About / Board of Directors
Marie Samuels, New York | President
Marie Samuels is a New York-based collector of contemporary art. She is a Founding member of Blue Tigers and OPUS, and an executive board member of Amani Global Works. Samuels is also involved in New York’s National Arts Club, the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, NY, and the Armory Art Center of the Palm Beaches. Previously, Samuels worked as an art consultant for several commercial galleries, as a Public Relations Executive at Giorgio Armani Corporation, and as an Interior Design and Project Manager for residential and commercial properties in the New York City area. Samuels holds a BA in Philosophy and Art History from SRU, and a Design Degree from NYSID.
Laura Roberson Fisch, New York | Vice President
Laura Roberson Fisch is a New York-based collector of contemporary art. She is an active board member of the Lower Easte Side Print Shop and People’s Portfolio. Laura is also a member of the Collectors Circle at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, NY.
Marjory Graue, San Francisco | Treasurer
As President of the Graue Family Foundation, Marjory Graue is an active supporter of the arts in California and across the country. She is a Board member at Southern Exposure in San Francisco. She also serves as a Council member at the Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art (SECA), SFMOMA, and at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.
Margot Ziegler, New York | Secretary
Margot Ziegler is a New York-based collector of contemporary art and is currently a member of the Contemporary Arts Council at The Museum of Modern Art, and the Art Committee of the Lotos Club, New York. A graduate in Marketing at the University of Maryland, Ziegler was previously the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Publisher of INHALE/EXHALE Guide Book; a bi-annual wellness magazine targeted to the Hamptons communities, and a Public Relations Senior Account Executive for a boutique firm representing top consumer electronics corporations including Bose Corporation.
Christopher E. Vroom, New York | Founder
Christopher Vroom is the Founder of Artadia, the Chairman of Art + Culture Editions, and a collector of contemporary art. Vroom founded Artadia in 1999 in response to the need for direct support for individual artists. Vroom also co-founded Artspace, an online marketplace for contemporary art. For nearly 20 years, Vroom worked as a financial analyst specializing in consumer group and e-commerce equity research, where he was a Managing Director and Global Group Head at Alex, Brown & Sons, as well as in the CSFB Technology Group leading Internet equity research.
Ian Alteveer, New York
Ian Alteveer is the Aaron I. Fleischman Curator in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, where he organized three recent Roof Garden Commissions with artists Pierre Huyghe (2015), Dan Graham with Günther Vogt (2014), and Imran Qureshi (2013). Also at The Met, he installed William Kentridge: The Refusal of Time (2013–14) and was part of the curatorial team for Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years (2012), which traveled to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. He was the co-curator of the Kerry James Marshall retrospective with colleagues from the MCA Chicago and LA MOCA; Marisa Merz: The Sky Is a Great Space (2017) with a colleague at the Hammer Museum; and David Hockney (2017-18) with colleagues at Tate and The Centre Pompidou. Prior to joining The Met, Alteveer was graduate research fellow at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery, where he worked for three years on a groundbreaking survey of art from New York in the 1970s and early ‘80s, The Downtown Show: 1974–84 (2005). Alteveer has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and is a PhD candidate at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts. He was also a visiting critic at the Yale University School of Art where he taught critical practice to first-year MFA students from 2008 to 2013.
Robert Brawner, Atlanta
Robert Brawner has worked in several sectors of the real estate market in for over 20 years as a contractor and due-diligence professional. Based in Atlanta, Brawner is a passionate collector and supporter of the arts. Brawner is President of the Board of Art Papers, a member of the Board of Directors of Men Stopping Violence, an Advisory Board member of Spelman College Museum of Fine Art and serves as the Business Committee Chair for South Atlanta for the Environment. Brawner is also a Patron Member of the High Museum and Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center.
Nick Cave, Chicago
Nick Cave is an artist, educator and foremost a messenger, working between the visual and performing arts through a wide range of mediums including sculpture, installation, video, sound, and performance. Cave is well known for his Soundsuits, sculptural forms based on the scale of his body, that camouflage the body, masking and creating a second skin that conceals race, gender, and class, forcing the viewer to look without judgment. A solo exhibition of Cave’s work Nick Cave: Until opened at MASS MoCA in fall 2016 and is on view through September 2017. Prior to this, Cave had a solo show on view at the Cranbrook Art Museum (2015), St. Louis Art Museum (2014-2015) and the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (2014). Cave has received several prestigious awards including: the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2008), the Joyce Award (2006), Creative Capital Grants (2002, 2004 and 2005), the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2001) and the Artadia Award (2006). Cave, who received his MFA at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, is Professor and Chairman of the Fashion Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Curt Conklin, Chicago
Curt Conklin, President of Whoozat, Inc., is an entrepreneur and eCommerce executive and has worked for notable companies including Ameritrade and Incapital. He is a founding member of Artadia and has sat on boards of the Art Institute of Chicago, Renaissance Society, and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. He and his wife live in Chicago and have been collecting together for 15 years. They have two young daughters.
