Esther Kim Varet is an accomplished gallerist and innovator, and a woman passionate about shaking up the traditional art gallery scene. This “Hall of Femme” honoree realized through her experiences working in galleries in New York that there could be a better model for today’s artists and collectors. After moving to Los Angeles, she opened the gallery Various Small Fires (aka VSF) with her husband. Representing 20 emerging, mid-, and late-career American artists, Esther works to protect the artists she represents, shielding them from the toxicity that can come when big business and art collide. Esther said to Galerie Magazine (a leading magazine whose Editor-in-Chief Jacqueline Terrebonne is an October “Hall of Femme” honoree), “What I’m trying to fight against is becoming an incubator of emerging talent that feeds the big machine.”
As the daughter of Korean immigrants growing up in Dallas, TX, Esther has worked to maintain strong ties to her roots. She’s spoken about how moving to LA and opening VSF were pivotal moments in better understanding herself, and ultimately she leveraged these learnings when VSF opened an outpost in Seoul, South Korea. This strength is what allows her to focus on uplifting other artists she represents. Esther offers artists a spotlight where they can take the stage and that is why VSF has been so successful.
With a groundbreaking approach to art and business, Esther continues to shatter the glass ceiling of how the gallery scene currently operates, striving to create waves of change for a better tomorrow. By changing the gallery model to better fit the artist, and not the other way around, Esther is a light that makes space for other lights to shine.