Victoria Burns talks with Klein Artist Work’s participants about life as an art advisor, sharing her process of matching diverse international artwork with contemporary collectors.
“I’m not always looking for what the client’s looking for, I’m collecting my people. So it’s my dealers, my artists, and the people I love. Because what happens is, if I love your work I get excited about it…. Your connection with me is not client-based. It’s about your work’s connection with me.”
Victoria Burns is a Los Angeles-based art advisor for private and corporate clients who works with modern and contemporary art, and who specializes in photography. Burns was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and she attended Northwestern University in Chicago. At age 19 she received an internship at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and as a junior at Northwestern she began working at Dart Gallery. After graduating in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History, Burns worked at the gallery and then cataloged the collection of major collector Irving Stenn Junior. Burns spent six years working as an Account Executive of Corporate Sales for Tiffany & Co. while curating a number of independent projects. In 1992 she moved with her husband to Berlin, where she took a position as curator and consultant with Raab Galerie, most notably creating a major exhibition on contemporary American photography. After returning to Chicago, Burns worked as Director of Rhona Hoffman Gallery (1994-1995) before organizing her own art advising business, Espy Burns Fine Art. Between 1993 and 2006 the business worked with such clients as The MacArthur Foundation, Motorola, and the Children’s Memorial Hospital. Burns spent a gap year developing the cultural conference Symposium C6 in Chicago, and in 2008 she founded Victoria Burns Art Advisory, her current business. Burns has worked with a number of private clients and organizations such as The Chicago Conservation Center, Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and Hines Development Company. During this period Burns also worked as Director of National Marketing and Sales for The Chicago Conservation Center, and she moved to Los Angeles. Besides running her own business she is also a lecturer at Art Muse Los Angeles and a partner as LA Social Venture Partners, a philanthropic group devoted to helping strengthen nonprofit organizations.