New Ways of Seeing: Technology & Mobility

As the art world evolves,  Rebekah Jacob strategizes and implements new ways to sell art and expand her buyer base.  Owner and founder of two art enterprises--the Rebekah Jacob Gallery and the Vedado Gallery*--veteran dealer yet progressive entrepreneur embraces technology as well as mobilizers her brand via art hunts through Mexico City and Havana and participation in art fairs in some of the Southeast's hottest markets.  

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Jacob agrees with many dealers that a physical space no longer lures the demographic and buyer on a consistent basis.  Therefore, retailers in the Art World are leveraging technology to enhance operational visibility and lure new sets of eyes and Jacob is no different.  She and her assistants work diligently and consistently to keep the websites updated as well as social media feeds current and steady. “Tech is a cost-effective and creative way to advertise, reaching buyers world-wide,” notes Jacob.  “Tech has no doubt been our main tool for growth and exposure.”

Today, many art dealers agree that vintage tactics like gallery exhibitions accompanied by wine and cheese gatherings no longer work and create revenue.  Nationwide, gallery visitors have slumped as tech engagers and art fair buyers have tripled.  “No doubt, art fairs have become the primary (retail) site of sales and networking,” says Jacob.  

Jacob is no rookie to curating and installing exhibitions at top art fairs, such as SCOPE, Art Basel (Miami).  A microcosm of Vedado’s larger program, the 2017 exhibition booth mainly featured works by famed artist Edel Rodriguez, who grew up in Havana then later moved to the US with his family.  Inspired by personal history, religious rituals, politics, memory, and nostalgia, his bold, figurative and mostly red-and-black works are an examination of identity, cultural displacement, and mortality.   “The work was a visual craze,” says Jacob, “and we sold most of the booth within the first few hours of Art Basel’s opening.” 

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Jacob will launch her fall exhibition program on the road, by exhibiting rare and top-quality Latin American photography and works on paper at Texas Contemporary, Houston.  From her contemporary Cuban inventory, Jacob has painstakingly curated modern and contemporary works by acclaimed artists living and working in the land of their birth —Guillermo Estrada Viera, Abigail Gonzales, Alcides Perez Toledo.  Jacob also curates works by Americans having traveled Vedado--such as Kevin Foltz and Tria Giovan.  With a built in stable of Houston clients juxtaposed with the city’s tremendous growth and high net worth dwellers, Jacob expects a successful event.   

The art world is changing quickly in regard to tech and art fair platforms, and I am trying to adapt," notes Jacob.  "To rely on inbound buyers within a traditional brick and mortar model is a death sentence."  

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Rebekah Jacob Gallery (www.rebekahjacobgallery.com) specializes in fine photography of the American South and Caribbean Isles.  Vedado (www.vedado.co) focuses on fine paintings and works on paper of Cuba, all mined on her frequent sourcing and buying trips to Havana.