“We want to show the scope of the international art scene in a way that’s accessible and entertaining”

Interview with Constance van Berckel and Herbert van Litsenburg from Art Insiders

Founded in 2016 by Constance van Berckel and Herbert van Litsenburg, the digital platform Art Insiders represents the voice of a new generation with a firm belief in the value of sharing. The aim is to make it easy, fun, and accessible to experience art by providing insights into an art world in constant flux. Get to know what it is all about in Art Insiders’ own words.

What is Art Insiders and what is your vision?
Art Insiders is where you find news on the latest gallery and museum shows worldwide, the best articles from other art platforms in one place, as well as interviews with inspiring people in the international art scene. Our vision is for Art Insiders to be an online platform that provides high-quality content and gives an insight into the art world in a way that is fun and easy to grasp for a broad and diverse audience.

What was your motivation for creating Art Insiders?
Art Insiders started as an Instagram account with the aim to provide a view into what is going on at the best galleries, institutions, and private collections worldwide. We want to show the scope of the international art scene in a way that’s accessible and entertaining.

Mieke Marple from Night Gallery Los Angeles in front of a work by Awol Erizku

How did you enter the art world?
Herbert: Having been brought up with art throughout my youth, the choice to pursue a bachelor in History of Art at a University in England was an obvious one. I have always been curious about art – especially from a collecting point of view. At this point, art really has become an unescapable vocal point for me. It plays a large role in my professional life as the Head of Benelux Markets at the Fine Art Fund Group, as well as in my academic and social life.

Constance: My initial contact with art came from the many museum trips with my family as a child, after which I spent my teens painting a lot and seriously considering becoming an artist myself. After a traditional art history degree, I went on to study at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and worked at various galleries. My interest at this point has shifted towards the current structures of the art world and its markets, and how to translate those to fit modern times.

When founding Art Insiders, was it your plan to solve a specific problem you faced, or was it born out of a larger opportunity you saw?
A major problem of the art world is that it tends to be quite inaccessible and intimidating to those who do not directly come from a background in art, even to those who are curious about art. The internet is definitely one of the easiest ways to try to break these barriers, which is why we created an online art platform, with the aim of reaching people on Instagram who wouldn’t necessarily walk into an art gallery.

Work at the Pacific Palisades residence of Carlos Rivera from ArtRank

How has Art Insiders evolved since its beginning?
We have partnered with various other online (art) platforms, such as WeTransfer and Avant Arte, and produced inspiring content together. Working with other platforms allows you to reach a new audience and hopefully inspire a group of potential art enthusiasts. It’s so much fun to work with like-minded people, who are as enthusiastic and eager as us to add something relevant to the current art climate.

You are collaborating with WeTransfer and Avant Arte among others, how did that come into place and what is the scope of such collaborations?
These collaborations have allowed us to really delve into some interesting topics, such as the digitalization of the art world, or LA’s booming art scene, as we did for WeTransfer. WeTransfer is essentially an online file-sharing platform, but with a significant presence in the creative industries, as most of its users are artists, designers, and photographers. Since WeTransfer had just opened their new headquarters in LA, we did a series of interviews with a variety of people in the LA art scene, to try to understand why the city has developed into such an art hotspot in the past few years.

Claire Tabouret's studio in Frogtown Los Angeles
Claire Tabouret's studio in Frogtown Los Angeles

Who is your main target group?
Really anyone who is curious about the art world and wants to learn more about it. We have noticed that the majority of our followers are in their 20s and from all over, which is great.

Where do you seek inside knowledge about the art world to provide to your followers?
A lot comes from art media websites, and my day usually starts with going through my e-mail inbox to skim over various newsletters from channels like the Artnewspaper, Artnet News, Artforum, and Blouin Artinfo. Then, we try to visit gallery openings, museum shows, and art fairs whenever possible. However, most importantly, we try to talk to a lot of people and be open to different opinions and ideas. An artist might have a completely different viewpoint about a certain topic than a gallerist or collector.

Art Insiders interviewing Stefan Simchowitz

Who, or what, has been the biggest influence on your work with Art Insiders?
A good example is a website like Artsy, that managed to build this over-encompassing platform where you can buy, sell, read, learn, connect, and discover art, all in one place. Other influences are institutions that contribute to the relevance of today’s art world, like the Zabludowicz Collection or the Stedelijk Museum for example.

Digitalization has changed the (art) world drastically within the last decade. How do you see the future of digital media shaping the art world?
Hopefully, digital media will open up the art world to this untapped pool of potential art-lovers. Furthermore, it will soon become very difficult to define art, or differentiate between art, design, animation, video, or anything that is created and distributed through digital media.

Robert Norton's gallery in the garage of his house

For people new to the art world, the art scene can seem intimidating and elitist. What advice would you give to a person who steps into this brand new world for the first time?
Start with Instagram! There are no barriers or social codes you have to adhere to. Follow a museum or gallery that you know and like, and go from there. Look for art that catches your eye, find out about the artist, read about it and educate yourself. Follow similar artists and galleries and keep going. Another piece of advice: go to galleries. Galleries might seem intimidating, but you can walk in whenever you want, for free, and ask any question you like.

What are your thoughts on the future of Art Insiders?
Keep growing, keep meeting people, and keep discovering, and hopefully scale the Art Insiders platform to something that we can keep doing for a long time!

Marta Gnyp's GNYP Gallery in Berlin
Marta Gnyp's GNYP Gallery in Berlin

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