October 24, 2017


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Catching up with Kalista Fenina to talk about the business of auctions, jet lag, and where to find the best heels.
As anyone who has made it – or is still, shall we say, in the process of making it – in the art world knows, it’s often a combination of good connections, raw passion, and just a little bit of luck that gets you where you need to go. For Kalista Fenina, that was Phillips Auction House, where she works as a specialist in the 20th Century & Contemporary Art department. It’s a glamorous gig that involves world travel, a high-fashion wardrobe, and rubbing elbows with the elite of the art world. But no job is perfect, and Kalista is refreshingly honest about the jet lag, long hours, and high stress levels that accompany all the glitz.
Read on as we pick her brain about work, play, and of course, clothes.

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What is your current job and how did you get there?

I am a specialist at Phillips Auction House working for its 20th Century & Contemporary Art department, and I oversee sales and consignments for our auctions. My old friend told me that Phillips had a vacancy, so he called me – “hi, I’m totally sure that you should work there, this is where you belong!” And he was absolutely right.

What’s the coolest thing about your job?
The opportunity to travel and meet fascinating people. It is always exciting when networking leads to results in successful deals.

What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Jet lag interferes with my concentration, fatigue mounts up. Also, when things don’t go the way I’ve planned.

What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

Non-stop meetings with clients, briefings with colleagues before auctions, frequent flights, visits to art fairs, biennales, and various art events. My day often ends very late.
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Since the very beginning of my career, I knew that I should be a part of the art world, and I’m happy that I realized it on time. You know, the worst possible thing is not to know what path you should choose.


Did you always know you wanted to be in the art world?
Yes, since the very beginning of my career, I knew that I should be a part of the art world, and I’m happy that I realized it on time. The worst possible thing is to not know what path you should choose.

When did you fall in love with art?
10 years ago, I joined MAMM (Multimedia Art Museum), and that was my first job. It so happened that my passion for art began with photography. I was totally fascinated by photography.

How would you describe your personal style?
I guess it is all about the classics; a beautiful dress is always a good decision.

Who is your favorite artist?
It is difficult to choose one name. I was deeply impressed by the Cy Twombly show at Centre Pompidou. One of the best shows I’ve seen this year – David Hockney at Tate Britain. I also like Josef Albers, Sam Francis, Ugo Rondinone, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Mark Rothko, Agnes Martin, Lucio Fontana. Sorry, this is a long list!


The more I deal with contemporary art, the more I love it. My personal collection is quite small– several pieces by young artists, but I’m sure it will definitely get bigger!


Who is your favorite designer?
I like Chloe at the moment, yet, Dior has the most breath-taking and sophisticated pumps.

What career advice do you have for young women who want to pursue a career in the art world?
If you want to pursue a career in the art world, first of all, you should be deeply passionate about art and be curious. Practically, you can look for jobs in auction houses, art fairs, and galleries.

Do you also collect art? If so, what’s in your collection?
The more I deal with contemporary art, the more I love it. My personal collection is quite small – several pieces by young artists, but I’m sure it will definitely get bigger!

This Feature Got Published in TheArtGorgeous Magazine#2 to Download e-version click here

Writer CAIT MUNRO
photos vis theartgorgeous magazine