By Jacob Nelson
When Dan Danzig first started out in the art world, he sold art collections to corporations.
It’s a unique job for an art curator, in that it involves getting to know the tastes of a large group of executives rather than a small group of museum employees. It takes a sharp sense of perception and an ability to work with many types of people.
“You have to navigate all the different tastes,” Danzig said, “Someone always says, ‘You’re not going to hang that on my desk are you?’”
The experience was just one of many in a long, eclectic career.
Danzig will be leading a discussion on April 7 with with Femke Speelberg, Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for the MSLCE Speaker Series. He began his artistic life as a fine artist, then interned at a gallery in SoHo. From there, he worked as an artist assistant for a variety of artists, before getting into corporate art collections.
Danzig spun that out into his own gallery, which exhibited both contemporary and corporate art. After ten years of doing that, Danzig decided to get involved in nonprofit work. He studied arts administration at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, did his thesis on the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), and then spent five years in Los Angeles working for the National History Museum.
“I needed to get an understanding of fundraising,” Danzig explained.
Now, Danzig works as a consultant as part of The Museum Group, a consortium of museum consultants founded in 1995. He’s helped clients with fundraising, strategic planning, exhibition development — “whatever the client needs.”
Though his current job looks very different from where he started, Danzig still uses the same keen sense of perception as a consultant that he did as a corporate art collector.
“The nutshell is you have to be sensitive to all the dynamics going on in the situations,” Danzig said about consulting with nonprofit arts organizations. “You have to really be able to assess where the strengths and weaknesses are and quickly put your finger on that.”