‘Life and Art Are About Risk’: Plugged-In Art Consultant Gabé Hirschowitz On Her Vanguard Approach to Collecting
The founder of the innovative online platform Galerie Perrie tells us why she believes accessibility brings joy to collecting.
Gabé Hirschowitz is one of the contemporary art world’s most plugged-in young consultants. Born in Australia and raised in the United States, Hirschowitz has already honed a remarkable curriculum vitae. She’s worked as acquisitions committee manager at Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and advised numerous established collectors while spearheading the philanthropic efforts of the Young Leadership Board of Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services and UNICEF’s Next Generation Art Party. For her charitable work, she received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama in 2016. Through all of this, Hirschowitz says her career has been a joy, “I love bringing beauty to others’ lives in a unique and meaningful way.”
More recently, she has set a new standard in the art-collecting world by founding Galerie Perrie, an innovative online platform that combines the accessibility of internet art sales with the rotating curatorial practices of traditional galleries. An expert in décor and devising collections as aesthetically appealing as the pieces that comprise them, Gabé has the unique ability to connect with a wide range of collectors, from those acquiring work by widely recognized artists like George Condo, Yayoi Kusama, and Mark Bradford to those seeking works by up-and-coming talent.
“Life and art are about risk,” Gabé says. “And the same goes for curating a collection. In fact, risk-taking has been instrumental to everything I’ve done professionally. You have to be willing to take chances, combining lesser-known, emerging artists with established masters, because it is the unknown and undiscovered who bring a fresh and fearless new perspective that challenges the status quo.”
Have you always wanted to work in the art industry?
In college, I spent summers interning in fashion. My first two internships were for Italian Vogue and Teen Vogue. Then, I interned at Carolina Herrera, and every morning I would pass Andy Warhol’s portrait of the fashion designer. It reminded me of how my mentor, the late Nanci Ryder, would always encourage me to build long-lasting professional relationships in every industry: she knew from experience that everything and everyone is so connected—music, art, fashion, film—it’s all very synergistic. Creative expression is universal. So I started branching out into art, and the more I fell in love with it, the more opportunities presented themselves. It was an evolution. I will always love fashion, but visual art chose me.
What motivated you to open your own space?
It really came down to one thing: accessibility. I wanted to create an online platform for people to collect high-quality, well-curated art and photography. But the most important thing was eliminating that intimidation factor some of my private-collector clients and friends have said they felt when they walk into a gallery—because art should be about joy. So I wanted to bring collectors and artists together in a neutral, mutually supportive space that also benefited from my experience as an art advisor.
You live between New York and Los Angeles. In terms of the art market, these are two very different cities. How do you reconcile that with your inventory?
For me, the focus is probably more on how to reconcile a global art market with our inventory at Galerie Perrie because, as a digital gallery and private art consultancy, our buyers are all over the world. So a lot of energy goes into sourcing inventory that is as diverse as our buyers, but I’d also like to think that much of what we offer has universal appeal. Our artists each have their own individual styles, but their works are within various aesthetic veins and they live all over the globe, from North America, Europe, and Australia, to Africa, Asia, and Central and South America.
How do you choose the artists you represent? Is it a gut feeling or a more intellectual choice?
I know what I like at first glance and what will sell, but I’m also very interested in artists who have committed their lives to their craft. Plus, discovering emerging artists, connecting them with collectors and helping them develop their careers is indescribably gratifying. I want to know about their ideas on art, society and the world, and that they’re always evolving and growing. So of course I want eye-catching pieces, but I also want to know that they come from a place of commitment and perception. That’s the kind of art I want to work with and encourage.
You do a lot of charity work as well, how important is giving back to the community? Are the charities all related to the arts?
I’ve always been a firm believer that art collecting should be about more than just buying art. That’s why I was whole-heartedly committed to my work with the UNICEF Next Generation Art Party for five years and took overseas trips to volunteer with UNICEF’s development activities. I’ve also worked with Vista del Mar Child and Family Services for many years as a volunteer art and culture mentor because I genuinely believe in the importance of art education. Although the funding for this charity work is often connected to my career in the art world, these projects don’t always focus on supporting art initiatives. For instance, with the start of the Russia-Ukraine War, I decided to devote a portion of Galerie Perrie’s Spring/Summer ‘22 collection proceeds to World Central Kitchen. Their efforts to feed the millions of refugees displaced by the conflict are vital.
Which artworks do you have in your living room?
I enjoy collecting the works of both emerging and established artists and switching them out regularly. Right now, some of what I have up includes pieces by Robert Motherwell, Kenny Scharf, Jen DeNike, Alexandra Grant, Lillian Bassman, Gordon Parks, Aaron Sandnes, Joan Miró, Emma Kohlmann, Zahra Holm, Thomas Hammer, Joe Blaustein, Kyte Tatt, Sam Falls, and Kaws.
If you could have dinner with any three artists, living or dead, which would you choose? Wow, that’s hard to answer. I’d say… Mark Bradford, Frida Kahlo, and Andy Warhol.
What would you want your legacy to be?
I feel like I have so much left to accomplish! Let me get back to you on this one in a few decades.
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