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March 29, 2023

Spotlight on Maria Vogel: from Rococo to Rococinco

Article by newcube

4 min. read

Maria Vogel at Rococinco, Los Angeles. Courtesy BFA

A few weeks ago, newcube’s cofounders Bibi and Claire had the pleasure to sit down and chat with Maria Vogel, a young art advisor and writer based in New York, founder of Rococo Advisory and Rococinco.

A pleasure to connect again, Maria. You wear many hats, as a writer, curator, advisor, and also in many ways patron of the arts. What transcends when speaking with you is your genuine passion for artists and your support of their work and careers. We would love to hear more about your unique trajectory in the art world. What brought you to the art scene initially and to establishing Rococo? 

First of all, thank you from the bottom of my heart for that moving introduction! It will never cease to thrill me to know that is how I am received by my peers because it’s something I work toward daily.

I was brought into the art scene by way of moving to New York at 22 and enrolling in an MA for Art Business. After beginning my career at a blue-chip gallery and experiencing its limitations toward personal growth, I set out on a very non-linear path to find the growth within the art world I was so hungry to experience.

Could you tell us a little more about Rococo’s mission and projects? 

Rococo is an advisory focused on creating touchstones of connection between collectors, art enthusiasts, and artists. Our mission is focused around lifting the veils of the art world while bringing more and more people into the fold and helping them on their collecting journeys. Apart from operating as a full-service advisory, Rococo hosts regular activations, including group studio visits, exhibition walkthroughs, and a dinner party series, Rococinco. Each of these gatherings aims to generate a space for memorable interactions and close engagement with artists.

We love the concept of your Rococo dinners. We’d love to hear more about those events. How did this idea come about and how do you typically choose the artists and guests that you bring together on those special nights? 

My dinner parties are called Rococinco – a play on the advisory name and the number five, since each dinner celebrates five different artists. I always say that the idea of merging art and food is certainly not something I was the first to come up with, but I do think my timing and spin on it has been the recipe for success. Coming out of the pandemic, I had a reawakening – as so many of us did – on how I wanted to spend my free time. My idea of an ideal night involves homecooked food, cozy ambiance, and the company of others who inspire me. Dinner parties really seemed to take on a new role during this time as larger gatherings became less and less frequent.

While in this headspace, I started to dream up what a dinner party for the art world could look like. It didn’t happen overnight—in fact the concept took on many different iterations as it tossed around my mind and I tried to piece everything together. This summer, I felt ready to bring things to fruition and it just so happened to coincide with the launch of Rococo. That was really the finishing touch—realizing that the ethos of my advisory and what I was creating with Rococinco were so in tandem.

Each dinner will look a little different than the last – a new venue, chef, group of artists – but the idea of coming together and celebrating artists over a shared meal will remain the same. So far, I’ve chosen artists I have personal relationships with but looking forward, I’m hoping to expand the web and invite in different partners to help curate the artist list in inventive ways. There is only one guideline I follow for guests—people who are interested and excited to be a part of the evening. 

The guests at Rococinco, Los Angeles. Courtesy BFA

Many collectors and artists we have met along the way have shared how friendships made in the art world have enriched their life. We spoke to you a lot about this sense of community, which we really pay a lot of attention to as well at newcube. Could you tell us how you have built a community throughout your projects? 

I think that my community really fell into place as I began to find my voice within the art world. There’s a lot of industry pressure to conform that I definitely fell victim to early on. As soon as I was able to work past that and set my own parameters of how I wanted to show up, the type of people I wanted to surround myself with also showed up. I’ve always felt like I connect more to artists than to other industry professionals and many of my close friends are also the artists I’m trying to get onto more people’s radar and into more people’s homes.

How do you typically meet new collectors?

Many of the collectors I’ve been lucky to support I’ve met organically, either by introduction or referral from other collectors or people in my life. Instagram has played a role as well, but in my opinion, nothing beats meeting in real life by happenstance and realizing you share a common thread that could lead to an advising relationship – these moments tend to happen at art fairs or events totally outside of the art world.

Rococinco traveled to LA for Frieze 2023 and honored artists Greg Ito, Lily Stockman, Aryana Minai, Carlos Jaramillo, and Emma Webster. Courtesy BFA

Do you collect art yourself? If yes, who are some of the artists in your collection? 

Ever since I started to have even a little bit of disposable income, it’s gone towards collecting art. I’m fortunate to live with art by some of my closest friends: Lujan Perez, Hunter Potter, Austyn Weiner, Kristin Texiera, and Caleb Hahne Quintana, as well as pieces I cherish by Dani Orchard, Basil Kincaid, Mia Middleton, Kevin McNamee Tweed, and Daisy Dodd Noble, to name a few.

As an advisor, who are the artists who have been the most interesting discoveries for you? Do you have an area of expertise?  

I love when I get the chance to meet and visit with an artist when they are in this particular sweet spot on the cusp of growth. I always keep tabs on any artist I meet and connect with and in this way, get to witness their progression through the art world and remember the before moment we spent together. I don’t know if I would go as far to claim expertise but I’ve developed a good sense of pinpointing which young or newly discovered artists will really take the art world by storm.

Which artists, writers, academics, curators and other creative thinkers have influenced you throughout the years? 

Inside the art world: Leonora Carrington, Su Wu, Kimberly Drew, Peggy Guggenheim, and Elizabeth Dee. Outside the art world: Hanya Yanagihara, Ocean Vuong, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and my Aunt Julie.

Would you have any specific advice to emerging artists?

I’ve never been in an artist’s shoes so I won’t pretend to be a voice of authority in this arena, but over the course of hundreds of studio visits something that sticks out to me as one of the most intoxicating traits an artist can have is knowing the why behind every decision they are making in their practice. When you can feel an artist is making work that is so purely themselves, it’s one of the most beautiful experiences to encounter.

Any fun predictions for trends in 2023-2024? 

I try to steer clear of the word trends in art because I want what I am doing to help others to last much longer than the life cycle of a trend. One thing I hope will occur more in the next year is young collectors taking an interest in adding depth to their collection, be it through older or lesser-known artists, deceased artists, or pieces that are in direct conversation with one another.

What has been the most exciting exhibition you’ve seen in the past year? 

Surrealism and Magic: Enchanted Modernity at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.

Thank you for your insights and for sharing your story with us. We look forward to seeing you soon!

The first rendition of Rococinco. Courtesy BFA

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