Helen Toomer Heads Pulse Art Fair

by Paddy Johnson and Matthew Leifheit on January 15, 2014 Newswire

Toomer Labzda on top of the world.

Toomer Labzda on top of the world.

Helen Toomer’s got a big job ahead of her. The former director of the Collective Design Fair and founder of Toomer Labzda gallery on the Lower East Side will now head the ever shrinking Pulse Art Fair. Pulse is known as a venue for galleries that show relatively conservative but accomplished contemporary art work. Since we began covering the fair in 2006, we’ve watched Pulse rise to prominence only to later falter due to increased competition and rumors of poor management.

In short, Pulse’s reputation is in need of a reboot. As a champion of emerging galleries and artists, we think Toomer may be the exact right person to make this happen. After all, Pulse’s core customer base is emerging galleries, a field the former gallery owner knows well. Toomer also has a reputation for being a fantastic sales person, which suggests she’ll be able to bring new galleries on board.

And she’ll need to do that. In 2013, most of the fair’s exhibitors told us they chose Pulse because it was their first time participating in an art fair and it seemed a good stepping stone to larger fairs. No fair wants the bulk of its customers looking to leave for greener pastures the minute they get there, so this strikes me as a problem that needs addressing. Running a fair isn’t just bringing galleries on, but giving them reasons to come back. Collectors are that reason, and only a select number fair managers seem to be able to consistently master the alchemy that lures them anywhere. Our hope for Toomer is that she will be amongst those few. H/T: BlouinArtInfo

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