Justin Conner, New York
Justin Conner is Founding Partner of Third Eye, a firm representing brands in the world of art, design, architecture, and fashion. His current clients include the Museum of Arts and Design, the New York Botanical Garden, Sculpture Center, Aspen Art Museum, The Brant Foundation, the Marciano Art Foundation, and MOCA Los Angeles. Conner previously served as the Assistant Vice President of FITZ & CO and a senior consultant at Black Frame. Conner acted as Project Manager for the installation of Serpentine Gallery curator Hans Ulrich Obrist’s installation at the 2010 Architecture Biennale, curated by SANAA. He holds a BA in Sociology and French from Vassar College, and an MA in Art History from Hunter College.
Joelle Connolly, San Francisco
Joelle Connolly is the founder of Joelle Connolly Art Advisory, a San Francisco Bay Area art advisement and collection management firm that works with both private and corporate clients. As a seasoned industry professional, Connolly possesses a thorough knowledge of the art world and has a great deal of experience in all aspects of curating and forming collections. With wide-ranging expertise, she has worked with established organizations within the national and global art community throughout her career.
Prior to launching her own art advisory business, she held the position as art advisor for Mary Zlot & Associates / Zlot Buell + Associates in San Francisco, CA. Previously, she was a client marketing representative at Christie’s auction house in New York. Earlier in her career, Connolly worked with Frederick Hughes, Chairman of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Executer of the Andy Warhol estate. Throughout the years, Connolly has demonstrated a true dedication to the art community on a personal as well as professional level. She has shown a commitment to an array of art-focused organizations including a SECA (Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art) at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In addition, she has served on the board of the New Langton Arts in San Francisco, CA. Connolly graduated Cum Laude from Ohio University where she earned a BFA in History of Art. She was also educated at American University in Washington, DC, and pursued an MA in the history of photography at Arizona State University. Additional studies include Italian Renaissance in Florence, Italy through Indiana University’, the Art and Architecture program at American University, and photography at Rhode Island School of Design.
Aurele Danoff Pelaia, Los Angeles
Aurele Danoff Pelaia is an attorney in Eisner Jaffe’s Corporate and Entertainment Media & The Arts Departments, working in a broad array of entertainment, intellectual property and general business matters, including specializing in art law. She represents artists, collectors, galleries, foundations, advisors, and dealers in various transactions. She is the former Co-Chair of, and remains actively involved with, LACMA’s Avant Garde group. Danoff Pelaia is actively involved with the Anti-Defamation League, the Alliance for Children’s Rights, and the Beverly Hills Bar Association. She holds a J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law and B.A. in Art History from Columbia University.
Cristina Enriquez-Bocobo, New York
Cristina Enriquez-Bocobo is President and lead designer at Enriquez-Bocobo Constructs, a furniture and product design firm. Enriquez-Bocobo is also an active board member of The Kitchen, a New York-based nonprofit, multidisciplinary art and performance space.
Oliver Frankel, New York
Oliver Frankel has worked in the finance for over 25 years, most recently as Managing Director at Goldman, Sachs & Co. Frankel is Board Chair Emeritus and founding Chair of the International Network for Public Schools, on the board since 2004. He has also served as Board Director of ICE Clear Credit, a key part of the US financial infrastructure. He and his wife live in New York and Los Angeles and are passionate collectors and supporters of contemporary art and artists.
John Guess, Jr., Houston
John Guess, Jr. is the voice and architect behind the resurgence of the Houston Museum of African American Culture, where he currently serves as Chief Executive Officer. He is also Managing Consultant of Guess Group Inc., and a Principal in the Dallas based ACCESS Seminars. Guess serves on the boards of Gulf Coast Journal and the University of Houston Mitchell Center for the Arts, and is a member of the McKinsey Online Executive Panel. Along with his partner Melanie Lawson, Guess is a passionate collector of African American, glass and contemporary art.
