We talk to MTArt‘s founder, Marine Tanguy, about supporting young artists and the winds of change that are finally being felt in the art world. Marine is a friend and fellow champion of emerging artists, and is shortly hosting the highly anticipated talk ‘The Next Generation of Artists’ at the Arts Club in Mayfair, Thursday 16th June.
ArtAttack: ‘How’ ‘Why’ ‘When’ did MTArt begin and how does MTArt benefit its artists?
Marine Tanguy: I co-founded an art gallery in Los Angeles at age 23. While I thought this would enable me to grow the artistic talents I strongly believed in, I quickly realised that the static structure of the gallery made me more a shop keeper than a talent advocate and enabler. Learning from the masters of talent manaement in Los Angeles, the city which is best at growing talents in music and acting, I decided to create a pioneering artist agency (MTArt)that would absorb the business models of CAA and UTA into the art world.In short, MTArt has a small team of experts who makes sure that our artists’ career gets furthered in every possible way: Francesca Andrews, our business development manager, engages curators, institutions, brands and academics with the works of our artists; Eva Kirilof, our communications manager, has been working in communications for over six years and makes sure that our artists and their practices are continuously engaged and enhanced in the press and on social media; Fabio Tronchin, our digital media manager, is continuously challenging the designs and display of the works online, on our e-commerce but also our PDFs, decks, branding decks and everything corresponding to brands and partners. I, myself, use my personal connections to further their integration into private art collections and oversee the development of the business itself. This is added to with access to legal advice from our lawyer, exciting accounting advice thanks to our accountant and a lot of other extras: for our New York exhibition last May the artist crew and MTArt team were flown business class to New York thanks to our amazing sponsor La Compagnie Airline, accommodated in a mad and exciting apartment in Williamsburg and with our artworks handled by our favourite shipping sponsor Flight Logistics.
Additionally to promoting the artists, we have raised an artist fund in the back of the business comprised of a board of four collectors. I have worked with these four collectors for the past few years and they not only act as an extra contact base for the artists (institutions, collectors and boards mainly) but also as providers of extra business experience. This artist fund enables us to support the studio costs, production costs and the non commercial projects of our artists letting them continuously further their reach, influence and name.Our moto is simple: How can we further the practice and legacy of a small crew of artists who are incredible both technically and conceptually? And that’s all we care about.
AA: Do you have a particular genre of art that you are drawn towards to help you chose or are you very open to a mixture of styles?
MT: As we don’t simply promote but also invest in our artists, the selection process is very high: we look for innovative artistic processes, a strong research concept (for instance our artist Lina Vikor works directly with mathematical theorems to create her works,Walter & Zoniel challenge existing photographic processes, Will Thomson revisits and engages the science of optics). We also seek a strong artistic voice, vision and work ethic: we only want visual thinkers and are terribly uninterested in decorative or decadent art. We take our artists seriously and in just over one year of the business going, we have already risen their profiles, their sales and engaged with established institutions.
AA: Tell us a bit more about the conferences that you are involved in organising and the type of speakers that you introduce.
MT: When I decided to go completely on my own and try this pioneering approach which had been stuck in my brain for a while, I realised how non-innovative and stuck in its way the field was. While all the other fields are embracing change, the art world feels so behind. All our conferences are now free and a way for our generation to gain access and knowledge into a new crew of forward thinkers in the field. I am part of a few forward thinking networks like The Thousand Network, which explains our tight relations with the recent development in AI and tech. I want my field to be progressive and to see changes as enabling better reach and bigger audiences rather than destroying art. Our next talk at the Arts Club (on the 16th June) does just this: with a panel of experts (Alastair Smart, chief art critic of The Telegraph Newspaper, Susanna Brown, V&A Museum curator and artists Walter & Zoniel) we will define the current economical context of the field and most recent changes to it. We will then analyse the most exciting creative responses from our generation towards these last five years of changes in London. This is very much aligned with the text we just released on the voice of our generation creatively: http://www.marinetanguyart.com/magazine/ (The Voice of a Generation).
AA: What should we look out for from MTArt in the coming months?
MT: A lot. As we just raised funds and returned from a successful exhibition in New York, we will go back and forth from London to New York to promote our artists and organise major exhibitions (our last exhibition in New York during Frieze and by Union Square was on 800 square meters and included ambitious art projects from our artists) to opening an office in New York by mid 2017. Our next major exhibition will be during Frieze London (October 2016). Meanwhile you will see us running around town, making sure that our artists, partners, brands, supporters and clients are happy. Our network is small but powerful and all we have to do is to keep it as happy as it is currently.