Robert Blumenthal is an art collector and gallerist based in New York.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I am a young gallerist and art collector. I focus on discovering and collaborating with young artists whose talent I truly believe in. I’m also interested in established but sometimes overlooked artists like François Morellet, Isa Genzken, Chris Burden and Peter Saul, with whom I did a show the last year. So far I have a gallery in the Upper East Side, New York, a neighborhood where the presence of galleries focused on emerging artists is not so high but that I believe has a great potential, and a project space in East Hampton, New York.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? As a gallerist I can be considered a pretty young one. I founded my gallery in 2013 and it is always a work in progress. A gallery is like a living being, it needs attention and care to grow. My main project at the moment is to concentrate on this. The space in New York is being renovated at the moment, and I’m very excited about what the new gallery will be like.
What is one of the bigger challenges you and/or other gallerists are struggling with these days and how do you see it developing? The art world is expanding enormously and the rhythm is getting faster and faster. It is of course challenging and stimulating.
If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? I look for something that can be conceptually consistent and aesthetically beautiful, and then try to make other people see what I see.
How did your interest in art begin? I’ve always been passionate about art; I started getting interested in it when I was pretty young. I took some courses in history of art in college in order to have a deep understanding of the subject, and started collecting soon after that. I also painted and still paint every once in a while. I decided to turn my passion into a proper job and to have an active role in the contemporary art world.
What are you really excited about right now? The future.
Tell us about your work process and how it develops. There isn’t a fixed formula. It is a mix of continuous research and a little bit of luck. Sometimes I notice a particular painting or sculpture during an exhibition or a fair and then get interested in knowing more about the artist and their practice. Sometimes I get in contact with the artist first, either directly or following some suggestions, and then get familiar with their philosophy and their work.
What were you like in high school? As I am now but younger.
How has living in New York affected your work? New York is a very intense city, and can still be considered the main capital of contemporary art. I find it very inspiring, thinking that my gallery is two blocks away from where gallerists and dealers like Leo Castelli, Betty Parsons and Peggy Guggenheim were creating a new concept of art, and of gallery; it is where contemporary art as we know it was born.
If you were a drink, what drink would you be? A Martini with a twist and olives on the side. Stirred, not shaken! Never shake a Martini.