Alexander Hankin, Social Commenter and Art Philanthropist


( ENSPIRE Man Code 101 ) From Art to Society, Alexander Hankin Shares His Views on the State of the World Around Us

ENSPIRE Contributor: Wesley Tran

Alexander Hankin is a well-known arts philanthropist, social commentator, and third-generation real estate developer. Hankin’s passion for the arts has led him to take an active role in major art institutions and be an art, fashion, and culture columnist for Philadelphia Style Magazine, Gotham, Guest of a Guest, and Quest Magazine with his online persona @‌HRH_Alexander. Hankin created and chairs The Downhill Disco at the Aspen Art Museum, a unique après-ski fundraiser. He is always looking for new and innovative ways to engage people in the world of art and culture.

He helped launch and co-chairs the MAD Luminaries group at the Museum of Arts and Design and hosts talks and panels for the museum under the Luminaries Live banner. Hankin is also Chair Emeritus of the Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a member of the Board of Directors of Opera Philadelphia, and sits on the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Contemporaries Committee and the London-based Serpentine’s Future Contemporaries Committee. He also is actively involved in the Guggenheim Young Acquisitions Committee. Committed to giving back to the community, Hankin participates in all sorts of events to spread his passion for the arts to everyone. 

Alexander Hankin

ENSPIRE was given the opportunity to interview Alexander, read the interview below!

What has recently been a major talking point in the world of art and fashion?

I think one of the big things that people are talking about right now is collaboration. I think we’re seeing this a lot in both art and fashion today. It’s a really good way for artists to gain exposure. I mean look at an artist like Kusama. In many ways her career was not what it was today before her first collaboration with Louis Vuitton, now on her second collaboration she’s truly a household name. Dior every season now collaborates with an artist. It’s become commonplace. Ashely Longshore has collaborated with a caviar company CaviAIR. It helps fashion houses connect to new demographics, but it also helps give artists greater exposure, especially those outside the art world.

What are some things that cultivated your passion for art?

I’ve always been passionate from a young age. My parents were very instrumental in the founding of the James A. Michener Art Museum in Bucks County Pennsylvania. It’s kind of in my DNA. I think in so many ways art is what tells our story as humans and conveys emotions across the generations. I love the way different art forums and practices build on one another, I find it just fascinating and a never-ending learning journey.

 Through your events and stories, what do you hope people learn?

I think that one of the biggest things I want people to learn is the importance of preserving art for future generations and supporting emerging artists. Art preservation is so important to me. It’s why for example a group like Save Venice, whose mission is the restoration of the masterpieces in Venice, is so important to me. Similarly, it’s why I am so involved in the Museum of Arts and Design because of both the artists in the residency program and also being able to support and interact with young artists through the Luminaries program I created.

Do you have any advice for people who are passionate about art and want to learn more about the world of art?

I think that if you’re passionate about art and want to learn more the best thing to do is get involved in an arts organization. However, there are so many it can be hard to know where to start. I would say one of the best things is to find an institution that has a mission that resonates with you. So, museums and groups are focused and that can be great because there’s something out there for everyone’s interests. Being a part of something you are passionate about is key to making a difference.

What do you think are some common misconceptions about what you enjoy and how they should be addressed?

I think the major misconception about the art world and these events is that they are frivolous. This is not true. What would a world be without art? That’s a very bleak thought. Art fills our lives with joy and emotions. It challenges viewers and makes them think. It is so important to tell our history from one generation to the next. While events can be dramatic and there are people who get caught up in the nonsense, I think you will find that most people are there because they care about art or the group. People want to socialize over a shared cause. Plus, these events help to bring in new members, highlight artists, and raise critical funds that all these museums need.

Alexander Hankin, whose words have been featured in publications like Guest of a Guest and Gotham Magazine, has a refined and unique look at the world around him commenting on everything from The Best Crowd-Pleasing Caviar Brands for Every Celebration, to debriefs on what was shown at Art Basel, to commentary on the increase of Antisemitism in the world today. As a firm believer in giving back, Hankin has embarked on many-a-philanthropic initiatives including but not limited to The Downhill Disco at the Aspen Art Museum, a unique apres-ski fundraiser, and the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Contemporaries committee. He serves as a prime example of not only putting your foot into the world that you are interested in but also giving back to the community that you fell in love with.

To find out more about Alexander Hankin, check out his Instagram!

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