The art world has never been hostile to nepotism. In the 1500s, Tintoretto employed two of his sons and his daughter Marietta in his workshop in Venice; at the start of the 20th century, Frida Kahlo would have worked alongside her photographer father in his darkroom; today, it is not uncommon to see descendants of industrial dynasties posted behind desks in galleries, patiently awaiting their ascension. But while influence in this business has traditionally passed from parent to child, some recent disruptors have highlighted a new kind of power, and this time it’s all about siblings.
Years before the NFT craze, in 2018, San Diego-born brothers John and Charles Crain, along with their cousin Jonathan Perkins, founded SuperRare, an online marketplace for NFT digital art at a time when the format was relatively obscure. By the time the rest of the world caught up, SuperRare was already a top destination to connect directly with artists, and the company raised $ 9 million from investors like Marc Benioff and Guy Oseary.
âIn a startup, the co-founders are the most important thing,â explains John Crain. âIt’s what can make or break your business. Having co-founders like these guys who you can work with in good times and bad times is the best. ”
âWe were all friends, but we hadn’t done anything this big together,â Perkins says. âWe all stay very close. I don’t always recommend that people start startups with close friends, but we always have a good time. I think that’s what made us successful.
They are not the only ones. Recently, brother and sister duo Marlene and Lucas Zwirner (the offspring of gallery owner David), together with Bettina Huang, ran the Platform online gallery, which sells works by Aneta Bartos and Emma Kohlmann; in British Columbia, Aboriginal artist siblings Alex and Michelle Stoney were praised for their enormous works of terrestrial art made from found materials; painter Henry Taylor created works inspired by his brother, Johnie Ray; and documentary maker Cosima Spender is working with her sister Saskia on a catalog raisonnÃ© of the work of their grandfather, Arshile Gorky.
You don’t even have to live to be fashionable: the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris is currently presenting the breathtaking collection of Moscow textile magnate brothers Ivan and Mikhail Morozov, in 2018, Ida O’Keeffe, Georgia’s sister, was the subject of an exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art, and earlier this year art historian Willem-Jan Verlinden published The Van Gogh sisters, a biography of the painter’s lesser-known siblings.
Earlier this year, brothers Parker and Clayton Calvert launched their NYC Culture Club at the Oculus of the World Trade Center. Working with Silverstein Properties and Westfield, the duo took over unused commercial real estate and used it to create a platform for talents like Anna Weyant and Jason Wallace to exhibit in a gallery, but without taking a commission. traditional. In the first month of the inaugural exhibit, more than 8,000 people toured the space, a feat that perhaps would not have been achieved without the fraternal connection of the founders.
âWe couldn’t do it without the other, and we probably wouldn’t,â says Clayton. Parker adds: âWe have a great working relationship because he’s someone I trust implicitly. We expect and get honest feedback from each other and trust the decisions the other makes.
For all the work that each brother puts into the project, the fact that they do it together is what pays the most dividends. âAt the end of the day, we do it together,â Clayton says, âwhich is my favorite part.â
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