Shattering the Glass Ceiling: Art Collector and Media Government Catherine Levene on Empathetic Management

Welcome to Shattering the Glass Ceiling, a podcast from the workforce at the Art Angle…

Welcome to Shattering the Glass Ceiling, a podcast from the workforce at the Art Angle exactly where we converse to boundary-breaking girls in the art earth and outside of about how art has formed their life and careers.


The second installment of this four-section podcast miniseries functions Artnet News senior writer Sarah Cascone’s job interview with art collector and media government Catherine Levene.

Levene’s 25-12 months occupation operates the breadth of the media area, starting at the New York Situations Enterprise in both the corporate gross sales realm and later on as element of its burgeoning digital system. Just after acquiring her MBA, Levene ventured into media startups, and in the end started off a new business, Artspace, alongside organization companion Christopher Vroom in 2011. Artspace was 1 of the very first platforms to introduce e-commerce to the art market, and in 2014 the publishing house Phaidon acquired the corporation, helmed by Keith Fox.

In 2020, Levene was introduced as the new head of media corporation Meredith Corp., getting the initially feminine executive to guide the magazine conglomerate that incorporates Folks, InStyle, Vacation + Leisure, and Food & WINE.

Born in Binghamton, New York, Levene has held a pulse on the artwork globe, commencing a selection that she carries on to develop yr right after calendar year.

Down below, go through an excerpt of the dialogue. 

I comprehend you have rather an art collection. Where did you to start with uncover your appreciate for art?

My grandmother was a very extraordinary female for her time and was normally a enthusiast of the arts in typical, no matter if that be doing or visible arts. She was one particular of the founding customers of the New York Point out Council on the Arts, and she did a bit of accumulating herself, or as substantially as she could from upstate New York. I imagine by way of her and then my father I just really was surrounded by persons who loved artwork, and so through osmosis it came to me.

And when did you commence amassing art? Was there one particular piece that kicked every little thing off?

When I graduated from faculty I arrived to New York and definitely could not afford any artwork, but I would generally go to these non-revenue charity gatherings and artists were being unbelievably generous and would frequently donate is effective that the firm would sell to elevate dollars. The first piece I bought was a pretty tiny photograph by Vik Muniz in 1993, and I nevertheless have that piece these days.

As I grew up in my occupation and was in a position to find the money for a small bit extra, I would just go on to acquire parts, generally it was about a piece or two a yr for a interval of time. And I’d always set aside a very little little bit of budget in order to be capable to do that. 

Hassan Hajjaj, Rider (2010). Courtesy of the artist and The 3rd Line, Dubai.

And are there any artists or artworks that you have your eye on proper now?

I always do. Ideal now I have been looking at numerous items by Hassan Hajjaj, a Moroccan photographer who kind of blends pop pictures, and requires these definitely vibrant pics of males and ladies dressed in wonderful wares. The latest series was Arab ladies in several situations donning burqas on motorcycles—it was a actually cool and exciting do the job.

A great deal of your vocation has been in media, but in 2011 you established the startup Artspace. What impressed that business?

It’s really really uncomplicated: I had been in media and technological know-how for nearly my complete profession in 2010, which was about 20 years at that place, and I noticed an open up white room in the place of e-commerce and artwork.

There was so a lot activity on line at the time, but quite tiny within the artwork sector. There had been posters staying bought all over, but no where by you could seriously understand and teach yourself and then buy modern art from all in excess of the planet. The online was truly the excellent frictionless put to do that, so my partner at the time, Chris Vroom, and I started Artspace to be capable to convey artwork collecting—no issue what level you had been at—to any one. You could go on the net from anywhere in the earth and get a piece from any gallery in the entire world. 

You finished up providing Artspace, and a couple of decades later you remaining. Why did you depart and how did you make your way back to publishing and your current position at Meredith? 

We marketed the enterprise to Phaidon, and I have to say, I’ve purchased and offered a good deal of firms and been on every side of the transaction before, and this was a genuinely fantastic collaboration. Phaidon was a good house for Artspace, and the CEO, Keith Fox, truly took it on to combine us into the current company. We gained a lot of assist and a few of yrs afterwards I realized I experienced finished what I could with that business, and it was in good fingers, and so I remaining.

I started consulting for early-stage corporations, and while I was there I received a connect with from Meredith, which experienced lately purchased Time, Inc.—for all those that don’t know, Meredith Company is a main multi-system media company that owns several of the manufacturers you know and really like including IndividualsAmusement WeeklyAll Recipes, and Journey + Leisure, powerhouse makes that had been around for decades—and were being transitioning into a new entire world of new media. I essentially started my occupation in publishing even right before the web grew to become a consumer medium, so it was attention-grabbing to come entire circle to an industry that I knew exceptionally perfectly.

'Fearless Girl' at the New York Stock Exchange. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Fearless Female at the New York Inventory Exchange. Photograph by Drew Angerer/Getty Visuals.

In recent decades we’ve observed how the celebration of the visionary woman founder can lower the two ways, and that ladies can be villified for actions in the workplace that would not always be questioned in a male chief. How can women of all ages leaders be committed to retaining a supportive, positive work setting though nonetheless running a thriving business enterprise?

I think where we are in small business today is amazingly nicely suited to ladies. We are extremely employed to being in a globe the place we’ve got to juggle household and home together with all of the anticipations numerous of us have of getting a mother and in business enterprise, which is incredibly intricate.

Individually, I consider the type of leadership that we’re relocating into, which is an empathetic leadership targeted on communicating, is great for gals. My suggestions is just to continue to remain in it, I know it can be challenging juggling all of the a variety of wants of our time, but it is a fantastic time to be in the workforce for girls.

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