The ARTnews Accord: Gallerist Nicola Vassell and Curator Donna De Salvo Talk About Kaleidoscopic Changes in the Art Worl

Andy Battaglia, ARTnews, November 11, 2021

In July, Vassell and De Salvo joined ARTnews at Vassell’s gallery to discuss their new roles, their thoughts about an art world in flux, and their hopes and concerns for

the future.


ARTnews: Do you think people are looking for different things from art now?


De Salvo: The sense of urgency of this past year and a half has brought things to the forefront that have always been there. Now there’s a greater awareness, especially on the part of the white public, frankly. I agree that it’s a larger social project, and museums are reflective of that. When I worked at Tate Modern, Tony Blair was prime minister, and there was this big push to see art as a kind of social project that was inclusive for the public. There was this idea that art offered something that other things did not, and I always thought there was something that museums offer in terms of collective experience—a certain belief system that people are hungry for.


Vassell: It’s interesting that you bring up Tony Blair, because I think back to that point in time, with globalization and dissolving borders and boundaries. Now we’re looking at the flip side of it: borders have gone all the way back up, and the idea of stating clearly who people are relative to each other is fiercer than ever. It’s the inverse, in a way.