James Zemaitis began his auction career in 1996 at Christie's, where he worked for three years in the 20th Century Design department. Prior to his arrival at Sotheby's in 2003, Mr. Zemaitis organized a series of groundbreaking sales at Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg, where he was Worldwide Head of 20th-21st Century Design.
From his record-breaking $21.5 million sale total in December 2003 and the landmark sale of the Farnsworth House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to the National Trust, to our December 2006 offering of New Life for the Noble Tree: The Dr. Arthur & Evelyn Krosnick Collection of Masterworks by George Nakashima, Sotheby's has raised the market to new heights, commanded extraordinary attention from the press and attracted a host of new collectors.
In the past five years, Mr. Zemaitis has been profiled in The New York Times and The New York Times Magazine, House & Garden, Art & Auction, Wallpaper and Cargo. In May 2006, he was voted "one of the 200 most influential New Yorkers" in New York magazine. Mr. Zemaitis serves on the Boards of The Wolfsonian, Miami Beach, and Manitoga: The Russel Wright Design Center, Garrison, New York.
Mr. Zemaitis received a B.A. in Art History from Oberlin College. He pursued graduate work in American Architectural History at Rutgers University.
I would have to say I do feel that my own bias is very American oriented. I consider myself to be an Americanist overall. It’s what I studied back in school, and I continue to be obsessed with mid-century American industrial designers and post-war American woodworkers – what we call the studio furniture makers or the craftsmen. And yet at the same time in today’s climate, there are very few American designers who have really achieved international renown. It’s very much shifted to Europe, but also to Japan and Brazil, and pretty much everywhere other than America in terms of design; as opposed to architecture which is an entirely different story in terms of who has achieved fame and prominence. To me my big heroes chronologically going . . . speaking, … Oliver … Paul … but also amongst Americans Russel Wright; Isamu Noguchi, who is both an artist and a furniture designer – the perfect hybrid, which is what I’m really all bout when it comes to the marketing of these designers. I’m a huge admirer of Jasper Morrison. I absolutely love the entire school of designers coming out of the Netherlands today. There are really almost too many to count at this point. And every year it seems as though four or five great designers are being launched from the Netherlands at a gallery like … here in New York. I also love Hans Wegner who just passed away last year. I think he’s one of the great chair designers of the 20th century – almost so perfectly anonymous I think sometimes almost half of America doesn’t even realize that they are sitting on a Hans Wegner chair. And he was so modest that he didn’t name any of his chairs as well, which I think has made it more difficult for people today to know what to call what he did; as opposed to some of the other designers which are just colorful, colorful names. Most of the great architects of the 20th century have dabbled in design and have created master works. And so you can’t have a conversation without mentioning … architects who did furniture. I love what Frank Lloyd Wright did, but I do not like his furniture. I find it inherently gloomy and uncomfortable.
Recorded on: 1/30/08
Zemaitis loves Frank Lloyd Wright and other 20th-century American designers.
A pragmatic approach to fixing an imbalanced system.
- Intentional or not, certain inequalities are inherent in a digital economy that is structured and controlled by a few corporations that don't represent the interests or the demographics of the majority.
- While concern and anger are valid reactions to these inequalities, UCLA professor Ramesh Srinivasan also sees it as an opportunity to take action.
- Srinivasan says that the digital economy can be reshaped to benefit the 99 percent if we protect laborers in the gig economy, get independent journalists involved with the design of algorithmic news systems, support small businesses, and find ways that groups that have been historically discriminated against can be a part of these solutions.
Is there a way for more human-centered algorithms to prevent potentially triggering interactions on social media?
- According to a 2017 study, 71% of people reported feeling better (rediscovery of self and positive emotions) about 11 weeks after a breakup. But social media complicates this healing process.
- Even if you "unfriend", block, or unfollow, social media algorithms can create upsetting encounters with your ex-partner or reminders of the relationship that once was.
- Researchers at University of Colorado Boulder suggest that a "human-centered approach" to creating algorithms can help the system better understand the complex social interactions we have with people online and prevent potentially upsetting encounters.