Ala Glasner “Qualities of Life”
Helping others define their tastes
For aeyde’s “Qualities of Life” series, we sat down with six women who inspire us with their unique views on work, life, and finding balance. In Part One, we caught up with Ala Glasner, 42, who runs her own art advisory and curating business, where she helps private and corporate clients build art collections and exhibitions. Raised between Austria and Brazil, Ala completed her studies at London’s Central Saint Martin's University, starting out her art career in the British capital. Now, an affinity for Berlin’s laid-back creative scene has led her to call the city home. She also happens to be the inspiration for our ALA shoe. We spoke to Ala about starting her own business, the importance of surrounding yourself with good people, and the ins and outs of the Berlin art scene. Meet Ala Glasner.
Images: Julia Sellmann
Words: Angela Waters
“I try to find the best way that art and the client can come together—it’s kind of like being a matchmaker.”
aeyde: How would you describe what you do?

Ala Glasner: I’m an art curator, which is actually an art advisor. I just don’t like the word art advisor. I try to find the best way that art and the client can come together—it’s kind of like being a matchmaker. I always curate and advise pieces that I would like to have myself. Sometimes if people say, ‘Oh that’s not my cup of tea,’ or, ‘My collection is going in a completely different direction,’ it can take a really long time to find the perfect match. But I’m not shopping for anyone, I’m matchmaking, and just like in life, that can take time.


a: What prompted you to go into business for yourself?

AG: I always wanted to work closely with artists and I always wanted to be my own boss. I didn’t want to work for anyone else. It may be a stupid answer, but I wanted to find my own way to lead a balanced life—and to work with the artists I choose and to meet the people I wanted to meet.

Aside from not having to worry about meeting basic needs and being happy and grateful with what you have—which is difficult nowadays because people want more and more—quality of life is about people. It’s choosing the people you work with, but also having amazing family and friends. It’s all about humans, and being close to each other.
“There was this saying that Berlin is ‘arm, aber sexy’ (or ‘poor, but sexy,’ in English)—which hasn’t been true for a long time—but the city is still amazing for finding many different artists with different practices.”
a: What kind of aesthetics are you drawn to?

AG: Living in Berlin, my taste is kind of minimal with a sporty elegance, but being from Austria I love Baroque churches that are full of gold and these little fat angels.


a: Although you love your job, what is the most frustrating part about it?

AG: It’s the worst sometimes when people ask me, ‘Oh Ala, what do you think about this piece of art?’ and my immediate reaction is, ‘Oh my god, what can I say? It is horribly expensive and not worth paying one penny for.’ It makes me really sad because the people asking me are super intelligent and well-read—and I don’t understand their choice. I am super honest, but sometimes it is hard to convince them, so I say, ‘If you love it, and you have the money, then you decide.’ But it’s horrible.


a: Why Berlin?

AG: There was this saying that Berlin is ‘arm, aber sexy’ (‘poor, but sexy,’ in English)—which hasn’t been true for a long time—but the city is still amazing for finding many different artists with different practices. Although there are a lot of artists living here and a lot of galleries located here, it’s still very open. You have younger generations of artists alongside older generations. Everyone is very down to earth in Berlin. Whereas, if you’re meeting people at an art fair in Basel, Miami, or New York, everyone is very arrogant. I have the feeling that everyone here is more open to having conversations—and to party, well, before corona that is.
NEXT STORY:
Katharina Ruhm “Qualities of Life”
Reimagining everyday objects
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