14 Young Power Players Set to Become the New Art World Aristocracy
Glamour plus brains equals serious art world cachet.
Everyone knows the big names that are driving and financing the international contemporary art world—if you need a refresher, check out our Top 200 list.
But most of those power players have had decades to establish themselves, while the younger generation of collectors, philanthropists, and entrepreneurs are just beginning their careers as art world movers and shakers.
Some, like Paddle8’s Alexander Gilkes, helm companies that are changing the way people purchase and interact with art. Others, like Maria Baibakova, have become known for their philanthropic endeavors. They might not all be household names yet, but just wait. In the next few years, these up and comers may really show their mettle.
1. Taymour Grahne
The gallerist and collector landed a spot on Larry List’s Top 10 Young Art Collectors thanks to his extensive trove of contemporary Middle Eastern art, which he also shows in his eponymous Tribeca space.
At just 26 years old, Grahne has carved out an impressive niche for himself as both a buyer and a seller with a great deal of business savvy. “I look up to several people in the art world, both younger and older. In today’s world, age is no longer so important,” he told Canvas magazine.
2. Maxwell Graham
Another collector-turned-dealer, Graham runs the acclaimed Lower East Side space Essex Street Gallery, and is also an artist himself. The 31-year-old Renaissance man is known for championing emerging or “forgotten” artists.
“I don’t want my artists to rely on art to make a living,” he told W magazine in a 2014 interview. “I almost wish my younger artists would take after the older ones and disappear for 30 years. And, hopefully, I’ll be here for them to come back to.”
3. Alexandra Economou
Economou, a social butterfly often spotted at the art world’s hottest parties, is the daughter of famed collector George Economou.
Of her father’s five children, Alexandra is the only one who has enmeshed herself in the business of her father’s collection, and is seen as a potential successor. “I’d like to keep what he has done because it represents my father,” she told Artinfo in 2011. “On the other hand, I would like to create something that represents myself.”
4. Marlies Verhoeven & Daisy Peat
Verhoeven and Peat are the brilliant minds behind the latest buzzy art startup the Cultivist. The private club provides uniquely privileged art world access to members, who currently include a mix of hip, well-heeled young art enthusiasts in New York, London, and elsewhere. With private tours, intimate lunches, and studio visits, the pair is changing the way people—especially those in their 20s and 30s—experience and interact with art.
Both collectors with extensive art world employment history, Peat and Verhoeven conceptualized the company based on their own experiences. “We used to get calls on a weekly basis from young collectors, people from the tech industry trying to get VIP access to the art world, but struggling,” Peat told artnet News. “Marlies and I thought we have to go off and start something to help these people.”
5. Alexander Gilkes
Equal parts handsome and well-connected, the Paddle8 co-founder has become a fixture in the art world since launching the revolutionary online auction platform in 2011. Known for his ties to the Royal Family (Princess Eugenie is a former employee of Paddle8, while Pippa Middleton attended Gilkes’s 2012 wedding to fashion designer Misha Nonoo), Gilkes is also a talented live auctioneer. But his true passion appears to lie in upending how people buy and sell art.
“Our generation has become somewhat stripped of identity by the homogenizing effect of technology,” Gilkes told W magazine in a 2013 interview. “What you collect is the ultimate impartation of who you are. It’s the archive of your identity—it’s what you leave behind.”
6. Maria Baibakova
Baibakova, the daughter of billionaire Russian oligarch Oleg Baibakov, runs Baibakov Art Projects, a Moscow-based non-profit that aids artists in production of projects. At just 29, she’s been dubbed “Russia’s Peggy Guggenheim” by the New Yorker, and is as avid an art collector as she is a philanthropist and prominent international socialite.
“Through my selections—the very act of choosing an object—I am suggesting that it represents a part of me, and that’s very interesting,” she told Artspace.
7. Sarah Arison
Arison is the granddaughter of National YoungArts Foundation founders Lin and Ted Arison and the daughter of Shari Arison, who established the Ted Arison Family Foundation alongside her father. Sarah is intimately involved in the arts sectors of both organizations, and also recently aided in producing the 2014 film Desert Dancer, which focuses on an underground Iranian company founded despite a nationwide ban on dancing. Arison’s art collection champions alumni of the YoungArts program as well as other emerging artists.
