In VACI lecture, Bibro to speak on current market conditions in art world


Denise Bibro

Elora Tocci | Staff Writer

Denise Bibro has a case for the arts.

Bibro, owner of Denise Bibro Fine Art in Chelsea, N.Y., will lecture at 7 p.m. tonight in the Hultquist Center. She will talk about the lessons she’s learned and experience she’s garnered from the 25-plus years she’s spent in the art business and the current art market — a market that, she admits, is difficult. Economic situations worldwide have changed what buyers and collectors are looking for and what types and quantities of pieces are selling.

But despite tougher conditions for artists, Bibro said she sees no reason to lose faith in the visual arts. In fact, artists with a true passion for their craft can use that dedication to thrive in the contemporary art world.

“What prevails in this market is quality of work and passion,” she said. “Artists have to find a way to be in touch with themselves, find out what their art is really about and develop their path from that.”

And Bibro’s not all talk — she followed her passion for art down a path she created for herself. She started college as a political science major, although she took visual arts classes as well. She learned how to weld and sculpt and developed curating skills while helping out in art galleries.

She realized political science didn’t compel her the way art did, so she continued to work at galleries and art organizations. She helped out with curating and public relations, working in the lobbies of buildings on Park Avenue and old brownstones owned by the Rockefeller family.

Eventually, she sold almost everything she owned for seed money to open her first gallery in SoHo in 1996.

“I heard there would be open space in SoHo, so I took the plunge,” she said.

In 1997, she moved into the space in Chelsea that she still operates, a gallery that runs 25 to 30 shows a year. In addition to running the gallery, Bibro does art appraisals for insurance companies and consulting work for artists, helping them with tasks ranging from writing press releases to organizing their portfolios.

“Art is always going to be a crucial ingredient in civilization,” she said.

Staying true to that firm belief in the power of art, Bibro has been dedicated to the visual arts programs at Chautauqua as well. She juried an art show here in the 2009 Season and featured a show in her gallery with the work of alumni and faculty of the School of Art the following winter.

She said that although the art world is in a bit of limbo right now, artists who stay patient and flexible will be able to make a living for themselves through their work.

“Some markets are so developed that they’re out of reach of a lot of people, but new markets are developing and collectors are educating themselves about them,” she said. “Artists with quality work and passion will always survive.”