If there’s one definition of “art expert,” Marla Hamburg Kennedy would singlehandedly fit it. After three decades in the art world, including time as a co-founder of a Chelsea gallery (Kennedy Boesky Photographs) and director of the Howard Greenberg Gallery, Kennedy founded Peach Editions in 2012, an e-commerce art and photography site offering affordable collectable works, and Picture This, a publishing company for art, fashion, and travel photography books. Beyond that, she’s a founding partner of Hamburg Kennedy Artworks, a private art advisory service. “We see it as an art salon, and each project as a partnership,” she says of that company. “Our function is that of a buyer’s broker, providing unbiased advice keyed to the client’s interest and overall collection.”
Kennedy brings all that expertise to Gilt, for a sale we’re excited to present: Starting Monday, Apr. 28 at noon, it features a hand-curated selection of both original works and prints from master talents like Hirst, Warhol, Gigli, and Arbus. (Yes, you heard those names right.) If you’re a collector, you’d best click fast. Then, come back here and check out these tips and thoughts from Kennedy:
What’s your focus at Hamburg Kennedy? My team and I are like day traders, scouring the world art markets daily to find the best photography and contemporary art from the ‘50s ‘til today.
What inspired you to launch Peach Editions? I have been involved with e-commerce and art since 1999 when I started what was to be the world’s largest ecommerce site for art, onview.com. Since then I have been immensely involved in every aspect of art on the internet both in e-commerce and curating, and it seemed fitting for me to do a site that was devoted to younger, more affordable photographers for an audience who are interested in having beautiful, affordable images on their walls but did not have as their main mandate a need to invest in art and buy art as a financial asset.
What advice do you have for new art collectors? Work with me (or someone like me!): an art advisor who can give them unbiased and free advice and guidance and help them separate the wheat from the chaff, to find work of art they love but that will also work with their budget and parameters — but will hopefully be a legacy for their family.
Talk a little about the selection for the sale… The sale we curated for Gilt is a wide selection of the best of contemporary prints, classic photography, paintings and mixed media pieces, highlighting both established and emerging artists. We have selected works in a wide price range to show potential collectors that no matter your budget, you can always find a great piece of art that you love.
Who are your favorite classics (fashion or art)? Andy Warhol for painting and prints. He is an absolute icon, but you must buy from very reputable sources; William Klein, one of the best fashion photographers, who combined a street aesthetic to his fashion work of the 1950s and is still very affordable; and Vik Muniz, a major contemporary art photographer whose work is affordable and extremely beautiful with deep conceptual and art historical depth.
You’ve published several photographic books of New York. What inspired you to publish your famous book, “The Twin Towers: An Elegy”? I published “The Twin Towers: An Elegy” within eight months of 9-11; as just that, a beautiful object meant to preserve images of New York and the Twin Towers during their lifetime coinciding with my coming to age in 1970s and 1980s New York. This book is meant to show beautiful images and have us remember the Towers as our beacon during the decades they were with us, and not mangled piles of steel; the other book, “Contemporary Photography in New York,” was to show how artists in the last decade plus have viewed this city, in sharp contrast to the 20th century image of New York being Manhattan symbolized in black and white in vertical skyscrapers. This book shows a horizontal New York that expands to the boroughs and shows a different century, and one that is now dictated by technology, which is represented in many of the images.
Are there any new talented photographers to watch? Absolutely, but remember buying new and young is akin to buying new and young stock options or real estate ventures; so it is riskier business but rewards can be good if you buy right. I advise always to buy what you like and if you want to buy young talent to combine that with more established artists. There are many photographers who are now showing in the contemporary art arena and are experimenting with technology. There are different ways to see what is new – one of which is follow the photography shows at local and national museums and NY MoMa has a Young Photographer’s Showcase.
— Maria Ricapito