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Kelly Killoren Bensimon chats with Stefania Bortolami

Stefania Bortolami

Stefania Bortolami

Art Basel Miami, happening now, is packed with everyone in and out of the art world, from Jay Z to fashion designers to supermodels. Collectors, painters, photographers, fashionistas and party animals alike all flock to Miami for sun and art.

Gallerist Stefania Bortolami, whose resume is packed with some of the biggest names in art like Sotheby's and Larry Gagosian, took a few minutes between meeting clients to talk about Miami, Instagram and her favorite artists. She also offered an "only in New York" story.


Q How did you get involved in the art world?

A I studied art history in Italy. When I was a teenager visiting my mother in Geneva, I walked into a museum and saw an exhibition. I immediately switched my degree from political science to art history.


Q Did you ever work at Sotheby's?

A I did a postgraduate [program] at Sotheby's and worked there too.


Q What do you think of Art Basel Miami?

A It's now the busiest week of the year in Miami. A lot of people who are not in the art world come down. The art is amazing, and the Pérez Art Museum just opened. I love all the collections and fairs. Down here your finger is on the pulse.

Q How many languages do you speak?

A I speak four: Spanish, Italian, English and French.


Q Do you think art is a good investment?

A Yes, there are things that are good for a short-term investment; some are good for a long-term investment. You have to be careful with short-term investments. They are fashionable and sometimes only last a few years. A museum or an institution needs to support the artist for it to have longevity.


Q Who are some of the artists you represent?

A In New York, I represent Richard Aldrich, Anna Ostoya, Aaron Young, Tom Burr and Avner Ben-Gal, among others.


Q Who's your favorite living artist in the world?

A Bruce Nelman.


Q Photography or paintings?

A Paintings.



Q What do you think of Instagram?

A Everyone is a photographer all of a sudden, but they are not painters.


Q Where do you shop for clothes?

A I like Creatures of Comfort because it's a multi-brand store.


Q Who's your favorite designer?

A Rachel Comey.


Q Tell me about the homeless man you see every day.

A I run every day along the Hudson River and I take my daughter to school. I always see this homeless man every day outside of my Chelsea gallery and we always chat for a few minutes. The other day I switched on CNN and I saw him; he's a genius computer programmer who works for Google. And he loves living on the street. Only in New York.


Q What's your favorite museum in NYC?

A MoMA, for it's unique and you can see all the amazing masterpieces in the world.


Q Any


A I only hire people who have studied art history. It's important for them to get a wide overview of what art is supposed to look like. In the contemporary world, art transforms. Art history shows what time made, so you will then know what will be good in the art world.

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