From the Associates’ Point of View
A look at the over 30 year history of Katharine T. Carter & Associates, as told by the Associates. They work as a team to develop and promote fine artists, creating marketing packages, setting up museum and gallery exhibitions and press opportunities. Here are their thoughts on the company.
For as long as I have known about (much less worked with) Katharine T. Carter & Associates, it has surprised me that no other individual or organization offers artists this range of services. There are many artists’ agents out there, and at least a few of them have developed effective in-depth programs for advancing their clients’ careers. But none has designed, much less achieved, the program sophistication, service integration, and market penetration for which KTC has become so noted. Perhaps no one else can provide such a thorough program. Given her dual careers as artist and businesswoman, it should come as no surprise that Katharine Carter could conceive of such a complete service structure for artists. But the program’s sensitivity to the needs of audiences as well as artists makes it that much more valuable to its clientele. If, as Duchamp averred, “The viewer completes the work of art,” then reaching the art audience completes the artist’s mission. Matters of sale are not neglected; but KTC concentrates on matters of profile, creating solid reputations by arranging exhibitions and contact with critics, curators, gallerists, and other art-world middlemen and –women. For the serious artist these matters are what matter: they spur artistic growth (and, not incidentally, sales and sale prices). KTC is one-stop shopping and consumer advice all in one – on a gourmet level.
Peter Frank is an internationally-recognized curator, art critic and editor. Currently the associate editor of Fabrik Magazine, and art critic for Angeleno magazine and LA Weekly, he previously served as senior curator at the Riverside Art Museum (CA) and as art critic for The Village Voice and The SoHo Weekly News (NYC). Over many years Frank has worked with theme and survey exhibitions in prestigious venues such as The Guggenheim Museum, Independent Curators, Inc., The Alternative Museum and Artists’ Space (NYC); Museo Reina Sofia (Madrid, Spain); Documenta (Kassel, Germany); and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, and Otis Museum (Los Angeles, CA). Frank has published numerous books and catalogues, the latest a monograph on Robert De Niro, Sr.
Over almost fifteen years of working with Katharine T. Carter both as an art critic and a press materials author, I’ve had the experience of seeing how her work helps artists on several different levels. On one level, Katharine T. Carter provides basic information which helps artists get a sense of the lay of the land in the field they wish to enter into or pursue a career in. In the ever-changing art market, having up-to-date and inside information is no small task. On a second level, Katharine T. Carter’s expertise in using that information to make decisions about whom to approach for the work greatly increases the odds for acceptance of the artist’s work. In this area, Katharine T. Carter acts somewhat like an agent—and in itself is of inestimable value to an artist, as opening doors is something most artists, more often concerned with goes on behind the closed door of their studio, have little skill in doing. On a third level, the level of preparing public relations or press materials, the emphasis has to be still more targeted. In a crowded market and busy world, an artist must come to the gallerist with a simple, clear and bold idea about the work that will have a chance for catching that person’s attention. While the artist’s work may be multifarious and complex–and there are other avenues in which that complexity can be appreciated–the purpose of publicity is to simplify, clarify and target. Artists may resist such “packaging” and it is one of Katharine T. Carter’s extra skills that she makes this process as painless as possible. She shows a high level of expertise in knowing her markets and knowing how to target the publicity to match the market, thus streamlining the process of making matches.
But there is also a final level of expertise, the issue of how to present the body of an artist’s work to the public in a way that will ensure that the artist will establish a relationship with the public—actually develop a “public” interested in their work—and thus form the basis for a series and even career of exhibitions after the first exhibition. On this level, which is essentially curating, I have witnessed evidence of Katharine T. Carter’s special, even intangible expertise. Over the years, asked to a critical appreciation or press materials for work that Katharine T. Carter has pre-selected as the body of work that the company will support, I have been amazed at the focus, the rightness and the sharpness of her selection. It has seemed to me that Katharine T. Carter must have seen the work and in a flash of inspiration knew exactly what to do with it, how to package and present it, and how to curate it. This ability is intuitive and in-born, I don’t think it can be learned. Perhaps it derives from Katharine T. Carter’s own experience as an artist, but it is also fueled by a personal vivacity and excitement in response to aesthetic experiences. Wherever this skill may come from, it has always made my work with Katharine T. Carter much easier, as, when I meet artists and then see what work I will write about either as an art critic or a press person, I breathe easier, knowing that, thanks to her expertise, half of my work has already been done for me.
