The Muscarelle Museum of Art thanks the Williamsburg Area Arts Commission for its support of our programming for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Artists have been creating since the beginning of human civilization. And as time has moved forward, the sophistication and commercialization of the market for art has expanded greatly.

This fall, our Muscarelle Explorations series will focus on the dynamics of the international art market. Through a series of lectures, films and a book discussion, we will explore the dimensionality of the commercial side of the art world, learning from experts in the realms of making, selling, and collecting art.

Collecting Art–A Dealer Shares His Passion
Joseph French, Photographic Historian and Collector

Joseph French spent his early years learning the art of photography, and then working with some of the most celebrated photographers of the time – Ansel Adams, Berenice Abbott, Wynn Bullock, and Paul Caponigro, among many others. He became a dealer in photography, and a collector. In this lecture, Mr. French will share personal accounts of his interactions with different artists and describe the ins and outs of the market for photography from the 1970s through today, his personal collecting strategies, and his perspective on what makes a great collection.

Developing the Market for African-American Art
Najee Dorsey, Co-founder and CEO of Black Art in America

Black Art In America is not only a multifaceted arts company and gallery, but also a cultural hub for all things that exemplify Black art. In this lecture Najee Dorsey will speak about the journey of Black Art In America to grow the market for art by African-American artists through a community first media and marketing strategy, and discuss the overall market, the importance of galleries, the process of finding and cultivating talent, and the value of collecting original art.

The New York Gallery Scene
Louis Salerno, Founder and CEO of Questroyal Fine Art

Galleries around the world present new and old works to those looking to acquire art – collectors, corporations, museums, and other institutions. New York City is home to some of the most important galleries in the world, and is a center for the art market. Louis Salerno is the founder and CEO of Questroyal Fine Art, a well-established New York gallery that specializes in American art from the 18th through the 20th centuries. Mr. Salerno will describe the market for art from the perspective of a gallery with a focused mission, describing how he sources both works and clients, and how he develops relationships with sellers and buyers.

The International Auction Market for Art
Samantha Koslow, Director, Business Development, Christie’s

Auction houses make up an important part of the art market, helping to determine the ever changing value of art by directly confronting buyers in a public bidding exercise. Auction houses come in all shapes and sizes, and several are prominent across the globe. In this lecture, Samantha Koslow, Director of Business Development and Head of Museum Services at Christie’s in New York, will describe the way an auction house works – how they staff and how they bring together both sellers and buyers in an open forum as well as the way they have adapted to the digital world.

The Artist in the Renaissance: The Dance with Patrons
Elaine Ruffolo, Art Historian

For centuries, artists have made their way through the art market and navigated fame with the help of important patrons. Sometimes patrons have been in the form of institutions, and other times patrons have been individuals or families strongly interested in the work of a particular artist or artistic movement. Noted art historian Elaine Ruffolo will join us from Florence, Italy for this special, virtual lecture that maps the dependency that existed between artists and patrons during the Italian Renaissance. The investigation will include the training and production practices that helped to ensure the flow of art from workshop to placement.

The Price of Everything
(run time: 1h, 45m)

What forces are driving the white-hot art market? Who assigns and who pays these astronomical sums? What currency adequately measures art’s value? The Price of Everything leads us into a rarefied labyrinth of galleries, studios, and auction houses to wrestle with these questions and explore what society loses and gains when art becomes a rich person’s commodity. With unprecedented access to pivotal artists and the market surrounding them, this film dives deep into the contemporary art world, holding a mirror up to our values and our times – where everything can be bought and sold. Nominated at both the Sundance Film Festival and News and Documentary Emmy Awards, The Price of Everything was directed by Nathaniel Kahn.

The Value of Art: Money, Power, Beauty by Michael Findlay
David Brashear, Director of the Muscarelle Museum of Art
Gary Ryan, Director & CEO of the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

Please join us for a virtual book club co-hosted by David Brashear, Museum Director, and Gary Ryan, Director & CEO of the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. Our featured book, recently updated, offers a lively and authoritative look at the financial and emotional value of art throughout history. The author draws on a half-century in the business and a passion for great art to question and redefine what we mean by “value,” addressing developments in this conversation since the book was first published in 2012: the rise of NFTs and digital art, the auction house as theatre, the pressing relationship between art and society’s fraught political landscape, and the impact of the pandemic. In this book, the author shares insider anecdotes involving scoundrels and scams, stories of celebrity collectors, and remarkable discoveries, distilling a lifetime of experience.