Caitlin Berry, founder of Caitlin Berry Fine Art, believes in engaging collectors through her thoughtful virtual galleries.
Caitlin Berry’s idea is not only right for the times, it’s also right for the evolution of experiencing and buying art. The veteran arts professional—who has held positions at Hemphill Fine Arts, Eykyn Maclean in New York and London, and Cristin Tierney Gallery in New York—is the owner of Caitlin Berry Fine Art (caitlinberryfineart.com). Her business provides art consultancy, secondary market sales, curatorial services, conservation and installation coordination, among other services. Yet her idea of a virtual gallery has spawned the most buzz in DC arts circles. In Berry’s mind, it’s pure disruption.
“One morning, I was thinking about virtual galleries that had come about as a result of the pandemic. Navigating them felt like playing the old GoldenEye 007 on a Nintendo 64—stuck in a corner after five seconds with no clue how to turn around. I wanted a better, fuller and more tailored experience for collectors,” says Berry, who reached out to her friend Steven Townsend of Montgomery + Townsend Architecture and Design to collaborate on a virtual space.
“They’ve designed and constructed galleries in New York before and have a great sense of how art and space interact.” Soon, Berry and her virtual spaces were on their way to engaging collectors. She represents noted artists Lisa Armstrong Noble, Caitlin Teal Price, Joseph Shetler and Eric Uhlir. “Twice now, Montgomery + Townsend have designed truly stunning bespoke virtual contemporary spaces for two unique exhibitions that no one will ever step foot inside. But that’s the point,” says Berry. “The architecture elevates the art, and the art elevates the architecture uniquely for every show. Dealers who are paying rent are confined by the limitations of a static space. So, in that way, I suppose I am disrupting.”
But Berry’s innovation isn’t a divorce from the industry that has been her home for years; instead, it’s a new embrace of the players involved and, she hopes, another way to attract collectors for life. “Most folks don’t look at a painting on a wall with the understanding that an entire industry supported getting it there,” she says. “I constantly feed my relationships with other dealers, advisers, curators, framers, conservators and shippers so that I’m as educated as possible about best practices in collecting art and can share that information with my clients.”