Edouard Steinhauer is Artistic Director of the "Verge Art Fair," which made its general public debut at Art Basel Miami Beach 2009. I wanted to find out more about him and how "Verge" came about, so I contacted him. We spoke about his early development as an artist, how he got his position and why emerging art is the most exciting sector of the art world. Enjoy.
MICHAEL: Hello Edouard, thanks for chatting with me. First of all, what's your story? How did you get involved with art?
EDOUARD: After graduating from the Yale School of Art MFA program, I moved to New York, which at the time seemed like a natural progression for the
majority of graduates interested in actively pursuing a career in art. I started out working in media production and began exhibiting my work at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, International Monetary Fund and Black History Museum to name a few. Eventually, I began to organize and curate my own exhibitions around topics that I was interested in. Art Fairs became an alternative venue for exposure as an emerging artist and independent curator.
MICHAEL: What's your earliest memory of art? When did you realize you were going to art school and not law school or med school? (LOL)
EDOUARD: I grew up around art and became aware of it at an early age. In fact, I hardly remember my life without it. As an adult, I have always had my eyes set on working as an artist. Attending art school was an obvious progression, especially having grown up in the age of the MFA. I played with the idea of possibly a career in marketing, but only because I thought having some business sense would make me a better artist.
MICHAEL: How did you become involved with Verge?
EDOUARD: My involvement with Verge (www.vergeartfair.com) began serendipitously. It came down to a phone conversation that I had with Michael Workman whom I had met through a mutual contact. Michael and I reconnected soon after in New York and flew down to Miami together to meet with local galleries and survey the Catalina Hotel, the venue for Verge Miami Basel exhibition 2009. While we were in Miami, I approached Michael about creating a position within Verge that would be responsible for maintaining the integrity of the organization among emerging artists. It was Michael’s idea to make the appointment an Artistic Director position.
MICHAEL: What do you hope Verge will be able to achieve, especially given the current economy?
EDOUARD: We hope that our fair provides a platform for artists to succeed in an environment characterized by increasing complexity and opportunity. In addition, we want to become a portal for fresh blood and new ideas to an otherwise stale, blue chip market. We at Verge believe that the growing trends surrounding the economy point to emerging art as an attractive option for collectors who want to speculate on art and have fun in the process.
MICHAEL: I've always believed that emerging art is the MOST vibrant and exciting sector of the art world. Yet many, if not most people are SO intimidated by art. What do you think it'll take to change this?
EDOUARD: I would agree. Emerging art is truly exciting. For me, it's exciting because it comes with so much potential. I am inspired by the raw and fresh aspects within emerging art. I can see how some people might find that intimidating as well. People tend to be uncomfortable with things they don't understand. It really comes down to education and how much time you are willing to invest in the process of understanding.
MICHAEL: What's the significance of the title, "Verge"? How does the title reflect the fair's mission?
EDOUARD: Verge is an international platform for the most exciting and interesting in new and emerging art. Verge exists to establish boundaries of the extraordinary as a counter to the natural compulsion towards stagnation in the way art is evaluated and delivered to the public. Staying true to this necessary state for the advancement of art requires a sustained focus on the best new ideas and practices of those marginal or newly emerging to international art audiences. The satisfaction of this fixed requirement for a healthy and competitive artistic culture is at the core of Verge as an international exposition of the highest quality artistic production and the galleries, museums and audiences who sustain it.
MICHAEL: Am I wrong or did Verge use to be the "Bridge Art Fair"? What happened to Bridge?
EDOUARD: Yes, you are correct. Verge was formally Bridge Art Fair. Verge began as a subdivision of Bridge, dedicated to project and artist managed spaces. Bridge was dissolved as a not-for-profit. Verge became a for-profit company dedicated to pursuing the ideas behind what started the fair in the first place.
MICHAEL: Obviously, you've found a way to be part of the art world outside of your own work as an artist. Do you still create your own work? What does it mean to you?
EDOUARD: Yes, I still create my own work. I think creating work is essential in my capacity as Artistic Director - it keeps me connected to the artistic community at large. That is the sort of perspective I will be providing for the fair.
MICHAEL: Thanks for chatting Edouard.
Check out Verge Art Fair at www.vergeartfair.com.