Barbara Koz Paley
Barbara Koz Paley is the Founder and CEO of Art Assets, an art consulting firm in New York City.
AS: Tell us about your background. Do you remember your first interaction with art?
BP: My first interaction was at the dinner table with my parents. My mother loved to decorate and kept our home full of beautiful and unique pieces. When I was little, I would go around the house and negotiate to have certain items in my room. I had a very developed taste, even for such a young age. I wanted everything to be very simple, elegant, and minimal. This was my first experience in collecting and curating because I would only select pieces that I had a strong affinity for.
AS: What was your first art purchase? What’s your dream piece?
BP: The first thing I ever paid for was when I was in high school. I went to an art fair with some friends and bought a painting of a Moorish man with a dark background. This was a revelation – I could make money from little jobs, like babysitting, and I could spend it on art! It wasn’t just the act buying of art that I enjoyed; it was the personal acknowledgment that I had my own opportunity to buy it. It was, and still is, very empowering.
I don’t have a dream piece.
AS: What does your collection say about you? What pieces do you tend to gravitate towards?
BP: My collection says I have a very eclectic eye and I’m able to combine wildly different art, sculpture, objects, and patterns in a way that is very welcoming.
AS: How has your collection changed over the years?
BP: It’s gotten bigger. Each new discovery and collection reflects how I want to live. Art provides the means to display this.
My theory is that you live with what you collect and it reflects who you are to yourself and others. I don’t like for my art to live in storage, so if I have too many things, I de-acquisition. For instance, I’ve given a lot of furniture to the Brooklyn Museum.
AS: Were there any works that were hard to part with? Do you have a favorite piece right now?
BP: There were times when I had to sell things, but once it’s gone [a piece of art], it’s gone. I’m not much for mourning.
My grandmother always told me that I was a collector for the moment… with beautiful objects, you don’t own them, you just care for them and sometimes you have to let them go. It’s not that I don’t get attached to my things, but life doesn’t revolve around what you own, it revolves around what’s inside of you.
AS: What drives your passion for collecting?
BP: Making environments! I use art to transform and reshape the experience of each room and place. I want guests to feel welcome in my home and experience who I am as a collector.
AS: If you weren’t collecting art, what would you be doing? Do you have any hobbies that fulfill you as much as collecting?
BP: I would still be collecting; I’m always collecting. I’m always creating environments.
AS: What is your advice to new collectors? Any mistakes you wish you could have avoided?
BP: Buy what you love and buy within your price range. Get to know the artist, if you can, and buy several pieces from them to get a real sense of their work.
“Regarding mistakes… Oh, you make mistakes all the times – so what! Nothing to fuss about. Life is filled with mistakes!