The Artsy Questionnaire: BoxGroup’s Dave Tisch on Art, Design, Technology & All the Above
By Artsy Editors
Oct 9, 2013 10:16 am

You may know Dave Tisch as a co-founder of TechStars NYC, one of the most competitive startup accelerators in the world, or as a ridiculously successful angel investor through his fund, BoxGroup. But do you know what his favorite art is, or why he thinks New York is a better museum than any actual museum? As part of our series of art-focused interviews engaging the non-art world, we reached out to Dave for a quick chat about art, design, technology, and the intersection of all the above.

Artsy: What’s the Tweet-length bio of Dave Tisch?

Dave Tisch: I am a tech lover, investor, New Yorker, sports watcher, consumer, indoorsman, truth teller; too blunt, overly sarcastic, have a great wife and adorable dogs.

What kind of art are you drawn to?

I am naturally drawn to more representational and graphic work, specifically Pop Art or images relating to popular culture are of interest to me. I also really like photography. I am more interested in art as a design object than artistic process.

Do you own any art? If so, can you tell us about some of your favorite pieces? If not, what is the closest thing to art that you own?

This is a loaded question because it gets at the definition of art. I have not bought a lot of art from traditional Chelsea galleries but I think I own a lot of art. I really like the idea of building a collection together with my wife and now that we just moved, I think it is the right time to start that journey together. My business partner recently bought me a piece of art as a wedding present, it is a Fred Tomaselli print from the series where he paints on top of New York Times front pages.

I also have an amazing collection of Kid Robot [see portrait].

What’s your favorite museum and why?

None of the above. I think of NYC architecture and the cityscape as a museum. The quirkiness of the city intrigues me, the rooftops, the gardens, the new and the old. The ability for it all to exist on an island. Wandering around the West Village, where we live, I notice something new everyday. Great museum.

Can you pick a couple of your favorite “genes” or artworks on Artsy?

Pop Art; our new office for BoxGroup is next to and then directly across the street from the of Andy Warhol’s “Factory” locations. It is just a reminder to me of what an amazing and dynamic place New York City is and an inspiration to try to always be creative through my role in technology and startups.

I also love blown glass and photography.

What role do you think technology/the internet has to play in the art world?

I think there are separate roles for technology in art in terms of creation and consumption. I think that we have only scratched the surface of different ways that technology can affect the creation of art. My hope is that the artists touch is not de-emphasized as technology plays a larger role. The organization of the art world, I’ll leave that up to you at Artsy.

At Artsy, we spend a lot of time and energy thinking about design. What do you think the key to good design is?

Design is something that has to connect emotionally with the viewer or consumer. Experience or product design has to be functional, but still has to emotionally connect with the user or consumer. So emotion is the key.

What’s one design object that you own that you couldn’t live without?

I own a Survivor (tv show) Immunity Idol. I really like it.

What companies out there are doing exciting things with design? What is it about them?

AngelList stands out to me; it’s so clean and straightforward. For a website that allows investors and startups to meet, it feels alive, legitimate, and like the future.

I think Sonos continues to make fantastic products. From their simple speakers to the subwoofer they just released. Again, just works, simple and clean.

And many mobile apps are using design as a navigation element. I think this trend is very positive for consumers and training them to understand the importance of quality design.

What projects are you working on at the moment that we should know about?

We are excited about the portfolio at BoxGroup and I’m working very closely with the JelloLabs team to innovate the mobile shopping space. We are very focused on designing an innovative and beautiful mobile shopping experience...