Clayton Press began collecting contemporary art in earnest in 1980 in Chicago. After relocating to Los Angeles in 1985, Mr. Press was a co-partner in New Strategies, one of the first of the Los Angeles “salon” galleries. While maintaining his business interests in New Strategies, Mr. Press worked as a management consultant and partner for A.T. Kearney and Accenture, serving a range of global corporations and nonprofit entities, specializing in strategy, marketing, and operations.
In 2003, Mr. Press teamed with Gregory Linn to found LINN PRESS LLC art advisory services, serving clients in North America and Europe. He is also an Internet pioneer, helping to create The Spotlist.com, the first collector-to- collector contemporary art marketplace, in February 2011.
Mr. Press’s interest in the art market predates that of current art business media. In 2002, he collaborated with Christian Jankowski and Michele Maccarone on the three-screen video installation, “Point of Sale.” In addition to coauthoring the script, Mr. Press portrayed a strategy consultant, who helped two entrepreneurs address the problems inherent in small- and medium-sized businesses and the often-conflicted values of the art market. “Point of Sale” has been exhibited globally, and was one of the first permanent acquisitions of the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston in 2005.
Mr. Press has spoken about the contemporary art markets in a variety of settings – from art fairs to universities – in Miami Beach, Milan, Cologne, Moscow, and New York. He has previously taught art economics, strategy, and marketing at the Mountbatten Institute and State University of New York. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at New York University, where he teaches:
- “Art Market Economics: Fine Art as a Financial Asset“
- “The Concept of Value in Contemporary Art: Pleasure, Taste, Brand,Celebrity, and Price”
- "Art and Technology."
He is also a visiting lecturer at Christie’s Education, where he specializes in “Art and Technology.”
Mr. Press is a frequent speaker about art economics and investments to museum groups, family offices, private banks, and wealth management firms. His opinions and insights are frequently sought by leading business publications, including Alternative Latin Investor, Art Media Agency Newsletter, Forbes Magazine, The International Herald Tribune, The New York Observer, and The Wall Street Journal.
In spring 2009, Messrs. Press and Linn were guest curators of "FIVE," at BAIBAKOV art projects (Moscow.) This was the first in-depth presentation of work by Walead Beshty, Matthew Brannon, Wade Guyton, Sterling Ruby, and Kelley Walker in Russia. This exhibition examined the aesthetic lineages of these younger American artists in relationship to Donald Judd, Robert Indiana, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, and Andy Warhol. Since then, Messrs. Press and Linn have organized or contributed to several additional exhibitions or special projects. Since then, he and Mr. Linn have organized or contributed to five groups shows in New York.
Mr. Press was elected to the Board of the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, where he served as Treasurer. He also served on the 20th Century Acquisitions Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and was a member of the board of the New Jersey Museum of Contemporary Art. Mr. Press is member of the Advisory Council of Project X Foundation for Art and Criticism, a Los Angeles based 501(c)3. He is currently providing strategic and marketing consulting support to an established, single-benefactor contemporary art foundation in the New York area.
Mr. Press is a patron of The Art Institute of Chicago and with Mr. Linn has been a benefactor to The Art Institute of Chicago, City of Chicago (Department of Cultural Affairs), Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, The National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Princeton University Art Museum, and Whitney Museum of American Art.
Mr. Press graduated from the University of Rochester, with concentrations in anthropology and art history, where he was awarded the Genesee Scholarship and the Francis G. Wells Scholarship for academic excellence. He completed his master's degree at the University of Pittsburgh. Subsequently, he completed the requirements for a Ph.D. in anthropology and material culture at Southern Illinois University (Carbondale). He was a Doctoral Research Fellow at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, University of the West Indies, Barbados. Mr. Press is a member of the American Alliance of Museums and the American Anthropological Association.