD was about contemporary art collecting), but at the same time I am an insider: I work with collectors, am active in the art market and collect contemporary art myself. This is a unique position because dealers don’t want to carry out research, and academicians don’t want to deal. Skira immediately understood that these multiple perspectives could add to the understanding of contemporary art. The in-depth interviews in You, Me and Art are first-hands reflections from artists, collectors and market-specialists on their experiences and thoughts, whereas The Shift that attempts to analyze our art world from a broader perspective of history and theory. I hope that in the future these books will help grasp the ways in which we, as societies and individuals, have valued art and thought about our culture at large.
You, Me and Art: Artists in the 21st Century is a volume composed entirely of artist interviews. What criteria did you follow in selecting the artists for this volume?
My goal was to speak to the artists and other individuals in the art world that have significantly contributed to what we consider to be great art today. Notwithstanding my wish to be as impartial as possible, I realize that my selection was ultimately a subjective choice of people I personally admire. There could be different reasons for this: the quality of their art, their remarkable personalities, their place in art history and their role in formulating the rules of today’s contemporary art world.
The Shift: Art and Rise to Power of Contemporary Collectors inserts itself into your series of publications; what does it aim to tell?
The Shift was based on my PHD research on Western contemporary art, art collectors and their behavior. It is the first book that investigates this subject in a systematic wayand owes much to the social distinction theory of Pierre Bourdieu. I applied different methodological approaches and data that I could gather from my position as an insider in the art world. This is not a book about how to collect art; this is a book that places collecting in a historical perspective, speaks about the changes in contemporary art, tries to analyze what collectors are doing when buying and selling art, and why they are. I wanted to discover the artistic, social, cultural and financial motivations behind people that enter the art world. The Shift is the result of this fascinating journey.