Matthew Higgs, New York
Matthew Higgs is an artist, writer, and curator based in New York. Since 2004, he has been the Director and Chief Curator of White Columns, New York City’s oldest alternative art space. Since 1992, he has organized more than 250 exhibitions and projects with artists in Europe, the United States, and Canada. Higgs has contributed text to more than 50 publications, and is a regular contributor to Artforum. He has shown his own work internationally, including solo shows at Wilkinson Gallery, London; The Apartment, Vancouver; Jack Hanley Gallery, Los Angeles; and Murray Guy, New York. Higgs has previously acted as Curator at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, and as the Associate Director of Exhibitions at London’s Institute of Contemporary Art. He is the recipient of the 2011 ICI Agnes Gund Curatorial Award, and has taught extensively at universities including London’s Royal College of Art and Goldsmith’s College.
Cecily Horton, Houston
Cecily Horton is a Partner with MKG Art Management. Trained as an art historian at Wellesley and Yale, Horton has worked in museums, galleries and, for 15 years, as an appraiser of fine art. She recently served on the Board of the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, and currently as a Trustee & Collections Committee member at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Horton previously served as Board President of the Lawndale Art Center, Houston, where she is a Trustee Emerita.
Chrissie Iles, New York
Chrissie Iles is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her exhibitions include the first retrospectives of Marina Abramovic, Yoko Ono, and John Latham, and exhibitions of Paul McCarthy, Louise Bourgeois, T. J. Wilcox, Sharon Hayes, Jack Goldstein, James Lee Byars, and Rudolf Stingel. She has curated several large survey exhibitions of film and video, including ‘Signs of the Times: Film, Video and Slide Installation and Britain in the 1980s’, ‘Scream and Scream Again: Film in Art’, ‘Into the Light: The Projected Image in American Art 1964-1977’ and ‘Off the Wall: Thirty Performative Actions’. Iles co-curated the 2004 and 2006 Whitney Biennials and programs the Whitney’s Film and Video Gallery. Iles has published widely and is a member of the Graduate Committee at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.
Tony Karman, Chicago
Tony Karman has been active in the civic, business and cultural communities of Chicago for over 35 years. Working with select institutions, associations, government organizations, producers of special events and corporations, he has guided numerous projects from concept to conclusion. Currently, he is President | Director of EXPO CHICAGO, The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art at Navy Pier, September 27-20, 2018. Karman’s past work includes: Vice President | Director, Art Chicago, Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc.; Principal, KARMAN Projects Inc. – providing sponsorship acquisition, strategic brand development and marketing coordination for international clients; Director of Marketing and Development for the Auditorium Theatre Council; Associate Director, Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Chicago; Managing Director of Arie Crown Theatre–Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority; Legislative Associate for Vice Mayor David Orr, City of Chicago–Committee for Special Events and Cultural Affairs; Associate Director of the League of Chicago Theatres; and Managing Director with the Lakeside Group, producers of the Chicago International Art Exposition. Originally from Rock Island, Illinois, Karman attended Augustana College and Kansas State University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. He was recently awarded a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French Government and an Honorary Doctorate from Columbia College Chicago. He has traveled extensively and establishing numerous professional alliances and relationships throughout the world. He is a long-time resident of Chicago, where he lives with his wife Sondra. Karman currently serves on several civic committees including the Municipal Marketing Advisory Council – City of Chicago, Cultural Tourism Commission – Choose Chicago, The Cooperative – Chicago Ideas Week, and the Advisory Committee – DePaul Art Museum.
Karen Mehiel, New York
Karen Mehiel is a California native who relocated to New York City in 2001. She is the CEO of KAMPACK Inc., a leading independent corrugated manufacturing company, headquartered in New Jersey. She is also co-founder and co-owner of Five Pillars Yoga, located in New York City on the Upper East Side. Karen is an active supporter of the Democratic Party, Board member of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Board member of Artadia, as well as a member of The Climate Group and Stony Brook’s Women’s Leadership Council. Karen has fed her passion for the Arts through culinary, interior design, renaissance and contemporary art studies.
