Tiffany Benincasa has been enchanted by the art world her entire life. Growing up in Michigan, Benincasa was a student at Cranbrook, a school that shares a campus with the world-renowned Cranbrook Academy of Art and the Cranbrook Art Museum. During her early years, Benincasa was fortunate to have exposure to works by artists like Albert Kahn and Carl Milles. One year, her high school yearbook cover was designed by Keith Haring, who was an Art Academy graduate student at the time. After spending years on Wall Street, Benincasa looked to return to her passion. She merged her love for art and her business sense to build what is now C. Parker Gallery on Greenwich Avenue. The original vision, says Benincasa, was to create “an inviting and safe space where clients could come in and talk all about art regardless of if they were a serious collector or neophyte.”
At C. Parker Gallery, the first priority is service. Benincasa works with a varied clientele that includes homeowners and designers as well as collectors and corporate clients, and she manages a diverse inventory to accommodate their needs. For each project, there is a different vision, budget and purpose. To be sure she is providing the best service possible, Benincasa focuses on listening carefully and then offering a curated selection based on these conversations. “We maintain storage facilities in Miami, Newport, and Greenwich,” explains Benincasa. “There are over a thousand pieces between those three locations.” Within these collections are works by living artists like Rick Garcia, Kay Griffin and Jessica Lichtenstein as well as late legends such as Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol.
Benincasa also represents musical voices. For over a year, she worked on a Ringo Starr exhibition, “Painting is My Madness,” that was set to open this month. In the wake of the Covid outbreak, the gallery postponed the show until June 2021. When it does open, the exhibition is sure to be popular, and Benincasa already had a waitlist of clients for the original date. “Painting is My Madness” is not the only aspect of the gallery’s business to be affected by Covid, and Benincasa has worked to quickly pivot in response.
While the in-person aspect of the art world has always been a major component of the business, Benincasa has been able to successfully adapt to the digital space. “We help clients discover artworks virtually and then arrange an introduction to them in their own homes,” explains Benincasa. “We have received many calls for virtual presentations and our art services that embrace social distancing. ”Another way Benincasa has managed to stay engaged with clients during Covid is through her mobile gallery, which allows her to show art while maintaining social distancing protocol. She originally launched the mobile gallery in 2017 as a way to bring artworks directly to clients. “Sometimes gallery spaces have a sterile feel, and our gallery spaces have never been large enough to display the extensive range of our inventory,” says Benincasa. “This allows us to enhance our focus on the client.” The mobile gallery has been so popular that she is adding a second one to accommodate demand.
Benincasa remains busy and engaged amidst the chaos of Covid. As people spend more time at home during quarantine, they are focused on improving their surroundings. Benincasa’s #nomoreboringwalls campaign aims to enliven the spaces we occupy. “I have always believed there is a connection between the client and the art on their walls. The artwork you choose to surround yourself with reflects a lot about you,” she says. But it is not just about the decorative aspect, it’s about the emotional response to art, especially art you are looking at each day. Benincasa knows better than most that art is subjective and personal. Her aim when she enters a space is to find the best fit for the individual. Instead of blank walls or empty rooms, Benincasa believes in “surround[ing] yourself with art that makes you feel alive.”
Benincasa’s ability to adapt not only to her clients’ needs and tastes, but to the times as well, has allowed her to meet challenges head-on. Nobody knows what might come next, but Benincasa remains optimistic and hard at work. “The process and journey are exciting for me,” she says. “Through it all, I get to spend my days doing what I love – immersed in the art world.”