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get to know
photographs by BRITTANY AMBRIDGE
text by Caroline Biggs
After earning her stripes at the prestigious
Parrish Art Museum and New York City's
Blain di Donna gallery, Kate Bellin
founded her consultation firm, Kate Bellin
Contemporary, in 2012. With expertise
gained while obtaining degrees at Princeton
and Christie's, researching the catalogue raisonné of Jasper Johns's paintings and
sculptures, and as the accessories editor of Harper's Bazaar, Bellin now assists her
clients in building their own personal art
collections. This week, she talks fashion,
cronuts, and Rauschenberg with domino.
Bellin poses alongside her cat in the kitchen
of her Upper East Side apartment.
Occupation: Art consultant
Current location: New York, New York
How would you describe your personal style?
Honed at Harper's Bazaar. Classic and colorful.
What's your most prized possession?
There are several pieces of art in our apartment: a
Steichen photo from my parents; a Bill Wegman
Weimaraner picture; a "Silver Spoon for Lucky"
watercolor from a dear artist friend, given to us
upon our son Lucky's birth. Those are my most
prized pieces because they bring together friends,
family, art, and artists.
What's your favorite travel destination?
I love "functioning" European cities–Milan, Berlin,
Madrid–for their art and style.
Where do you feel most inspired?
Hermann Park, Houston, Texas. I grew up going to
the zoo and the duck pond there, and now I take
my two-year-old to a part of the park that was built
in memory of my grandmother. In conjunction with
the park's centennial celebration this year, there's
an incredible public art component with
commissions by artists such as Ugo Rondinone
and Trenton Doyle Hancock.
If you had to wear one outfit for the
rest of your life, what would it be?
Now that I have a little boy, I live two lives. During
Mommy hours (6 to 9 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.), I'm in
lululemon leggings and hoodies. Daytime is
J.Crew pants and Chloé silk blouses with
Louboutin flats. On nights out, I prefer very special
printed dresses–I have an Erdem long flowered
and a short metallic Mary Katrantzou that I love.
In the office, darkly hued walls and stacked vintage luggage make a dramatic statement.
On what items do you scrimp? On what do you splurge?
Biggest scrimp: I have worn the same $1.99 Cover Girl
Lipslicks (color "Hipster") since high school. For years, I
lost about one a week, so I finally bought 50 in bulk on
Amazon. Biggest splurge: I have been trying to find a
cronut on the black market, and those are $40, so that
would be it, if I could make it happen.
What makes a home beautiful?
I prefer a home that reveals a lived life: fine art gathered
over the years, heirlooms of all kinds, a husband's old
manuscripts, and a son's dirty soccer cleats, all mixed
together. Not a mess, but an edited collection of
What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
When I was 19, my dad told me: "Reach out to everyone:
friends, and even casual acquaintances, have the power
to change your life. Seek out everything: you never know
what new and wonderful things lie around the corner, or in
what unexpected directions they may take you."
what artists, past or present, do you most admire?
I am fascinated by the art scene of the 1960s,
described by a friend who was involved as
"genuine fun with no money anywhere to be had."
Bob Rauschenberg's munificence stands out, and
the artists that I admire most working today all
stem in some way from that tradition: Carl
Palazzolo, Billy Sullivan . . . I could go on
What are the characteristics of a great piece of art?
When I suggest art to clients, I want it to have
meaning to them, and to engage in visual dialogue
with their other pieces. Art is "great" when one can
look at it for years and always find something new.
And the art that is favored by our collective
consciousness (the art market) is not always what
stands the test of time.