Q&A: Woman Behind the Email

Catching up with ForYourArt's Bettina Korek

foryourart bettina korek!

Since its 2006 launch, ForYourArt’s weekly emails have been the premiere field guide for L.A. culture vultures. A comprehensive roundup of exhibits, lectures, and more, it’s a must-read before hitting the gallery or museum circuit. (We’d be lying if we said we’d never regurgitated its erudite descriptions to sound like a smarty-pants in front of friends.)

Not surprisingly, founder Bettina Korek is as thoughtful and intelligent as her prose. Here, she talks about Matisse’s collages, Hans Ulrich Obrist’s Instagram feed, and the brilliance of an In-N-Out cheeseburger.

Neighborhood: Westwood

Occupation: Founder of ForYourArt, a guide to engaging with art on- and offline 

Where do you go for a burst of inspiration?
The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook and then Arcana Books on the Arts in Culver City. The park has one of the best and unique views of L.A. The steps up have a Mayan feeling and are a great workout. Arcana’s selection of books and publications on the arts is an endless source of inspiring references. There’s something about the climb up to the view and searching through Arcana’s Johnston Marklee-designed shelves that makes finding what you are looking for even sweeter.

Which local artists make your heart skip a beat?

I’m slightly addicted to Instagram right now, so I have to admit it’s seeing artists there that is giving me the biggest rush. Alex Israel, Mark Hagen, Mario Ybarra Jr., Liz Glynn, Laura Owens, Dawn Kasper, Niko, Ryan Trecartin, and Matt Merkel-Hess are a few from L.A. that I follow. Of course, if you want a glimpse into artists’ studios from around the world, follow Hans Ulrich Obrist.

What’s on your bedside table?

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (I hope this will work by osmosis) and Daniel J. Boorstin’s The Image (obsessed).

First celebrity crush?
Daniel Day-Lewis. I still get butterflies thinking about the scene in The Last of the Mohicans when he says, “I will find you,” and there’s a waterfall in the background.

Talk to us about your freshman dorm room. What was on the walls?

Posters of Matisse’s paper cutouts. He made this work at the end of his life when he spoke of feeling free. The colorful collages give me the feeling that anything is possible.

Let’s play a word-association game. What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “incognito”?
The Santa Monica Museum of Art has a legendary event every year called Incognito. Hundreds of artists donate works, and people race to pick the best or their favorite piece. The artists’ identities are revealed only after the purchase. Trusting your instincts and getting what you love is always my first advice to collectors, so this is a great event.

You’re an L.A. girl, born and raised. What’s your favorite local dish?
An In-N-Out cheeseburger, it’s a classic.

What ForYourArt project are you most proud of?

Barbara Kruger and John Baldessari’s buses for Arts Matter, the L.A. Fund’s campaign for arts education in public schools. Being a part of putting art on the streets — the perfect exhibition space in L.A. — was a real honor. Through this program, Barbara’s use of phrases like H.G. Wells’s “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe” and John Baldessari’s “Learn to dream” were seen throughout the county.

Want more? Find out where
Foam editor Sari Tuschman catches a wave.

Photo: Courtesy of Bettina Korek