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Art World Insiders: Alexandra Steinacker-Clark

Alexandra Steinacker-Clark, an American-Austrian art historian and curator based in London, leads the 'All About Art' Podcast, offering insights into the cultural sector and works as Gallery and Exhibition Manager at Galerie Max Hetzler. Her career, marked by roles at prestigious institutions like Sotheby's and engagements as a TEDx speaker, reflects her dedication to exploring art's impact on empathy and accessibility.


Photo by Reece Gibbins


Please tell us a bit about yourself and your journey with the arts.

I am an art historian and podcaster, having come to London nearly 7 years ago to begin my studies in art history at UCL. I was a student and was lucky enough to get a job at the front desk at Sotheby's auction house. After working there, plus a few internships and jobs at galleries, museums, and artist studios, I am now a Gallery and Exhibitions Manager at Galerie Max Hetzler in London, a freelance curator and writer, and the host of the All About Art Podcast.



Alexandra Steinacker-Clark giving a talk at TEDx, 2023


The 'All About Art' Podcast is approaching its third anniversary. Looking back, what inspired you to start this podcast, and how has your vision for it evolved over these years?

I felt like there was a big gap in the arts in terms of information out there on the various jobs you can do in the sector. When I was studying, I thought ‘Oh, okay, I can be a curator or a gallerist. There are museums and galleries, those are my two options’ and I wasn’t aware of the plethora of career paths one can take. Auction house, writer, researcher, technician, programming, and so much more. It was a selfish thing, really, because the motivation was, ‘How can I find out what these people do and how they got there so that I can think about my career future?’ and thus… All About Art was born. In the beginning, it was definitely not as defined, though. I had just wanted to give a better overview of the arts and cultural sector in general, and now I have really found that the specific career approach is what was needed - although I still do a solo episode on cultural topics here and there!



All About Art Podcast 2nd Anniversary, 2023, Photo by Reece Gibbins

Considering the podcast's success, what do you believe has resonated most with your audience?

I would like to think it is a combination of things. Obviously the amazing guests I have had the privilege of interviewing, but my approach to the conversation and the questions that I ask also hopefully create high-quality content. When I interview, it is open and fun, but it doesn't sound like I am just sitting with a friend having a chat, as it's a bit more considered in its structure. I always want to record in-person because I feel it has an effect on the ease of the conversation, and my editing process is quite strict. I personally am someone who gets distracted by a lot of unnecessary noise, so I make sure the audio is as clean as possible (at least, for someone who taught themselves how to edit!). I think it's the combination of these things that not only draws people into listening but keeps them coming back as a loyal audience and community, which I couldn't be more grateful for.

The All About Art Networking events have created a professional community within the arts sector. Can you share a memorable story or outcome from these events that highlights their impact?

The first ever event I did was the 2nd anniversary celebration, which spanned over three days, and that was wildly fun and chaotic! We had speed networking and a Jenga came with art-world questions written on the pieces for people to play and get to know each other. Then we had exhibition tours and panel talks, too. The fact that only 6 months later we collaborated with Unit London for a networking event and 60 tickets sold out within a week was a huge indication for me that these events are not only incredibly popular, they are really needed. I see people connect with each other and form professional relationships at these events, which is super meaningful because my entire aim is to create a space where people can do what many others have the chance (privilege) to do behind closed doors, in a more accessible way.


All About Art Podcast x Unit London Networking Event 2023, Photo by Reece Gibbins


You've held positions in prestigious galleries and museums across Europe. What have been some of your career journey's most challenging and rewarding aspects?

I began my professional career at the same time as I did my academic one, so I was working throughout the university with part-time jobs, internships during the summers and, of course, full-time jobs and freelance projects following that (so basically, a lot of different professional experience so far). After nearly 7 years working in those jobs, there were both a lot of challenges and also amazing moments - One of the coolest was when Banksy's 'Girl with a Baloon' shredded at Sotheby's London, it was wild because I was in the room for that. Working with phenomenal artists (who create the best art), curators, writers, and other cultural practitioners is the reason why I continue to do what I do, as it is one of the most rewarding things about this job. Of course, funding is always the biggest challenge, as with the podcast, we basically work as volunteers unless we get sponsorships, and art jobs are not the most well-paid compared to other sectors, depending on your position and which organisation you are in. Never once did I think it wasn't worth it, though - I would rather get up every day and love what I do than have a lot of money (as long as I am in a position that is financially stable, but this is another can of worms I could talk about for ages!).

With your expertise in Western museum policies and accessibility, what changes or initiatives do you believe are essential for museums to become more inclusive and engaging for all audiences?

I would like to see mainland Europe take a page out of London’s book when it comes to how arts institutions approach getting visitors through the door because the art world can be an intimidating place when the white gallery walls seem so uninviting. London is doing a great job with various initiatives (for young people, for people from different economic backgrounds, with museums being FREE, making sure art is on view to interest a broader audience, not just a specific demographic, I could go on). However, when I think about Europe (I am having my home country, Austria, in mind at the moment), they could definitely do with some improvements. This could be in relation to sensory stimuli and making adjustments for neurodivergent visitors, or the language used in the exhibition texts and how they remain still quite convoluted. Even as an art historian, I sometimes read the texts and think... What? Why is this still happening? When it's already intimidating to get there in the first place, and then you have a text on the wall that makes you feel stupid, you're not going to want to go back!


What advice would you give to young professionals aspiring to build a career in the arts and cultural sector?

Listen to my podcast ;) haha but on a serious note:

1. Get out there and network. Find your people, because you will grow together and build each other up. I wouldn't be even close to where I am without the people in my professional circle.

2. Stop competing for things (a little bit of healthy competition is fine but don't let comparison to others rob you of the joy of the arts!) and instead, get your head in the game with a focus on what YOU want to get out of your career.

3. Go see as much art as you can, know what is going on in your sector and what is being exhibited/loved / talked about.



Alexandra Steinacker-Clark curated a section for the Art On A Postcard: International Women's Day Auction, 2024, Photo by Reece Gibbins


Looking ahead, are there any new projects or directions you are excited to explore, both in your podcasting and professional career in the art world?

Yes, definitely. I am currently working on creating another resource, in written form, that is based on the work I do with the podcast. I can’t really say more than that at the moment (but I don’t think it is hard to guess what I am referring to) as nothing is currently confirmed - but hopefully, more on that soon! In terms of my gallery career, well… we'll see what happens there. Right now I am focusing on soaking up as much knowledge as I can at the gallery I have the privilege of working for to be equipped with the experience to support artists in their careers in the future.


Follow @alexandrasteinacker to learn about her current and future projects and listen to @allaboutartpodcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or your any other favourite platforms.

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