Robert Mahoney, an art writer for over thirty-five years, currently writes for TIME OUT (since 1995), Artnet.com (since 1996), edificerex.com, and dArt International. Previously writing for such publications as ARTS (1985-92), FLASH ART (1988-94), Contemporanea, Tema Celeste and Cover magazines, he also has authored numerous catalogue essays on contemporary artists in conjunction with exhibitions around the world. From 1994-1999 he brought high-profile coverage to contemporary art through his service as public information officer at the Queens Museum of Art in NYC.
Without exception, the artists I have met through Katharine T. Carter are individuals who are dedicated to taking their work to the next level. Their seriousness and professionalism is impressive. They take suggestions and are very responsive to my comments. There is a synergism that is quite exciting. I think the preparation they receive from Katherine enables them to look at their work in a new way. There is a willingness to accept ideas and a new confidence that if they trust the process, their work will only get better. I have a great deal of respect for Katherine and for all the effort she has made to create an environment that nurtures and guides artists in a respectful and meaningful way ultimately leading to commercial and critical success.
Deborah Ripley, recently appointed Director of Bonham’s Print & Multiple Department, is an acknowledged print expert, a private print dealer, and a monthly contributor to Art on Paper. Formerly Director of the Print Division of Artnet.com, she also worked at Pace Prints and at Christies New York Print Division, then as Director of Landfall Press in NYC. Ripley has written articles on prints and collecting for such publications as Artscribe, Print Collectors Newsletter, New West Magazine, and Artnet Magazine.
Katharine T. Carter & Associates operates on open principles while helping under-recognized artists negotiate the often complicated, Byzantine art world. She has had remarkable success in bringing to light deserving artists in need of guidance in placing their work in the public; her business fulfills the needs of artists whose work deserves a better introduction to American art practices.
Carter, an artist herself, knows the concerns of her clients very well. She has established contacts within the infrastructure of the art world’s workers, including gallerists, curators, and writers, all of whom commit time and energy in helping artists become better recognized. But this is not to say that Carter’s clients become dependent upon her; she works with them by respecting their independence and clarity of vision. It is rare to find someone so committed to the interaction between the position of fine art and its need to be placed in a world where it may be seen; she provides the means by which the artist can participate in the art world without becoming overwhelmed by its business aspect. I know of no one better than she who is able to maintain the business aspect of her endeavors so effectively, in a way that emphasizes the vision of those she works for.
Jonathan Goodman is currently the reviews editor for Art Asia Pacific. An art writer and editor, Goodman has written exhibition catalogues for art venues throughout the world, and has written extensively on modern and contemporary art for such publications as Art in America, Sculpture, Art Asia Pacific, and Art on Paper.
Impressed with an advertisement I read for Katharine T. Carter & Associates, I decided to contact the company and inquire for additional information on the company. A few days later I received the most impressive and professional packet I had ever received, and to this day I have never received any packet a fraction of that quality. The packet was followed by an even more impressive, more professional and more delightful first meeting with Katharine herself. From the packet and the meeting, I quickly realized this was not only a company, but a person that believed as I do. That while the art world/business can be mysterious and treacherous, it doesn’t need to be. Artists are the most important component but too often languish without the proper and practical resources. KTC & Associates provides these resources to artists and in turn the artists disseminate the information to everyone’s (galleries, museums, art enthusiasts, etc) benefit. The real high point is calling an artist and telling them that all our (artist’s, Katharine’s, mine and the associates) efforts paid off – – “You are in a NYC gallery exhibit.” For about five years now, I have been able to make that call many times.
Robert Curcio, of curcioproject, is a private dealer, a consultant, and an advisor to collectors. He was the co-founder and producer of the Scope Art Fair, an international contemporary art fair launched in NYC in 2002. An arts professional in NYC since the 1990’s, Curcio has been the owner of a contemporary gallery (Curcio/Spector), and director of a not-for-profit arts organization (Ward-Nasse Gallery), as well as an independent curator, dealer and writer. Many of the artists he has represented have been included in exhibitions at Artists’ Space, Art Resources Transfer, Art in General, New Museum, OK Harris, Robert Miller, and Throgmorton Fine Art.
