Carlo Von Zeitschel
Carlo von Zeitschel
Carlo von Zeitschel talks to ASW about supporting emerging artists and making art accessible to the masses.
Q. How and when did you become a member of ASW?
Carlo von Zeitschel: A friend in London sent me an invitation in the summer of 2004, recommending it as an 'improved Friendster.'
Q. How do you use ASW and what’s your favorite site feature?
CVZ: I use it mainly to stay connected with old friends who I may not see that often or to keep in touch with people I meet. It’s also great for letting people know about my gallery’s exhibitions and for a seemingly endless source of interns.
Q. What lured you away from Europe to move to New York City in 2004?
CVZ: I started spending more and more time there during my university years and fell in love with the city. After I graduated I spent a year living between Paris and Milan, but by the end of it I was already having New York withdrawal symptoms. In today’s world, New York has also become a modern day Rome. What better place to be based?
Q. How did you get into the art business?
CVZ: I've always been very passionate about art since I was a child, but never studied it formally nor thought I would make a profession out of it. I almost stumbled into it, after a brief spell working at Morgan Stanley in Milan. I moved back to New York and whilst job hunting and looking for something to do, I started helping out a private art advisor who a friend had introduced me to. I didn't really do a whole lot with him because I didn’t like the idea of trying to sell works by artists who were already super-established, for astronomic sums, to an older generation of family friends.
At that point though, I discovered I wanted to be an art dealer and thought it would be much more interesting and relevant to me to find my own artists and help launch and shape their careers; not to just sell contemporary art, but make it accessible and try and get my actual contemporaries more involved in the art world. I started looking around for my own artists to represent and before I knew it wound up with a small army, at which point I was going to organize a group show for them. I figured I might as well settle down and start an alternative kind of gallery, so I did.
Q. Are you an artist yourself?
CVZ: No, but I always get asked that question. Are all gallery owners closet-case artists? I'm very creative, but I haven't devoted much time to making works of art of my own, although I have many friends who really feel I should. I guess so far I've been too busy concentrating on the careers of my artists and mine as a gallerist. Let's see what the future has in store.
Q. What do you feel sets your gallery, and your approach to art, apart from the rest?
CVZ: A lot of it has to do with my personality and taste, as well as my general way of going about things with all its eccentricities. The exhibition space in Soho is itself breathtaking. It feels more like a factory or a cavernous artist studio than a gallery or museum. In a way, I'm trying to take the edge off the presumptuous air that many galleries project and make it into a more friendly and dynamic arena in which art can be discovered, cherished and lived.
Carlo von Zeitschel
Q. What were your views on the 2003 documentary, 'Born Rich', about heirs and heiresses, a series in which you took part? Do you think it affected the way people saw you?
CVZ: I'm not a fan. I never wanted to take part in it; when I was interviewed I was a freshman in college and had just moved to the States. I had no idea what it would be about and was under the impression it was a project for school. Little did I know it would wind up on national television. In any case, it’s water under the bridge. My friends and those I care for know me for who I am and that is all that matters. A couple of sound bites out of context don’t make for an accurate portrait of a person.
Q. What makes you happiest?
CVZ: Discovering new things and places.
Q. Tell us about the current show at your New York gallery.
CVZ: The artist is Patrick Smith and the show is called Configurations. Smith’s background is in film and animation. He directed the pop culture success show, ‘Daria,' and the Emmy nominated MTV series, ‘Downtown.' He’s also an indie film maker with five award winning films under his belt. See www.cvzcontemporary.com for more information.
Q. Where is your favorite travel destination?
Q. What is your greatest vice?
CVZ: Late nights
Q. What are your top 5 hotels?
CVZ: All Aman hotels and The Peninsula in Hong Kong
Q. What is your favorite restaurant?
CVZ: Coco Lezzone in Florence
Q. What is your favorite museum or gallery?
CVZ: The Met
Q. What is your favorite beach?
CVZ: The playa in the Black Rock Desert
Q. What film has had the greatest effect on you? Why?
CVZ: Dr Strangelove, because it never fails to put me in a good mood.
Q. What is your favorite book?
CVZ: The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham
Q. What is your favorite ski resort?
CVZ: St Moritz
Carlo von Zeitschel
Q. What cause is closest to your heart? Why?
CVZ: Stem cell research: it could be the key to curing so many afflictions and I find it nothing short of criminal that it’s not receiving the support it merits because of popular bigotry.
Q. What's one thing you would like to change about yourself?
CVZ: It probably wouldn’t hurt me to be slightly more calm.
Q. Which artist do you admire most?
CVZ: Francis Bacon
Q. What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
CVZ: I don't even know where to begin to answer that question.
Q. Who is your favorite historical figure?
CVZ: Mahatma Gandhi and Freud
Q. What upsets you the most?
Q. What is your favorite bar?
CVZ: The one in my living room
Q. What gadget can't you live without?
CVZ: My iPhone
Q. What are you most afraid of?
CVZ: Being helpless in the face of adversity, although that's probably when I'm at my best.
Q. Were do you love to shop?
CVZ: Everywhere, especially random little markets I come across in my travels.
Q. What's your favorite drink?
CVZ: Ice cold Moskovskaya vodka
Q. What are your top 3 songs?
CVZ: There are way too many! Off the top of my head: 'Along the Watchtower'
by Hendrix, 'Sinner Man' by Nina Simone and 'The Passenger' by Iggy Pop.
— Laura Jakobovits