Szanto in 2011
|Born||January 1, 1964|
|Residence||New York City|
|Alma mater||Columbia University, New York|
András Szántó (b. Jan. 1, 1964, Budapest) is a writer, researcher, and consultant in the fields of art, media, cultural policy, arts sponsorship, and philanthropy, based in New York.
Life and work
After a childhood and early youth spent in Budapest and London, Szántó attended the Budapest University of Economics (now Corvinus University), and, in 1988, moved to New York for graduate studies in sociology. At Columbia University, as a Lazarsfeld Fellow, his research interests turned to the social and commercial ramifications of the visual arts. He completed his Ph.D. dissertation in 1996 on New York art galleries and the transformation of the art world in the 1980s, working closely with Arthur Danto, the Columbia philosopher and art critic.
While in graduate school, Szántó worked as a research analyst at the Media Studies Center at Columbia. In the years 1997-2005, he was deputy directory and director of the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia ‘s Graduate School of Journalism, in association with the School of the Arts. In 2005-10 he directed, also at Columbia, the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Classical Music and Opera. Other appointments have included: research affiliate of the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies at Princeton University, visiting critic at the American Academy in Rome, and senior visiting fellow at the Center for Arts and Culture in Washington, DC. He is the Moderator of the Global Museum Leaders Colloquium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art In New York.
At Columbia, Szántó organized a series of conferences on a wide range of arts topics. Since 2008, he has moderated discussions of global museum leaders at Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach, the Global Art Forum in Dubai, and other events. He was the curator of the September 2012 International Art Industry Forum in Vienna, Austria. Szántó has taught courses on sociology at Columbia and Barnard College, and on art business and marketing at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York. His principal professional focus is consulting and strategic advisory work with museums, foundations, cultural organizations, and corporations.
Writing, Journalism, and Commentary
Much of Szántó’s writing examines arts and cultural institutions, in particular the dynamics of the contemporary art world and art market. His journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Artforum, The American Prospect, I.D., Architecture, Print, Interiors, Men’s Vogue, Museum Practice, and other publications. He is a contributing editor of The Art Newspaper and co-founder of ArtworldSalon. His writings and reports on the art world have explored topics ranging from the strategies, missions, and architecture of American art museums to the role of the arts in cultural diplomacy, the rhetoric of cultural advocacy, and the transformative role of technology in museums. Earlier in his life, Szántó worked as a translator of art history and art criticism.
Szántó has also published widely on public affairs. In college, he researched the then-taboo topic of forced resettlements in Stalinist Hungary. In 1989, his undergraduate thesis became a bestselling book. In New York, he served as a correspondent for Magyar Narancs, the first Hungarian alternative weekly, and published op-ed articles in The Boston Globe and The Los Angeles Times. In 2007, he organized a conference, funded by Hungarian financier and philanthropist George Soros, on political propaganda at the New York Public Library, and edited the companion book of essays, What Orwell Didn’t Know: Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics.
Art, Business, and Strategy
Szántó’s museum and foundation consulting involves the design and implementation of new programming and marketing initiatives, strategic planning, and the organization of conferences and public forums. He has also been retained by global corporations to design new arts engagement and sponsorship initiatives, including Art Basel and The Absolut Company / Pernod-Ricard, where he is the Principal Advisor to the Absolut Art Bureau. He is the Chief Consultant of the Davidoff Art Initiative.
Past and present non-profit consulting clients have included The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Guggenheim Foundation, Asia Society, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, The Rockefeller Archive Center, The Henry Luce Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the RAND Corporation, the Rosenkranz Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Aspen Institute, The Wallace Foundation, and The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation. Szántó regularly collaborates as a senior consultant with AEA Consulting, the New York arts advisory firm, where planning and evaluation clients have included The Public Art Fund, Tribeca Film Institute, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit, SculptureCenter, The Meserve Kunhardt Foundation, the Roundabout Theater Company, the Knight Foundation, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Cultural Policy, Diplomacy, and Philanthropy
A former Senior Advisor to the Hungarian Minister of Culture and Education, Szántó has been active in the field of international cultural engagement. In 2001, he helped establish the Transatlantic Forum for Cultural Research at UNESCO in Paris. In 2003, he co-organized a Columbia University conference, Arts and Minds: Cultural Diplomacy Amid Global Tensions. In 2012, he moderated a Salzburg Seminar, on Public and Private Cultural Exchange-Based Diplomacy: New Models for the 21st Century. Also in 2012, he participated in and wrote the summary report for the Asia Society's US-China Museum Directors Forum in Beijing. As an analyst and consultant in the field of private philanthropy, he contributed to the 2010 Aspen Institute report, The Artist as Philanthropist: Strengthening the Next Generation of Artist-endowed Foundations, and has served as an advisor to The Wealth & Giving Forum and the Rockefeller Archive Center.
Service and Family
Szántó is the Chair of the Visiting Committee of the San Francisco Art Institute and has served on the advisory boards of Apexart, The Alliance for the Arts, the Gordon Parks Foundation, the George H. Heyman Center for Philanthropy at NYU, and the research advisory committee of the CPANDA (Cultural Policy and the Arts National Data Archive) at Princeton. He lives in New York City with his wife, Alanna Stang, a magazine editor and author on sustainable architecture, and their sons, Alexander and Hugo.
Citations and Links
Selected books, chapters, research reports:
“A New Mandate for Philanthropy? U.S. Foundation Support for International Arts Exchanges.” Cultural Diplomacy Research Series; Washington D.C.: The Center for Arts and Culture, 2003.
“Hot and Cool: Some Contrasts between the Visual Art Worlds of New York and Los Angeles.” In: New York & Los Angeles: Politics, Society, and Culture: a Comparative View. (David Halle, ed.) Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2003.
“Don’t Shoot the Messenger: Why the Art World and the Press Don’t Get Along.” In: Unsettling ‘Sensation’: Arts-Policy Lessons from the Brooklyn Museum of Art Controversy. Rutgers Press, 2001.
Selected essays, journalism and commentary:
“China’s New Age of Enlightenment.” The Art Newspaper, Apr. 2011
“Funding: The State of the Art.” The Art Newspaper, June 2010.
“Will US Museums Succeed in Reinventing Themselves?” The Art Newspaper, Jan. 2010.
“The Business of Art.” The American Prospect, Feb. 28, 2000.
“Nostalgia for Socialism.” The Boston Globe, May 29, 1994.