If you’ve been attending art openings in San Francisco then no doubt you have probably seen Alan Bamberger taking in the shows. He’s almost omnipresent and we lucked out and got to ask him a few questions about what he does and his perspective on all things art here in San Francisco! We’re going to be making this a more regular feature on our blog so if you know of interesting folks that we can feature, let us know!
1) Tell us your name and what it is that you do:
My name is Alan Bamberger. I run the website artbusiness.com and am an art consultant, advisor, appraiser and writer.
2) Why did you choose San Francisco as your home base?
I moved to Northern California in the mid 1970s to continue my studies in psychology. Most of the innovative techniques were emanating out of Northern California at that time. I decided fairly early on not to pursue psychology, but loved the area and decided to stay.
3) And what are some of the trends you see in the art scene in SF?
The SF art scene is always energized and experimental. It’s a great place for artists to get a feel for where they want to go with their art. As for trends, I think the main trend I see is that more and more artists are calling the Bay Area home, and as a result, the opportunities to show art here and get involved in a very active community continue to increase.
4) You are extremely prolific in attending art openings. How do you maintain such a hectic schedule?
ADD, I suppose (attention deficit disorder). It’s hard for me to sit still for any length of time in any one place, so rather than fret about it, I use it to my advantage.
5) Is there anything about the art scene that bothers you here in San Francisco and/or nationally? Internationally?
In SF, I really wish more of the locals patronized more galleries and artists, and that they’d come to the realization that good art is actually worth paying for. There’s this perennial bargain-basement mentality here in town, and as a result, it’s been historically difficult to wring a nickel out of a San Franciscan for pretty much anything. Hopefully one day that skinflint mindset will change.
6) You work a lot with emerging as well as established artists – what piece of advice would you have for either constituency?
A few words will suffice here: perseverance, dedication, commitment, working every day, believing in yourself and your art, and doing what’s necessary to inform others as to what your mission and your work are all about.
7) Who are some artists that you feel are about to break out and/or are underappreciated and why?
I’ll tell you why I don’t answer questions like this. One month it’s one artist, and the next month it’s another. To see who I’m getting behind on any given night or week or month, read my SF art show coverage– www.artbusiness.com/openings.html . That’s about as close as I come to weighing in on who’s currently out front in the art race. An artist’s track record has to be pretty solid and consistent over a significant period of time for me to say anything with any permanency about it, and by the time that happens, pretty much everyone knows anyway.
8) What other arts do you enjoy (e.g. opera, music, poetry, film)?
I like ‘em all. Used to go to plenty of modern dance back in the late seventies and early eighties. And believe it or not, during that same time, I was a dance club junkie. Also used to buy standing-room tickets to the SF Opera back in the day. Poets and writers, perhaps not so much (seems kind of weird for a writer to be saying that, I know). Music, I hate to admit it but I’m a bit of a head-banger, or at least I used to be.
9) Curation itself can be an art form of sorts. Are there any curators that stand out? And why?
Like I said above, I tend to go show by show. There are so many ups and downs in artland, that putting my chips down on any single gallery, curator, artist or movement seems like a consummate waste of time, even in casual chit-chat. I much prefer letting history play itself out and then sorting it all out once the dust settles. In the meantime, I do what I can to document the action.