Kim Heirston is a private art advisor and founder of Kim Heirston Art Advisory LLC. From coordinating international exhibitions and presenting shows from Tokyo to Madrid, she has worked with clients worldwide helping to develop contemporary art collections for private and public investors. She talks to us about what inspired her to move into the art world and shares a little about her everyday life.
Please tell us how you began your career in the art world and as an Art Advisor and how you have gone onto to work with some influential people and artists?
I was surrounded by art since childhood. My mother painted, and had a close circle of artist friends. During my second semester at Yale, I took a course on art that was taught by the inspiring Professor, Anne Gibson. I had originally intended to study theatre. This course changed everything and I declared my major as Art History. I spent my junior year abroad in Florence, writing my thesis on magnificent frescoes in Santa Maria Novella by Ghirlandaio. From there, I jumped head first into the New York gallery world, working at Pace, Robert Miller, and Stux Gallery. During my time in the Gallery world, I watched a number of artists jump from one gallery program to the next. At the time, I found it deeply disconcerting. Building a close relationship with an artist is a beautiful thing and the ‘break-ups’ I saw were very unsettling to me.
I imagined my ideal situation and saw that as an independent advisor I would inherently have more control of with whom and how I worked. I choose the clients I wish to work with and the artists I support and whose work I place. I’ve had the deep satisfaction of working with such amazing artists as Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince and Damien Hirst.
A relatively new stint as Art Editor of 'As If' magazine has afforded me the opportunity to foster even deeper ties with artists I have known for decades such as David Salle, Anish Kapoor and Francesco Clemente.
Inspiring young women in the art world. Early on, my advisory instituted a internship program that has become very near and dear to my heart. I love seeing young women (and some men) flourish. Former interns have gone on to run important galleries, have prestigious positions in Sothebys and Christies and even start their own art spaces.
These relationships are an incredible source of energy, and a network that I treasure. Former interns reach out for advice and support at different junctures in their careers. I believe that I have in many ways made it more possible for a host of other women to pursue careers in the art world. This humbles me greatly.
What keeps you inspired in your work?
Hands down, the art-history!
What do you look for in emerging artist?
Its like hearing a completely new language. At first it doesn’t make sense, then individual words start to have meaning, then phrases and then sentences begin to connect. Its difficult to explain. However, when you see it, you know it.… the hairs on the nape of your neck rise.
What does strength mean to you?
The ability to persevere.
How does a typical day look?
Typically, I rise at 6:00 (5:00am when in Australia!). I meditate and take a walk, attend a Pilates session or work out with a trainer. I love to walk, it is a mediation in itself and I feel so lucky to have Central Park on my door-step. After breakfast, I connect with my office and prepare for the days appointments.
Usually, I have a business luncheon with meetings on both sides. My afternoons are filled with gallery visits, either accompanied by a client or on my own conducting reconnaissance. My evenings are a diverse combination of openings, dinners, catching up with friends and spending time with my husband, Richard.
There is an natural ebb and flow to the art season, as there are all with all seasons. Art Fair weeks are generally hectic. I can be at a show like The Armory all day from 11:00am, attend cocktail receptions in the evening and one or two Gallery dinners at night.
What do you do to unwind?
There’s nothing I relish more than digging into a good book, or going to the cinema… I am a total closet cinephile!
What are 3 foods you can’t live without?
Matcha green tea, almonds and salmon --- anyway I can get it. I adore salmon. It is rich in omega 3’s and makes my skin glow!
What would you like to do more of?
Traveling. This may sound odd considering how much I’m on the road. My business is based in New york, art fairs and biennials can take me from Abu Dhabi to New Zealand and christmas holidays take me to Australia, which i consider my second home. Still, I yearn for more extreme exploratory fare… Nepal and the Aurora Borealis in Antartica.
What does wellness mean to you?
Can you tell me 3 women who you admire ?
Three spiritual powerhouses:
Joan of Arc
and my Mom (and Mom’s everywhere)