10 questions with Independent Curator and Art Advisor Anna Hygelund

September 14, 2022
6 min read
Portrait of Anna Hygelund

Can you share your background and your journey into the Artworld?

I've spent over a decade working in the contemporary art world. Prior to founding T8 Partners in New York, I worked across galleries, museums, and auction houses in California, New York and London. This allowed for an in-depth understanding of the artworld’s unique ecosystems and how they work together. It also provided me with the experience to operate confidently in a global market across primary and secondary markets.

Please tell us a more about T8 Partners and how your firm differs from other Art Advisory firms

T8 Partners is a full service art advisory firm in that we help our clients with every aspect related to building and maintaining a fine art collection. We actively work with private and corporate clients across the United States and The Bahamas. I would say our firm differs from other art advisors in that we don’t forward pdfs. Quite the opposite, we flag specific works by specific artists. I’d like to think we have a sniper’s eye rather than a shotgun approach to advising. We also work transparently in partnership with galleries and museums. Because of this, we have been instrumental in securing institutional placements for emerging artists, in many occasions, their first important museum acquisition. 

In your opinion, what makes a good Art Advisor? 

There is no substitute for experience and having a good eye and network. Also professionalism. Being straightforward and doing things in the timeframe you said you would do them in is really basic and somehow alludes to a lot of advisers I’ve found. I also like to think of client relationships as partnerships in that rising tides raise all ships. Everyone should be winning if I’m doing my job correctly.

How do you think the art world has changed in the last five years? 

1. It’s faster and more global/competitive. The requirement to immediately commit to a work site unseen is the norm. 5 years ago this was not something you necessarily had to do in order to secure a work. 2. It’s more trend and investment driven. 3. Focus on the artist’s bio over the actual work. 

How do you scout out new artists? 

Artist and colleague referrals, fairs, emerging gallery programs I admire, and instagram. 

What about their work gets you to look further? 

The strength of the work or the quality of the recommendation.

How has navigating the art world been like for you ? What have been some of the challenges, if any?

The ability to handle difficult people and personalities has definitely been a challenge. Eventually you develop the muscle for it and it gets easier to de-personalize bad behavior. These days, I’d say my main challenge has to do with accessing multiple works by the same artist. When I find an artist I really like, it’s often not possible to offer it to every collection I’m working on. Like most challenges, however, they usually make you better. Strict access forces me to be that much more thoughtful and strategic about what I offer and to who.  

What advice would you give NFT collectors looking to start a physical art collection? 

My unvarnished advice is to work with a good and honest adviser. You’ll go further faster with fewer pitfalls. No sherpa, no summit is my motto!

You have very good relationships with artists and have curated group shows with very promising and established talent. Can you share more on the curating aspect of your work?

t’s very personal for me. I work with artists I know and in many ways have been collecting and placing their work for some time. In other words, I have to be passionate about the work or it just doesn’t go anywhere for me. I also like to look at under-recognized artists because championing an artist that is already at a top tier gallery isn’t very rewarding for me or the artist. For example, I organized a solo show for Oliver Lee Jackson in NY in 2018, which was his first show in NY in over 25 years. I also love to exercise my art history degree and consequently have done a number of more historical shows in partnership with Estates, including Elizabeth Catlett, Peter Voulkos, and Arthur Monroe.

I have organized shows in the US and Europe. They have been reviewed in publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, Artforum, Hyperallergic, The Wall Street Journal, ARTnews, The San Francisco Chronicle, HuffPost, and Artnet News. 

installation view of shady beautiful at malin gallery featuring 2 works, one an abstract blue painting and the other a blue sculpture
Install shot from Shady Beautiful, a group exhibition curated by Anna Hygelund at Malin Gallery, New York, 2021. Works by Joseph Hart and Dorian Gaudin.
Installation view, Shady Beautiful at Malin Gallery. Works by Aaron Young, Iván Navarro and Oliver Lee Jackson.
Install shot from Shady Beautiful, a group exhibition curated by Anna Hygelund at Malin Gallery, New York, 2021. From left to right: Works by Aaron Young, Iván Navarro and Oliver Lee Jackson
Install shot from Laddie John Dill: Light is the Object, curated by Anna Hygelund at Malin Gallery, Aspen, CO. January 6- February 20, 2022
Install shot from Laddie John Dill: Light is the Object, curated by Anna Hygelund  at Malin Gallery, Aspen, CO. January 6- February 20, 2022

What are the three most important things to know when it comes to collecting art

  1. Have a purpose for collecting and clearly understand what that is so you can be focused and decisive.
  2. Develop your taste so you have the ability to resonate with a work. You’re missing the point if you can’t connect with a work on a deep/non superficial level.
  3. A collector is a custodian to a work of art. Therefore it is important to understand that collecting is a commitment and, like all commitments, it requires time, focus and responsibility.

Can you share 3 artists currently on your radar ? 

Kinga Bartis-I recently discovered Kinga’s work at Enter Art Fair at Nicolai Wallner, a gallery based in Copenhagen, Denmark. I love the sense of motion and flow in her paintings. They remind me somewhat of William Blake’s work in that there is a whole other world going on inside them. I also appreciate the dichotomous imagery and emotions at play; they can be both sensual and unnerving for example.

Kinga Bartis, Charming mirage, the nameless is still yet to tickle (2022), Charcoal on canvas, 200 x 250 cm. Courtesy of the Artist

Alteronce Gumby- As someone who curates and collects Light and Space work, I see Alteronce as an artist whose practice is directly in conversation with this movement. His gemstone paintings activate differently depending on the light in the room and the angle from which you observe them. They are beautiful phenomenological experiences of color.

Alteronce Gumby, Amazing Grace, 2021 Gemstones, painted glass, & acrylic on wood panel, 182.9 × 182.9 cm. Courtesy of the Artist and Bode Projects

Lenz Geerk - Is one of my favorite figurative artists in the world known for making paradoxical paintings that explore physical intimacy and psychological distance. I've never seen a painting by this artist that didn't stop me in my tracks. His recent solo show at Roberts Projects in LA is in my top 5 shows of 2022.

Lenz Geerk, Falcon, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, (160 x 120 cm. Courtesy of the Artist and Roberts Projects.
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