“I love making a connection with an artist early in their career and seeing how their work develops along the way,” she told @60 inches, a curated online art sales platform she helped to co-found.
8. Pari Ehsan
Instagram darling Pari Ehsan has taken the online art world by storm with her carefully curated fashion and art mashups featuring the petite model in a never-ending array of couture masterpieces juxtaposed with apposite gallery, museum, and art fair displays.
With over 207,000 followers, an Instagram shoutout from Ehsan has become every gallerists dream—especially as Insta-inspired art sales continue to rise in popularity with tech-savvy collectors. Before she blossomed into an in-demand blogger, Ehsan was an interior designer and holds a degree in architecture.
9. Alexandra Chemla
After a stint as a gallery assistant at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, Chemla launched the app ArtBinder in 2011. Used today by virtually every major gallery, ArtBinder provides a showcase of works and aids in keeping track of inventory—a task that used to take Chemla herself hours to complete.
She has also become a fixture on the New York social circuit, and is known for throwing a lavish annual dinner party in the Black Forest during Art Basel. Chemla comes by her desire to revolutionize the gallery world, and she’s in good company—her father is the megacollector Alexandre Chemla.
10. Astrid Hill
A sought-after art advisor, the founder of Monticule Art, and the daughter of collector J. Tomilson Hill, Astrid has established herself as a knowledgeable connoisseur of the art market. In addition, Hill is one of four co-chairs of the Guggenheim Young Collectors Council, one of the most prestigious young collectors groups in New York. An art collector herself, Hill owns several works by Sarah Crowner, Jim Lee, and photographer Andrew Moore.
“While most art advisors…deal largely in the secondary-market and cater to an older client base, Monticule Art is creating a different model,” Hill told Artinfo. “We serve a younger clientele, look to both primary and secondary markets, and use sophisticated, web-based technologies to conduct research and to tailor services to our clients’ needs.”
11. Michael Avedon
The New York-based photographer—who also happens to be the grandson of famed fashion photographer Richard Avedon—has shot everyone from Julian Schnabel to Francesco Clemente to Audrey Hepburn’s model granddaughter Emma Ferrer. The man-about-town was featured in Forbes 2012 30 Under 30 list, and told Exhibition A that he is “very lucky to live with a few Calder’s, a set of Picasso plates, and a few pieces from up-and-coming talent,” including works by Paul Gondry and Curtis Kulig.
“What I’ve learned from the artists I photographed is that one must strive to work! The more you work, the better you will become! We must be fully devoted,” he said.
12. Kyle DeWoody
The daughter of collector Beth Rudin DeWoody and painter James DeWoody, Kyle is best known for her Brooklyn-based concept shop Grey Area, as well as her ubiquity at the art world’s hippest parties and events. The perennial It Girl owns pieces by Nir Hod, Shelter Serra, Anne Collier, Sylvia Sleigh, and Wayne White.
“Everyone has their ideas and critiques, but at the end of the day, you have to do what feels right to you, what excites you, and what you’re meant to contribute,” DeWoody told Musee magazine.
13. Vito Schnabel
As the curator son of Julian Schnabel and as the much-younger boyfriend of supermodel Heidi Klum, 29-year-old Vito is widely known not only in the art world, but also in the social, real estate, and business realms. After organizing his first show at the age of 16, Schnabel has continued to present buzzed-about blockbusters.
In 2010, he produced the first Brucennial in collaboration with the Bruce High Quality Fund, an organization with which he has remained involved. He has also curated shows at Sotheby’s S2, the Farley Post Office, and 190 Bowery. His penchant for gorgeous older women is overshadowed only by his surfeit of powerful connections, which led him to assist in brokering the deal between Aby Rosen and the restaurateurs soon to take over the Four Seasons Restaurant space.
14. Evan Yurman
The scion of the David Yurman jewelry empire heads up the men’s watches and watches department by day, but is an avid philanthropist and art collector by night. When he isn’t busy feteing the fashion world, can be spotted at various openings and museum shindigs, especially the annual Guggenheim Young Collectors party, of which his company is a major sponsor.
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