October 2023

Collecting Contemporary Art – Tips from an Expert

The collecting or purchasing of contemporary art can often prove intimidating.  The market is obscure and confusing, easily overwhelming new collectors with cryptic jargon and passing fashions.  It is always nice to have some guidance from a seasoned professional. Whether you are looking to start collecting art seriously or looking to find a few good pieces to live with, you undoubtedly have many questions. So, I asked talented art consultant Leslie Gerber-Seid to share some of the most frequently asked questions she gets AND to give us the answers.  Read on for some great tips and guidance to help you navigate collecting in the contemporary art world. –Melissa Meyers

Q. “I want to look to purchase art –but my knowledge is limited to “Art History 101” from college. Where do I start?
A.  Educate yourself – it can be an adventure.  Get an idea of what you like by reading art magazines such as Art News, Art Forum or Art in America. You will see which galleries show the type of work you are drawn to, i.e. abstract, figurative, emerging, established, etc. See what your friends have on their walls and if you admire their art, ask them how they went about finding it.

Q. “Where should I look for art?”
A.   If you live in NY, you should go to Chelsea of course.  And the Lower Eas t Side and Williamsburg.  The list goes on, there are many art-rich areas to explore.  Now that you find yourself on 10th Avenue and 25th Street, you are in the middle of the art world– there are hundreds of galleries – if you are just spending a leisurely day strolling, then walking in and out of galleries between 10th and 11th is a lovely day and you can further get an idea of what you like.  But if you seriously want to purchase, this plan might be overwhelming.  There are simply too many galleries.  This is where educating yourself comes into play- you have to have an idea of specific galleries that show work you like in your price range.  Make an appointment to visit the gallery and meet with a director to see works by specific artists that are probably not on display.  When you visit a gallery you are usually seeing a solo show – the artist you are interested in might very well be in the back room.

Q. “Should you work with an art advisor?”
A: An art advisor will help you navigate the process of purchasing art.  They will help you figure out the type of art you are interested in, and they will know where to find it.  They will educate you and lead you in the right direction.

Photos Courtesy of: Gerber-Seid Fine Art

Q.  “What makes a good piece of art?”
A.   You will never get tired of looking at it.  There will always be something for you to discover – it satisfies you aesthetically, emotionally and intellectually.

Q. “Should I be buying art as an investment?”
A. Risky business.  Like anything, there is hype, talk and excitement around certain artists – it could be passing fashion, but it could also be the real deal.  Time will tell.  If you are spending larger sums do your due diligence.  Know who the artist is – where they have showed.  What collections they are in.  Has their work been up at auction?  Be comfortable with what you are spending but above all buy what you love.

For an appointment and more information contact:
Leslie Gerber-Seid
Gerber-Seid Visual Inc.
201 East 77th Street


Leslie Gerber-Seid is a private art dealer/consultant based in New York City. She helps clients, both new and seasoned collectors, discover contemporary work that will enrich their lives and open them to the journey that is collecting fine art.   She founded
Gerber-Seid Fine Art in 1991 with the mission of bridging the gap that often exists between aspiring collectors and the art that moves them.
Early in her career, Leslie became known for mounting a series of  “SEID Shows” in various venues around Manhattan, which showcased affordable contemporary works by emerging artists.  She has also guest curated numerous shows at galleries throughout New York City, including several shows benefiting the AIDS Community Research Initiative of American (ACRIA).
Prior to founding Gerber-Seid Fine Art, Leslie served as Director of Visual Merchandising for Swatch and Assistant Director of Visual Merchandising for Cartier, where she created unique techniques for  incorporating works of emerging artists into national display programs.  She also previously worked in exhibition design for the National Gallery of Art and the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.  Leslie received her BA from the University of Maryland.


Photos Courtesy of: Gerber-Seid Fine Art