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An Interview with Christina Chua
Introduce yourself — who are you and what do you do?
Feature 21 Jun 2022

Metis Art Education (www.metisart.co) is an art advisory business offering educational courses to budding collectors, helping them to navigate the world of collecting. Their mission “is to be a global advisory that uniquely bridges education, access, and market insights, paving the way for the most inspired and informed collections.”

We spoke to its Co-Founder and Director of Education and Consultancy, Christina Chua, about all things Metis.

Introduce yourself — who are you and what do you do?

I had worked at art galleries and in art writing for several years before starting my first business, the online art platform and publication so-far. so-far publishes critical deep-dives on technology, new media, and also functions as an incubator for emerging artists. 

At Metis, I lead The Tetrad, Metis’ foundational course, introducing novice collectors to the art world. I also develop advanced courses, programmes and collaborations with curators and arts nonprofits, and work closely with clients to deepen their collections. 

Tell us about Metis — how did it come about, what does it aim to do?

so-far’s experimental nature was the seed for Metis — it helped me realise that art education is essential to developing risk-taking, long term and sophisticated collectors. 

At the same time, my partner Cliff Hartono was developing his own collection. Cliff is from a finance background, and his position mirrored that of many of his contemporaries — those with a business, tech or professional background who were interested in stepping into the art world, but were unsure where to start. 

That was the beginning of our courses — The Tetrad and The Chapters, both of which provide an accessible education for novice collectors. We also provide bespoke courses and consulting for executives, family offices and private banks. We’re dedicated to easing newcomers into the complex world of fine art and developing long-lasting relationships within the art ecosystem.

What are your most requested courses? Why do you think people are returning to learning at this time?

The Tetrad remains a favourite. The course is designed with our busy attendees in mind, adapted so that it’s sophisticated yet also compact and relevant to wider cultural contexts. 

To your second question, the conditions of the pandemic have fortunately allowed our attendees to have a slower schedule, so that some are able to spend more time with books, reading and art history. I believe that in the absence of art fairs, slowing down can only go well for the art world, and maybe it’s best that we refocus on our foundations. 

As one of the instructors of our upcoming course, curator Melanie Pocock says, “[one] is always in the process of learning (and un-learning) ideas and knowledge about art.” The art world is a dynamic one and there are always new things to learn and new questions to consider. It’s a never-ending conversation. 

Your slogan is “Art is always about others.” — what do you mean by this?

On that same point about learning, perhaps the most immeasurable value of art is its unique ability in teaching us about others, their experiences, their untold narratives and histories. Provoking and addressing our blindspots is what artists do best. Art builds bridges between us that can’t be quantified by mere monetary values. These bridges are important to advance our collective thought. 

At Metis, we say that art is about others because we don’t just educate or sell artworks. We are actively working within art ecosystems, by partnering with different actors — from collectors, members clubs, to art institutions. 50% of our course fees always go to an art nonprofit, and we are always introducing our clients to these partners so they can discover novel, sustainable ways of patronage. 

What’s next for yourself and Metis?

Through my so-far research on the blockchain, I have been recently sucked into an endless hole of NFTs and DeFi. Since my speciality is in new media, I am observing and keeping a pulse on the quickly moving NFT space. 

For Metis, we are exploring more digital means of marketing and hosting our courses. We will be launching The Tetrad in Australia and Central Asia soon, where our consultants have a footprint. We will also collaborate with other curators and art institutions next year to launch more of The Chapters, our advanced courses. And we have some exciting programmes slated for Singapore Art Week in January 2022. 

Author: Verity Babbs

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