Artwork for podcast Not Real Art
Badir McCleary: The Consultant Creating Opportunities for Artists To Be Seen
Episode 22527th June 2023 • Not Real Art • Crewest Studio
00:00:00 01:08:27

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Some people are problem-solvers by nature. With 15 years of experience in the tech industry and a background in art business, today’s guest, Badir McCleary, knows how to fix nearly any problem the art world throws at him.

On today’s podcast, host Scott “Sourdough” Power sits down with Badir—a longtime friend of NOT REAL ART—to discuss how the entrepreneur’s problem-solving skills helped him forge a unique, multifaceted career in the arts. Growing up, Badir was “really good at taking things apart and putting them back together,” a skill his parents cultivated at every opportunity. “That gave me the confidence that I could get into something and problem-solve,” he says early in the interview. “That’s where my creativity in tech and also my problem-solving in art comes from.”

Based in Los Angeles, Badir is the founder of Art Above Reality, a full-service art consulting and curatorial firm focused on “vision, history, and people.” In 2015 he co-founded Gallery 38, a contemporary gallery that catered to artists of color, along with the Gallery 38 Mural Program, which brought those same artists into the community. With a background in curating, consulting, and writing, Badir is uniquely positioned to face the challenges of a changing industry. Above all, he champions soft skills, like respect, leadership, and the ability to listen: “I pride myself on being that type of person,” he says. “Always being able to listen. Someone always has something to teach you.” 

In today’s episode, Badir elaborates on the skills he learned while earning his MA in art business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art. He also shares his thoughts on the distinction between public art and “real art,” the importance of creating opportunities for artists to be seen, and how artist-run spaces allow artists to establish new definitions of art.

While Badir is already a near and dear friend, we’re excited to announce he’ll join us as a collaborator on the production of Video Stories, an upcoming new series from NOT REAL ART. Tune into the episode to find out more about Video Stories and hear our conversation with the always fascinating Badir McCleary.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The immense value of listening and continuous learning.
  • How Badir’s tech background informs the way he serves those in the art world.
  • Insight into his career journey and the story of when he first fell in love with art.
  • Badir’s ability to appreciate, analyze, and provide solutions to problems in the art world.
  • What the Sotheby’s Institute taught him about art history, business, and management.
  • The importance of having a common language to truly communicate and connect.
  • Reflecting on the role of etiquette, responsibility, and respect in the art world.
  • What the words “create what you want to create” mean to Badir.
  • Exploring the distinction between public art and so-called real art.
  • A look at Video Stories, the collaborative project Badir is creating with Not Real Art.
  • How Not Real Art and the Not Real Art Grant provide artists with “opportunities to be seen.”
  • Why Badir is in favor of artist-run spaces that allow artists to define art for themselves.
  • Bonding over our shared love for educating and enlightening art lovers.
  • Why it’s important to check your prejudices at the door: not all collectors wear Gucci!
  • What to expect from Video Stories, which showcases Badir’s love for public art.

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