A Day in the Life

Catch­ing up with jet-set­ting art con­nois­seur, Marla Wasser, pres­i­dent of art ad­vi­sory firm Pur­suits Inc.


“I wake up at around 7:00 a.m., some­times ear­lier when trav­el­ling.” Break­fast con­sists of fresh fruit and yogurt—and “def­i­nitely cof­fee,” she adds. She scours the morn­ing pa­pers to catch up on world and art news and catches up on the many emails flood­ing her in­box be­fore head­ing to work. Her go-to uni­form: A clas­sic black trouser paired with a bold shoe.

10:00 A.M.

Af­ter ar­riv­ing at the of­fice—tucked away in a pocket of green­ery in down­town Toronto— Wasser and her team be­gin their brain­storm­ing and plan­ning ses­sion. New art in­dus­try trends are re­searched and noted, as artists, events, and the mar­ket it­self are con­stantly in flux. Next, trav­el­ling plans are tended to. This week, Wasser is fi­nal­iz­ing her itin­er­ary for her trip to art fair Frieze New York, a gath­er­ing of 200 global art deal­ers show­cas­ing blue-chip con­tem­po­rary art that at­tracts the world’s wealth­i­est col­lec­tors such as Jerry I. Speyer, real es­tate mag­nate and chair­man of the Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art, Dasha Zhukova, mag­a­zine pub­lisher and wife of Rus­sian oli­garch Ro­man Abramovich, and even ac­tor Leonardo Di­Caprio.

10:30 A.M.

Up­dates on on­go­ing projects are then dis­cussed. Be­tween cu­rat­ing ex­hi­bi­tions, plan­ning the Con­nect­ing Women Around Art lun­cheon, and help­ing clients ac­quire and build their art col­lec­tions, the team is kept busy.

Time for meet­ings with artists and clients. To­day, lo­cal artist Har­ri­son Tay­lor brings in sam­ples of his stun­ning light boxes, which have been com­mis­sioned by power cou­ple Kirs­tine Ste­wart, head of me­dia for Twit­ter North Amer­ica, and ac­tor Zaib Shaikh. Wasser and Tay­lor dis­cuss lo­gis­tics for in­stalling the art­works in the cou­ple’s home.

12:00 P.M.

When not on the clock for a lunchtime meet­ing, Wasser’s favourite din­ing spots in­clude Del­ica Kitchen, Sig­na­tures Restau­rant, and Soho House Toronto. Wasser’s team also oc­ca­sion­ally brown-bags it. “We al­ways try to have a lit­tle bit of down­time for lunch to catch up on our per­sonal lives and have a quick breather.”


Wasser heads out for on-site client meet­ings. To­day, she fol­lows up by vis­it­ing Ste­wart and Shaikh’s house.

4:00 P.M.

Af­ter­noons are spent en­gag­ing in the art world: vis­it­ing gal­leries, deal­ers, and meet­ing with artists. To­day, Wasser stops by the Art Gallery of On­tario for the open­ing of Thomas Ruff: Ob­ject Re­la­tions (on view un­til July 31). “My hus­band Larry and I own sev­eral of his works. It was ex­cit­ing to see four new works that have never be­fore been seen.”

7:00 P.M. P.M.

Once home, Wasser catches up with fam­ily and hosts her sons for dinner. “My fam­ily thinks that my steak dinner is bet­ter than any of the best steak houses in the city,” she says. When din­ing out, Quanto Basta and NAMI restau­rants are favourites. Wasser un­winds by burn­ing through piles of mag­a­zines—with a cup of tea in hand. Shortly there­after, it’s to bed be­fore it all starts up again the next day.

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