Enthusiastic art collector and advocate Josh Kasper brings the hidden world of studio creation to light through live and virtual interviews.
Familiar with the concept of a studio visit? Many people are, but here at Art Basel and Beyond I take it many steps further. Before we get there, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Josh Kasper and I am the founder of Art Basel and Beyond. I am both an art enthusiast and collector. At the time I created @artbaselandbeyond, I was working in asset management at Goldman Sachs. So you could say my background is in finance. However, art is my escape from the competitive world of corporate America. I’ve been a collector for many years.
During 2020, I spent about ten months posting different pictures of artworks on Instagram. They were taken at the galleries in Chelsea, New York and many art fairs around country including Art Basel, Art Miami, Spectrum, Red Dot, Pinta, the Affordable Art fair, Art Expo New York and many more.
One day I went to visit Gallery23 in New York and was foaming over some of their incredible street art by artist Alex Smetsky. Then, BOOM! It hit me. Art Basel and Beyond needed to be about going beyond the art by stepping directly into the artist’s studio. It must both recreate the art fair and enable people to build relationships with artists by understanding their mission and technique.
Art is about not only being a part of a community, but also about building that very community. ~ Josh Kasper
To that end, I reached out to Smetsky and conducted my very first studio visit. Let me tell you, I was a real amateur at that point! I did however derive an incredible formula that has enabled artists to have a platform via my Instagram feed (most of my audience consists of artists, gallerists, art organizations and collectors).
So what was that formula? Super simple–explore the artists background and what led them to become an artist. Discuss the inspiration behind their work and where that inspiration comes from, all while showcasing their artwork and their studio. Here is the beauty in this approach: we hit both the meaning of the artwork, and because we showcase the art in the studio, we also discuss the process (unless that’s an industry trade secret).
My studio visits are dynamic. I always ask the artists what they would like to address and what is off limits. One time an artist admitted to having an affair, so needless to say we had to edit that out.
The other thing you need to know…well, I work with artists at many different points in their careers. For example, if you view my Instagram feed, you will see a pinned interview with hyperrealist icon, Carole Feuerman. She was kind enough to invite me to her Brooklyn operation to tour both her offices and her studio. We learned how she creates her larger-than-life pieces and discussed her background.
On the flip side, you will see studio visits with up-and-coming artists like Amy Shekhter and Roderick Hidalgo. The formula is the same, and because of the Instagram live feature, I conducted both virtual and in-person studio visits. This enables us to go beyond the art.
As a collector, I like to have a relationship with the artists. Through these studio visits, the audience is able to build relationships with the artists as well, which is a very important part of the buying process. I have one rule when it comes to the art I feature on my feed: I must genuinely like the works. I cover mostly modern, contemporary, pop and street art.
Quick story for you: I was filming an Instagram live interview with artist Karen Margolis, who has wild contemporary works that are composed of a series of net-like structures. It so happened that the staff of nonprofit Chashama was watching, and later reached out to me. This led to a great new introduction for me to explore the nonprofit world and general art community further.
Art is about not only being a part of a community, but also about building that very community. Through Art Basel and Beyond, I seek to contribute to the art community by providing folks with a direct conduit into the world beyond the art.