The art advisor is a bit of a grab bag of roles—curator, interior designer, dealer, buyer. The line dividing these roles is ever hazier because the sole aim of nearly every art professional is to make a lot of money, and many of them do. Let’s think of advisors as opportunistic personal shoppers for the culturally aspirational, or, for those inclined to see their collections as a future financial investment, something like a hedge-fund manager, using art as capital.
The most common refrain of advisors, though, is that they provide “access.” “The most important thing an art advisor can provide is access,” the advisor Mark Fletcher told the New York Times in 2006. Brosseau reiterated this point to me in a brief phone conversation before her show aired. “I think the art world can be intimidating to people not in it,” she said. “And people don’t feel confident trying to enter into it. We’re hoping to inspire people to feel a little bit more welcome.” The notion of giving people access to the art world is the default sales pitch of a variety of recent art-world business ventures, most of them run by advisors like Brosseau and Gaffney, and it is both condescending and accurate. By selling the need for access, advisors merely perpetuate the notion of insularity.
All in all, not a terrible business model. As for the show, what can I say?
Wish we could watch this show, no telling what we might learn, but our cable provider doesn’t carry Ovation HD TV…!