Katharine T. Carter & Associates is a business first of all, but a business with broad goals aimed at ameliorating the difficulties which have traditionally existed for artists seeking to advance their careers. The art world is still a hieratic and Byzantine situation in which anything goes, much to everyone’s confusion. The scene is fueled by close-mindedness and disinformation. Even a generous assessment has to acknowledge that it is governed by archaic, unwritten rules and mores that no longer work. The status quo is that artists should
be seen and not heard, that self-promotion is wrong even though it is usually an attempt by an artist merely to get recognized. Promotion is usually done scatter-shot and ineffectively. KTC & Associates guides artists through the maze. This benefits not only the artist but in the long run, the public by improving the art to which it’s exposed.
The best hasn’t been discovered through traditional, circuitous means. KTC & Associates is resourceful and devises a cogent plan for each of her clients. Above all, she instills a sense of professionalism in her clients; dealers and curators, professionals themselves, are affected by this attitude. Eventually the entire course of art in this country will be improved by a climate of mutual awareness such as that which KTC & Associates is dedicated to fostering.
Carter does not consider herself as having a stable nor does she regard any artist as her property. They are only bound to each other by clearly stated contractual terms. An artist is
a client who avails him or herself of Carter’s acumen and resources. Success is when an artist can negotiate the art world by himself, using what Carter has taught and shown.
KTC & Associates is founded on the knowledge that good art exists on many levels, in all styles and everywhere in this country. This is not speculation on her part. In 10 years of delivering her “Highlights of the New York Art Season” she has crisscrossed the nation spending days in each locality getting to know local artists, dealers and gallery administrators. She comes by her democratic attitude naturally; it is not something about which she crosses her fingers and hopes is true. What she has seen has astounded her, but her goal is not to get every artist to New York, but what they deserve: recognition and success in their proper sphere, whatever that happens to be (often it is New York). Carter is a discriminating, innovative painter herself, and knows how to spot these qualities in others. What she is perfecting and developing is opening the channels to get the good art she has absorbed on her travels into the widest possible circulation.
KTC & Associates is not a charity. It is a profit-making business, therefore Carter’s services cost money. But Carter also subscribes to the belief that guidance is not valued unless it is paid for, and unless it entails the kind of commitment a professional contract or agreement fosters. KTC & Associates will not work with just anyone, knowing that her reputation and that of the professionals she engages as her associates must be upheld. But she firmly does not believe in artificial discrimination often based on the wrong notion that some styles are no longer viable, or that only a certain age group or lifestyle is worthy of promotion. Such bias that has long hampered the efficiency and therefore the essential quality of the art world. Good art abounds in this country. What has been lacking is the mechanism, the understanding and the means for disseminating it. Remedying this is the high goal that drives Katharine T. Carter & Associates.
William Zimmer, the founding associate of Katharine T. Carter & Associates, was an art critic who achieved international status through his catalog essays, which were published by museums throughout the world. A contributing critic for The New York Times for over 20 years, his career began with ARTS Magazine in 1975, then moving to The SoHo Weekly News. Zimmer was the first critic to review many artists who became major art world figures of the 1980’s. Zimmer passed away in 2007; the Zimmer Prize in Art Criticism was established in his memory that same year by Larry Powell Management and Katharine T. Carter & Associates. www.zimmerprize.org.
Katharine T. Carter & Associates helps to shape the artists it serves into “practical visionaries.’’ This seeming contradiction/paradox is ennobled and celebrated through KTC & Associates’ work and through its corporate vision.
KTC & Associates takes pride in allowing artists to remain true to their vision and allowing each vision to bear fruit and to flourish in the world through the marketplace of ideas.
KTC & Associates does cultural work in terms of the services it provides both for the artist and the exhibition spaces which it serves. It promotes the arts on a deep level by platforming the work of the artist for public consciousness. It helps give meaning to art. It evaluates the “work” in artwork; it promotes both the goods and the services which art provides. KTC and Associates provides for the providers of art (that is, for the artist as form-maker, image-maker, thought-producer and shaper of culture).
