Interning in the Global Art Scene of London

Living in a city filled with art from around the world is a dream come true for someone wanting to break into the art industry. With over 250 registered art institutions, 1,500 galleries, and dozens of art fairs held every year for the public, London is the place to be. I have only been here for a few short weeks, but I have already learned so much about the global art market and current trends.

At TU I study art history & arts management and have had internships and practicums in non-profit galleries and institutional museums. My study abroad program is a perfect blend and expansion of my established foundation.

This semester, I am studying in London at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art (SIA), focusing on art business and taking classes on “Foundations of the Global Art Market” and “The Art Market in Practice.” Sotheby’s is a top global auction house, and is well-recognized as a leading authority in the art world. My courses teach about art market trends and topics, using the city of London in all of its beauty as our classroom. 

In addition to taking classes at SIA, I am also interning at Alon Zakaim Fine Art, a commercial gallery in the SOHO district on Dover Street. Throughout the year the gallery participates in several high-profile art fairs locally and globally. During my internship, I am able to assist with preparation for these events.

My first week, I helped frame both an impressionist painting and a large photography print. Following this, I was asked to help create a scaled model of the layout of the TEFAF Maastricht art fair space. I am also in charge of maintaining price lists, researching new acquisitions, and performing other duties as needed. Not only am I able to make lasting connections with fellow art historians, but I am also gaining exposure to the commercial side of the art world.

The gallery deals in a wide range of works and exhibits a distinguished collection of paintings and sculptures. Their collection contains major Impressionist artists including Monet, Sisley, Renoir and Pissarro, key Modern works by artists such as Picasso, Leger, and Chagall, and established names on the contemporary art market such as Patrick Hughes. These names are some that I have studied and admired for afar. Through interning at SIA, I get to interact with these pieces in person on a daily basis. 

This is my second time abroad while at TU, and I encourage anyone thinking about going abroad to just go for it – your time abroad can only help you in life, and it’s such a worthwhile experience to travel, be exposed to new cultures, and meet new people. This level of exposure to the international art scene is something that would not be available at home, and I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to take classes and serve as an intern in this amazing city.

Sina McLin
University of Tulsa ‘19
Art History & Arts Management
England | Spring 2018