Art and People
Interview with Robin Roche, Senior Vice President at DAG, New York
Apr 15, 2019
DAG celebrated a successful debut at the Armory Show this past month. DAG is a leading Upper East Side gallery which also operates in New Delhi and Mumbai. At the Armory Show, DAG showcased Indian modern masters who had a deep connection with US culture. Centered by Ram Kumar’s marvelous abstract landscapes and Satish Gujral’s geometrical shaped mixed media works, DAG’s booth consisted of various Indian modern art which was particularly influenced by New York’s liberal atmosphere in the 1960s and 70s, attracted all the fair-goers’ attention during the event.
Indian Modern Art is definitely an undiscovered area with many potentials to be developed. Robin Roche who joined the gallery in 2018 as the Senior Vice President foresaw this growth potential and believes that Indian Modern Art should be rediscovered in the art world and reappraised.
Below is a short interview with Robin Roche.
Eazel (Eazel): Please let us know how you began your career in the art world?
Robin Roche (Robin): I did study art history at university but when I graduated from the University of California, there were not a lot of job prospects. I spent the first few years out of college in random entry-level jobs and was traveling around Europe until I moved to New York and landed a job as a trading desk assistant in the Derivatives department at Citibank. Eventually, I heard about a job in the legal department of Christie’s where they wanted someone with trading desk experience (the General Council came from a banking background) - which is how I got my art world break.
Eazel (Eazel): You have had a really interesting and amazing career. You have worked for auction houses, galleries, and startups. Which has been the most challenging of them all?
Robin: Working for a big auction house is really intense - you get to work with the amazing property, brilliant colleagues, but one is always on deadline, and there is always a lot of pressure. I would say the most rewarding was building an auction house practically from scratch with Auctionata.
Eazel (Eazel): Could you describe your role at DAG? And why you were drawn to it?
Robin: I love my new role at DAG - I was brought in to grow the business. Most of the art world has simply not been introduced to Indian Art - particularly the Modern Masters. It’s was so exciting to see people wander in our booth at the Armory show this year and have them stop in their tracks and “Wow this art is fabulous! What is it?”
Eazel (Eazel): What do you see becoming of the Indian Art market in the 21st century? Is there a pronounced trend in the Indian art world?
Robin: Indian Modern is finally getting the recognition it deserves particularly with shows such as Asia Society’s show, The Progressive Revolution: Modern Art for a New India, on the progressive and the upcoming show at the Met of Mrinalini Mukherjee. Expect to see the Indian prices start to rise just like Asian did the past 10 years.
Eazel (Eazel): Throughout your career, you have always had a propensity towards introducing new technology into the art world. Do you think the art world is open and accepting of technology?
Robin: The Art world may not adapt as fast as some other industries but it’s getting there. The art world revolves around collectors. Without them, we have no art world. So any technology that gives collectors greater access to the art they love is going to have an easier time. I have seen plenty of start-ups that come up with an idea to solve a certain issue they see in the art world, but if the collectors aren’t bothered by that certain issue, traction will be next to impossible to achieve.
Eazel (Eazel): Do you think that technology will be able to make a positive impact on the art world?
Robin: Of course - it already has. When I started in the art world of the 90s, it was primarily a regional based business where transactions happened face to face. Now that has completely changed - we are a global business now thanks to technology!
Robin Roche has nearly two decades of experience in the art market. She began her art career at Christie’s New York, where she managed multiple fine and decorative arts departments including Books and Manuscripts, Antiquities, British and Maritime Art Paintings and Design. After Christie’s, she joined a blue-chip American Paintings gallery, The Gerald Peters Gallery, where for five years she managed their New York location. She went on to become the first head of Artnet Auctions and later launched the online Auction House, Auctionata, into the US Market as their Chief Auction Officer, NY. Robin most recently was Head of Business Development and Marketing for a new art services division for the SGS corporation. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Classics from the University of California.
Robin is currently responsible for the overall management of the New York gallery of DAG, the world’s foremost gallery for Indian Modern and Contemporary art.