FineArtViews Interview: Mollie White -- Show Director for SCOPE Art Show by Brian Sherwin
This article is by Brian Sherwin , Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Brian Sherwin is an art critic, blogger, curator, artist and writer based near Chicago, Illinois. He has been published in Hi Fructose Magazine, Illinois Times, and other publications, and linked to by publications such as The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Juxtapoz Magazine, Deutsche Bank ArtMag, ARTLURKER, Myartspace, Blabbermouth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint and Art Fag City. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
SCOPE Art Show is one of the most notable of the mainstream global contemporary art fairs. SCOPE Art Show holds annual fairs in New York, East Hampton, London, Miami, and Basel. Total sales at SCOPE fairs have reached well over $100 million since the fairs creation nearly a decade ago. Mollie White, the current Show Director for SCOPE, offered her time and experience to FineArtviews in order to answer key questions about SCOPE, how the internet is impacting the art world, and advice for artists.
Brian Sherwin: Mollie, you are the Show Director for the SCOPE Art Shows in New York, Miami, Basel, London and throughout the world. Tell our readers about your position with SCOPE-- for example, what responsibilities do you have?
Mollie White: As the Show Director, my primary responsibilities include finding and enlisting international galleries to participate in the various SCOPE Art Shows. I will often travel to different cities to visit art fairs, and gallery openings, so as to research and find new galleries. Once the galleries have committed to the fair, I act as a liaison to the rest of the SCOPE team, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience at the SCOPE fair.
I also work with each department, whether that be our operations team, marketing team, or design team, in furthering the SCOPE brand and overall experience of SCOPE both from the perspective of a visitor and a participant. This would include anything from placing galleries on the floor plan, to reaching out to sponsors, establishing partnerships, or working with the designer on an advertisment.
Lastly, I work very closely as one of the members of the SCOPE Foundation Curatorial body, to create the programming, or Special Projects, if you will, of each SCOPE fair. For example, in SCOPE Miami, those projects would include our partnerships with APT, (Artist Pension Trust), Artists Wanted and with the artists who created the political mural.
I am very fortunate to be a part of a great team and to be working closely with Alexis Hubshman, who’s creative vision and understanding of the contemporary art market, has lead to SCOPE’s tradition in providing a platform for a dynamic representation of contemporary art happening now.
BS: SCOPE is one of the largest and most global art fairs at this time-- featuring artwork in 7 markets worldwide. Can you discuss the goal of SCOPE in general. For example, is there a unified mission from one SCOPE show to the next?
MW: The goal of SCOPE has always been to provide an international, innovation and dynamic platform for contemporary art. To offer the premiere venue for R+D to an international audience of art collectors and art lovers alike. Over the last 10 years, we’ve expanded on the traditional art fair model by coupling it with museum-quality programming and events, which draw interest from the creative community at large. We work to incorporate art forms that are often overlooked by other art fairs—by integrating fashion, design and music in new and exciting ways.
BS: In your opinion, what makes SCOPE Art Shows stand out when compared to other high profile art fairs?
MW: I would credit the unique and dynamic qualities of SCOPE to Alexis Hubshman, who as both an artist and collector, has developed a total understanding of art practice and what it means to present and show successfully in an international art market.
For me personally, I find SCOPE to be the place of discovery. Having developed its own tradition of risk-taking, SCOPE is the center for discussion surrounding taste-making and developing trends.
Lastly, I would also suggest, that by hosting art fairs in five international art markets, SCOPE has built a very international group of patrons, in addition to its participating galleries.
BS: Mainstream art fairs in general have received some criticism over the years. Some feel that the fairs weaken the impact of art as a whole by having so much art displayed at once-- in other words, some art fair critics are concerned that art fairs place too much focus on art as a commodity. What are your thoughts on that?
MW: I believe there are valid sides to every story. With that being said, I would argue that Art Fairs have carved out a significant role in how they have influenced contemporary art history. I feel that, like Museums, Art Fairs (both mainstream and otherwise) can be used or seen as an international reflection of contemporary art practice- providing a venue for the truly brilliant artists of our time. In the end, it is up to the individual and community to use the resources, whether commercial, academic, or historic, to broaden our understanding of art happening now and how that relates to the tradition of art history.
BS: Others feel that art fairs in general are changing the schematics-- if you will-- of the global art market too quickly, as if there are unwritten rules that art fairs are breaking. Those with ill feelings towards art fairs are normally gallery traditionalists who find little room for change within the art market as whole. With all of this in mind-- what do you have to say in response?
MW: I don’t believe that Art Fairs are responsible for the changing schematics of the global art market. In fact, it is just that- the art world is, and will continue to become, more global, reflecting greater changes in the global economy, as well as our use of technology and global communication.
BS: Some individuals are wary of the Internet and the influence it has had on the art market. That said, it is obvious that the Internet will have a huge impact on how the art world of the future is shaped. SCOPE has long embraced the Internet-- and now there are ventures such as VIP Art Fair and Art.sy on the horizon. I can recall when individuals within the mainstream art world scoffed at the Internet as a viable means of gaining exposure and selling art. That said, have you noticed a shift in how individuals within the core art market view the Internet? Are minds starting to be changed?
MW: As you mentioned in a previous question, there is a tradition in the schematics of art dealings; however, there are core principals of that, which can still be maintained through the use of the internet. I would say that the internet allows for a greater outreach and sense of community.
Having developed a strong following of young patrons,(who I would say have, for the most part, embraced the use of the internet), SCOPE prides itself on utilizing all of the fantastic tools that the internet provides- to reach out to these art enthusiasts, as they assume a more prominent role as collectors.
With all of that being said, I personally very much value the human interaction and dialogues that ensue when discussing and viewing art in person and, therefore, hope that the internet will not conflict with that tradition.
BS: Other ventures, such as MyArtSpace, have placed a focus on the importance of artist social networking-- while others, such as FASO, have placed importance on the need for artists to have personal websites to serve as the spearhead of their online art marketing efforts. What are your thoughts on that? Should emerging artists devote time to social networking? Should they utilize Facebook and Twitter? Should they have a personal website? Do you think a strong presence online will eventually be a key factor in how successful an emerging artist can be overall?
MW: Absolutely. Having a website as an artist is one of the greatest tools for self promotion. It can be your calling card, so to speak, a reference page to refer people to when discussing your art. MyArtSpace is especially interesting as it has established itself as both an extensive database, as well as a networking tool- connecting artists with curators, museums, galleries, patrons, art fairs, etc.
BS: What other insight can you offer concerning the art world we know today? What about predictions for the art world of the future?
MW: There are many components and layers to the art world; and I, therefore, wouldn’t attempt to predict how it would evolve as a whole. I would only reiterate that the art world will continue to reflect the evolution of the global economy, community, and use of technology.
BS: In closing, is there anything else you would like to offer? Perhaps you have some advice for emerging artists in general?
MW: Only to say that there are many resources at your fingertips. Organization and using those resources are going to be key in self-promotion and development. And good luck!
You can learn more about SCOPE Art Show by visiting, http://www.scope-art.com/
Take care, Stay true,
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