Questions For Rebecca Marcus-Monks | Limna

Questions For Rebecca Marcus-Monks

In the latest round of our art world interviews, we spoke to Rebecca Marcus-Monks, Director of The Koppel Project, a creative hub in London. Her role representing an inspiring platform open to a range of voices and art forms meant that she was able to recommend exciting projects and emerging London talents that we should all be keeping an eye on!

Naz Balkaya performing at ‘Meatspace’, 2021, The Koppel Project © Rocio Chacon Naz Balkaya performing at ‘Meatspace’, 2021, The Koppel Project © Rocio Chacon

How did you get started doing what you do?

In 2009 I graduated from my Master at Sotheby’s and I always knew I wanted to work in the art world. My first job was running an artist-led Art Fair called Parallax (which is still going to date) and then I worked for Artnet, the online Art sales advisory service. After that I ran a gallery on the Upper East Side of New York. So my journey has followed this interesting arch, where I have worked directly with artists, then with galleries in an advisory role, then more directly selling on behalf of artists through galleries to now being Director of The Koppel Project, which is a charity supporting artists by providing affordable working, exhibition, and event spaces across Central London.

What’s the first artwork you ever bought?

Pretty much all the artwork I own has been gifted to me by artists I have worked with previously, which makes it special in a different way. I have a lot of it on display in my flat and it has moved around with me a lot so it is mostly on a smaller scale. There are definitely a few things on my “wish list” from artists, such as Rebecca Gilpin, I have worked with before that I just need slightly bigger walls for!

'© Rebecca Gilpin' © Rebecca Gilpin

What’s something you wish you knew when you first started collecting?

I wish someone would really explain NFT’s to me! Ha ha!

But really, I think one of the most important things to have a good grip on before you start collecting is the uniqueness of artworks- the difference between editions and originals and how that impacts the value and purchase choices.

What’s the most misunderstood aspect of the art market in your opinion?

NFT’s! Again! Ha ha!

No, I think everyone thinks that the art market is exclusive, which is not the truth. I think the understanding of primary market vs secondary market- how buying from a gallery is very different from buying from an auction house is probably something that a lot of people who are not in the art world really don’t understand.

'© Rolina E. Blok, Untitled (No Kisses Only Blowing), 2020, Wool, nails and stretcher' © Rolina E. Blok, Untitled (No Kisses Only Blowing), 2020, Wool, nails and stretcher

Which artist are you currently really excited about?

Rolina Blok is a young artist I am really excited about. Her work is very collaborative and she has a real generosity with the way she works – we (The Koppel Project) are actually doing an exhibition with her this year at our Hive gallery, which is going to be a really exciting collaboration between herself and her students (she’s currently a Screen Print Fellow at The Royal Academy of Arts and is the course leader for Contemporary Printmaking and Digital Practice at The City Literary Institute.)

What’s the last art-related Instagram post you liked or account you followed?

To be honest, I mostly follow emerging artists that we work with or are looking to work with- that’s the kind of content I want to be surrounded by online and in real life! So I guess my Instagram is kind of research-based and for making and maintaining contacts.

But, to be specific, a post I liked most recently was from Katia Matsievskaya-Kesić: @katia_kesic, who was an artist we worked with in 2020. I also follow Glass Cloud @_glasscloud which is a window gallery in Camden Peoples Theatre and is run by a friend of mine; is artist-led and works with local businesses to commission work from emerging and mid-career artists in London. The Smallest Gallery in Soho (@thesmallestgalleryinsoho) is another great account- they show a lot of the artists TKP has worked with and I’m always super supportive of what they’re doing!

'Installation View 'Forging the Self', 2021, The Koppel Project © Rocio Chacon' Installation View ‘Forging the Self’, 2021, The Koppel Project © Rocio Chacon

What upcoming exhibitions are you looking forward to?

The Koppel Projects programme next year is really exciting! There are a few projects that are still under wraps, but we are working on the exhibition with Rolina and Alex Schady which is going to be great!

Things that are on currently- I am hoping to get to see the Noguchi exhibition at Barbican, Amy Winehouse at The Design Museum. There is also an Immersive Klimt exhibition coming to London which I am curious about…

To be honest, spending all day working in galleries when I go out to see an exhibition it needs to be something really different from what I would be curating myself professionally!

Annie Ratti who is represented by Amanda Wilkinson gallery is amazing! Despite being around and producing amazing really ground-breaking work for over 30 years she has never become a household name. All her work is really research-based and looks a lot at science so each piece is pretty unique. She lives in this amazing townhouse in Islington where she keeps a studio and 2 golden retrievers!

'Exhibition View of Annie Ratti “Anargonia” at Amanda Wilkinson Gallery' Exhibition View of Annie Ratti “Anargonia” at Amanda Wilkinson Gallery

What’s the best piece of art-world advice you’ve ever been given?

I think perhaps I haven’t received advice so much as cautions? But something that has really stuck with me is that just because an artist has made it big doesn’t mean that their ego has increased with their level of success- artists tend to be quite vulnerable people at heart so I think when working with them it’s important to keep that in mind!

A piece of advice that I would give is to show up, make yourself known, because it’s so much harder to say “no” to someone you have already built a relationship with, no matter how small.

How do you gain confidence when buying art?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, whoever is selling the work to you owes that to you!