Marilyn Minter, New York
Marilyn Minter (born 1948) is an American artist currently living and and working in New York City. Marilyn Minter has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2005, the Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati, Les Rencontres d’Arles festival in 2007, France, OH in 2009, La Conservera, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Ceutí/Murcia, Spain in 2009, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH in 2010 and the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, Germany in 2011. Her video Green Pink Caviar was exhibited in the lobby of the MoMA for over a year, and was also shown on digital billboards on Sunset Boulevard in LA, and the Creative Time MTV billboard in Times Square, New York. Minter’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions in museums all over the world. In 2006, Marilyn Minter was included in the Whitney Biennial, and in a collaboration with Creative Time she installed billboards all over Chelsea in New York City. Most recently, Minter was featured in “Riotous Baroque,” an exhibition that originated at the Kunsthaus Zürich and traveled to the Guggenheim Bilbao. A retrospective of Minter’s work is on view at the Brooklyn Museum after opening at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, TX and traveling around the country. Minter is represented by Salon 94, New York and Regen Projects, Los Angeles. Minter currently teaches in the MFA department at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Franklin Sirmans, Miami
Franklin Sirmans is the Director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Sirmans recently served as Artistic Director of Prospect.3 in New Orleans, LA. At LACMA, Sirmans has organized Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada, Variations: Conversations in and Around Abstract Painting, Fútbol: The Beautiful Game, Color and Form, Robert Therrien, Ends and Exits: Contemporary Art from the Collections of LACMA and the Broad Art Foundation, and co-organized the exhibition Human Nature: Contemporary Art from the Collection. He has also organized the museum’s presentations of Blinky Palermo: Retrospective, 1964–1977, Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals, and Glenn Ligon: America. From 2006 through 2009, he was the curator of modern and contemporary art at the Menil Collection in Houston, where the exhibitions he organized included NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith; and before that he was co-curator of Basquiat (2005–06: Brooklyn Museum, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston). Sirmans was the 2007 recipient of the David C. Driskell Prize awarded by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; and in 2009 he received one of the first Gold Rush Award given by the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. Sirmans has also written essays for several exhibition catalogues, including Artadia’s 2010 publication 5 Cities/41 Artists and articles and reviews in publications such as the New York Times, Time Out New York, Essence, and Grand Street.
Grant Withers, Los Angeles
Grant Withers is a Senior Vice President and Investment Counselor for Capital Group Private Client Services. He works directly with high net worth individuals and families to create customized plans for protecting and growing their wealth, often across multiple generations. Grant also helps nonprofit foundations and endowments to pursue their long-term financial objectives through effective planning and investment management.
Prior to joining Capital Group, Grant opened the Los Angeles office for First Foundation Advisors and served as Managing Director for four years. Previously, he was a Vice President with both U.S. Trust Bank of America Private Wealth Management and Bernstein Global Wealth Management.
Grant earned an MA in Psychology from Pepperdine University and a BA in History from UCLA. He is passionate about giving back to the community and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Make-a-Wish Foundation Tri-counties, the Zimmer Children’s Museum, Inner City Arts and the Ronald McDonald House of Los Angeles. He has also assumed the Capital Group seat on the Board of Trustees at the Autry Museum.
Lisa Wolman, New York
Lisa Wolman is the former President and CEO of For Eyes Optical Company. Lisa has been recognized in Vision Monday’s “Forty Under 40” and has been included in Vision Monday’s “The 50 Most Influential Women in Optical.” Lisa is on the Board of The Blue School, Sanctuary for Families, the CoChair of Sanctuary for Families Economic Empowerment program, and a member of YPO NY Metro Chapter. She is a former Young President of Mt. Sinai Hospital in Miami, Florida, and a former board member of the Miami City Ballet.
As President and CEO of For Eyes Optical, Lisa aligned the organization with numerous philanthropic causes. In 2000, Lisa developed an ongoing annual platform for supporting Evelyn Lauder’s Breast Cancer Research Foundation, raising awareness and significantly funds for BCRF on an annual basis. She also ensured that For Eyes provides free annual eye exams and eyewear to needy individuals across the country and also supports Prevent Blindness, Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic and other notforprofit community organizations. A graduate of Brown University, Lisa has also attended graduate MFA programs in creative writing at the University of Virginia and the University of Miami. She is the sole underwriter of the Lester Goran Endowed Scholarship in Creative Writing at the University of Miami.
Richard Ziegelasch, New York
Richard Ziegelasch is a Licensed Real Estate Agent at Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales. Richard has a passion and knowledge of New York buildings, neighborhoods, architecture, and art. Previous to Brown Harris Stevens, Richard spent twenty years as a senior private banker for both Credit Suisse and UBS. He is involved in many noted arts, cultural, and charitable organizations around the world. Previously, Richard has served on the Board of Directors of Best Buddies International, is currently Chairman Emeritus of the Board of the Point Foundation, and is on the Board of East Side Settlement House. Richard is also involved with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, MoMA, Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, National Arts Club, SoHo House, the American Friends of the Louvre, and Art Basel.
Laurie Ziegler, Los Angeles
Laurie Ziegler is an expert in the fields of strategic marketing, brand placement, and corporate giving. Ziegler is an active board member of The Mistake Room and The Ojai Playwrights Conference, and sits on the advisory board of The Geffen Playhouse.