“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” remarked Angela Lange Meredith-Jones ’87 as she described why someone might be drawn to a certain piece of art while others may not. Since 2004, Meredith-Jones has been a private art consultant, curator, and researcher. She often tells her clients that they need to feel some kind of personal connection to their art. “It may be color, shape, or something else that draws you in,” she added. Angela’s list of professional contacts, both nationally and internationally, allows her to seek new and interesting work for clients. She is also pleased to see more diversity showcased in the art world.
Meredith-Jones grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany until her family returned to the States in 1983. After graduating from Berkshire, she received her B.A. in art history and German literature from Bennington College. She later received her M.A. in art history, with a focus on Islamic art, from Hunter College. Prior to her work as a private art consultant, Meredith-Jones worked at the Museum of Modern Art as well as the Anton Kern and Tony Shafrazi Galleries. She has has had many volunteer positions, most recently as the Programming and Gala Chair at the Oysterponds Historical Society. Currently a member of the Berkshire’s DEI Alumni Council, where she sits on the Faculty/Staff Support Committee, Meredith-Jones is a parent of three children, Ella, Mirabelle ’25, and Caspar ’25, and is thrilled to experience being both a dedicated alumna and a parent of two Bears.
Learn more about Angela Meredith-Jones’s professional career and her memories of Berkshire in the Q & A below.
How has the art world evolved in the last few years?
The art world has changed so much over the past 30 years. A noticeable transformation I have witnessed is how art has grown exponentially in popularity—looking at art and collecting have become so accessible. Social media has made the world smaller, and artists, galleries, and museums have sophisticated social media platforms and are, therefore, available around the clock.
To give context, in 1991, when I started my career, the New York contemporary art scene consisted mostly of a handful of galleries; the younger important ones were in SoHo, having opened in the mid-80s, and the more established galleries were uptown. The three museums to visit were the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Metropolitan Museum, and the Whitney Museum. The New Museum was in its early years, and art fairs were held predominantly in European cities once a year.
Fast forward to the present: Galleries and museums dot New York City’s five boroughs and beyond, art fairs abound as do numerous satellite art fairs, open studios and more. Simply put, art is readily available on a national and international scale.
Another important change I have witnessed is that the largest and most successful galleries have expanded to Europe and Asia to broaden their reach both in terms of exhibition programming and sales. Additionally, these galleries represent not only artists and artists’ estates, but they also have curators and art historians on staff and regularly organize highly qualitative and art historically important exhibitions, thereby blurring the lines of what was traditionally museum-only programming. Finally, women are taking the helm at many galleries and museums, and rebalancing what had been a field dominated by men, both as artists and art historians.
What advice would you give to anyone who is newly interested in collecting art?
It sounds so basic, but if someone is new to art, I would first suggest spending time looking at art. This can take the shape of going through an artist’s catalog or an art book, going to a museum, a gallery, an art fair, or a local open studio program. The process can be overwhelming but it’s really an opportunity to get curious: Discover what kind of art interests you (figurative, abstract, or three-dimensional); what era; which medium (painting, drawing, print, photograph, or sculpture); and lastly, what kind of a budget do you have in mind.
Photography and prints are less expensive as they are made in multiples (editions) and are a great entry point to collecting. Drawings can also be an intimate and enjoyable medium to start with rather than paintings. I used to work with a group of collectors at MoMA, the Friends of Contemporary Drawing, and found great joy in the subtlety and beauty of mark making on paper. I encourage anyone interested in collecting to take their time to engage with what they are considering investing in, whether they are working with an art advisor or not.
As both a current parent and an alumna, what changes have you noticed from your time as a student, and what has remained the same?
I am thrilled to be a parent of two juniors, Mirabelle and Caspar, at Berkshire. The changes I have noticed from my time as a student are, to highlight three: one is obviously the significant architectural changes made and being made to the campus; Pro Vita, an incredible opportunity for students to enjoy a week of alternative learning, on campus or off is another; and thirdly, the creation of the DEI Alumni Council in 2020 is a really timely and meaningful prospect with which to support Berkshire’s BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff.
I feel that Berkshire retains its authenticity, and at the same time has upped its game to being committed to a community of diverse students, faculty, and staff working, living, and going through daily life together, creating a sustainable community for students away from home yet in a setting that for teachers and staff is home. An unexpected surprise was the feeling of “coming home,” when I dropped my children off their freshman year. I was absolutely speechless when Annie Zimmerli-Haskel (Class of ’86) walked into my son’s room as he was moving in—we were both thrilled to have an opportunity to interact as parents of freshman boys.
What attributes did you learn at Berkshire that you carried into your professional life?
The education I received at Berkshire deeply sustained my interests and love for learning. I had so many inspiring teachers, and Mrs. Clifford for English, Mr. Gulotta for history, and Mr. Hawkins for French, are three I remember especially fondly. I valued the high standards each of them set and their patience and openness to their students.
It was, however, an introduction to ceramics and art history during my junior year that sparked my lifelong interest in art, and I owe much to art teacher Larry Valentine who encouraged me to find my expressive visual language in clay and my passion for art history. That profound opportunity would take me to Bennington College where I majored in art history and German Literature with a minor in ceramics, to a career working for two leading contemporary art galleries, as well as the Museum of Modern Art. My education at Berkshire paved a uniquely rewarding path for me for which I am grateful. I have curated exhibitions, written essays, press releases, wall texts, and collaborated with preeminent gallerists, curators, and art historians domestically and internationally.
What are some of your fondest memories of your time under the Mountain?
Berkshire is such a special place. Fondest memories include the Mountain (and campus generally)—it is a sight you never forget, and I felt fortunate to be at a school surrounded by so much abundant nature and to grow in these surroundings. The friendships made at school have become lifelong ones. Four years pass quickly, so it’s rewarding to still be in touch with classmates and friends from those years at Berkshire. Other fond memories include hours whiled away in the art center, playing sports, and giving school tours.
And I am making new memories under the Mountain as two of my three children go through their own high school years and see alums who were or are also engaged at Berkshire, for instance Jen Nichols ’87 and Bebe Clark Bullock ’86, who has become Berkshire’s archivist.