KTC & Associates helps give birth to the work for the world; it creates, nourishes and enlivens the art-spirit. It creates the circuitry upon which and through which cultural significance depends. KTC & Associates does this by running interference for the artist and by creating a matrix of responses within the social framework.
Katharine T. Carter sees the artist as a producer of culture, who needs and deserves assistance and advice and the services which facilitate exchange between people, organizations and institutions. KTC & Associates offers the artist the tools and the mechanisms he/she needs to allow the work to become what it is originally intended for: a means of communication which implies exchange and inter-exchange of spirit through matter.
KTC & Associates promotes the celebration of the very activity of art-making as a vital endeavor which opens up the world’s potential for meaning. Katharine T. Carter sees her Company as an interface between art-maker and viewer. KTC & Associates allows the flow of connectedness to take shape.
Dominique Nahas, art critic and independent curator, is currently Interim Director of the Hoffberger Graduate School at Maryland Institute College of Art, as well as a regular faculty member of Pratt Institute and the New York Studio Program, where he teaches critical theory. A newly-elected member of the board of AICA-USA (Association International des critiques d’Art), Nahas has written for Flash Art, Review, Paris Photo, Sculpture, Art on Paper, Handmade Paper Magazine, dArt International, Trans, Art in America and Art Asia Pacific, among others. Formerly director of the Neuberger Museum, and museum curator at Everson Museum, Nahas has curated many shows nationally and internationally, and serves as an advisor to many arts organizations.
I want to write about Katharine T. Carter & Associates from my own personal perspective, as a critic who has written essays for the company’s clients over the past ten years. Actually my involvement started much earlier, when I began helping Katharine compose her yearly lectures series on the New York art scene that she brought to scores of colleges and art centers.
Back then I recognized several special qualities in Katharine’s work that were to emerge even more clearly in the succeeding years. First there was her passion for art and her openness to the variety of its many incarnations. Her interest was voracious and her love for sharing her insights was self-evident. Katharine’s capacity for work was prodigious; she traveled constantly, spreading the gospel of contemporary art. And in our working together, her innate gift for encouragement sparked my development as a writer.
Katharine’s transition from lecturer to provider of services for artists seems in retrospect almost inevitable. In its present form, her work combines hard-won pragmatic knowledge of the art world with a deep empathy for artists. All the looking that Katharine did during those years of lecturing has translated into an incisive eye for the aspects of an artist’s work that have the greatest potential. Her enthusiasm for her work and her appetite for making things happen continue undiminished. Katharine’s supportive spirit has been given full expression in the range and depth of her work with artists.
As a writer of essays for the artist-clients, I have encountered both the initial questions that people ask about the whole enterprise and the way things have worked out positively for them. With both excitement and trepidation they have wondered about this new path they have begun to travel in working with the company. Before realizing any of the practical benefits that will result, I have seen clients acknowledge in themselves the intangible qualities of commitment and focus that the whole process brings to bear. The very act of choosing to build a bridge from the studio to the wider world has had an empowering effect.
In the writing that I have done for the company, there is an unexpected quality of discovery that shows itself with surprising frequency. The work I do transpires in a kind of collaboration with the artists, looking at their images and exploring their ideas. I find revealed in an artist’s work things that I could not have predicted at first look. Artists have often discovered a reflection of aspects of their process and their poetry that have long remained unspoken. I think that it is a measure of the company’s value that it provides the space in which this kind of work can regularly occur.
John Mendelsohn, a painter based in New York, has written articles and reviews on contemporary art for ArtNet, Sculpture, dArt International, Cover Magazine and The Jewish Quarterly Review (London), as well as essays for exhibition catalogues. He contributed to The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images, published by Taschen. Mendelsohn teaches in the Studio Art program at Fairfield University, having previously taught at Illinois State University and the University of Soutb Florida.
Karen S. Chambers
Whenever I’m asked about Katharine T. Carter Associates, my immediate response is “She delivers.” Whatever commitment she has made, whatever contract she has entered into, she always fulfills her promises.
Carter has built her company on a simple premise: to create realistic goals for artists and to help them attain their aims. She creates ‘campaigns’ that are tailored to artists’ specific goals and needs.
Carter is straightforward and never pulls punches. She is uncompromising in her commitment to her clients. She never takes on a client without believing in them and their potential. With her seemingly unbounded energy, she works hard and enthusiastically for each client.
KTC & Associates negotiates and arranges exhibitions in nonprofit exhibition spaces, securing appropriate venues and then building on those experiences to reach the next level. Carter recruits seasoned professionals to assure success, carefully matching the artist with the critic and writer best able to articulate the artist’s work. Press and collateral materials are prepared by professionals who understand their purpose is to provide an entrée into the artist’s aesthetic process for both professionals as well as the lay public.
KTC & Associates is a profit-making company. Its financial health depends on its success in meeting artists’ needs, and working with KTC & Associates is cost effective. But helping artists reach their goals is priceless.
Karen Chambers has been a free-lance curator, editor and writer for such notable publications as American Ceramics, Art in America, American Craft and Glass. Currently the editor-in-chief of LDB Interior Textiles, Chambers previously served as editor of New Work (now Glass), and as executive editor for Craft International. She has held various museum staff positions and her New York experience includes work at Sperone Westwater Fischer, Droll/Kolbert, and the Susan Caldwell Gallery. She has also organizes exhibitions for the Morris Museum, Tampa Museum of Art, and the United States Information Agency.
I like to think of Katharine T. Carter & Associates as an arts management firm that provides advisory services for clients who range from individual artists to museums, institutions, and a range of exhibition venues nationwide. Founded by former artist and educator Katharine T. Carter, KTC & Associates is a company that strives to provide her artist clients with personalized services that enables them to make sound investments in their careers. With an extensive background in arts studies and national travel, Ms. Carter has emerged as one of the premier figures in the fine arts community of the United States.
Whether they are interested in entering the regional or national art arena, KTC & Associates is dedicated to helping the individual artist make the right decisions for their level and accomplishment. By matching her services to meet their needs within realistic goals and with available resources, KTC & Associates is committed to building lasting relationships – letting each client experience for themselves the many benefits that come with making wise career choices while investing in their talent.
By working directly with mid-career artists, Ms. Carter and Company stay close to the pulse of today’s fast evolving art world, maintaining a special appreciation for idiosyncratic and national tendencies. Between Katharine T. Carter and the Associates, the firm has developed a keen eye for the artists that last, and the trends that influence the broader art marketplace. Katharine T. Carter and Associates takes great pleasure in sharing client’s satisfaction when, over time, they obtain greater recognition and a market for their production and placement in a recognizable exhibiting institution.
As a member of Katharine T. Carter & Associates I try to help my clients see these dynamics and understand the implications of their practice and art production within the context of their larger career goals.
Kathleen Cullen, currently sales director for Gallery Guide (Blouinartinfo.com), was formerly senior specialist in contemporary art for Artnet.com. Cullen has been director at several leading New York galleries including the Ranmarine Gallery, THE Gallery, Althea Viafora Gallery, Stuart Levy Gallery and the Sandra Gering Gallery. Cullen has independently created some of the most controversial exhibitions in New York during the 1990’s, in spaces such as PS1, the Postmasters Gallery, Barbara Toll Fine Arts, and Ranmarine Gallery, as well as operating her own Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts in Chelsea.
As an associate of Katharine T. Carter and Associates for about 10 years, I provide graphic design services for the company’s artists‚ promotional brochures; one of its key selling tools.
I am an associate and an independent. I must prove myself with each project. This relationship suits both Katharine and me for a simple reason: it helps to keep quality high.
With knowledge of the workings of the art world, a complete understanding of the contemporary art dialogue, insight into artists’ work (she is a fine artist herself), clearheaded marketing strategy and an insistence on the highest quality of all materials associated with the company, Katharine T. Carter and Associates is in the position of being able to offer both artists and institutions a unique way of finding each other.
Over the years, I have come to see Katharine as a person with a strong belief in the validity of her business and a complete dedication to the artists whose careers she is helping to advance. As a person, I trust her integrity completely. I can sincerely say that Katharine is among the most straightforward and honest clients I have ever worked with.
Bill Mutter has been a graphic designer and partner in the award-winning New York City based design group of James Orlandi and Associates, Inc. for over 20 years, serving such clients as MasterCard International, Texaco, Inc., Coopers & Lybrand, IBM, Manufacturers Hanover, The Queens Museum of Art, and Hilton International.