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Christine Kuan, Director/CEO, Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York, has appointed Brendan Burns as Consulting Director for the MA in Art Business program. Brendan Burns has spent over 20 years at leading media/technology, graphic arts, educational and financial institutions including Culture.tech, 1000|Museums, Moody’s, Salomon Brothers, and AdOne.

Kuan said, “Brendan Burns brings to Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York an outstanding track record of teaching experience at Columbia University Business School combined with professional expertise in running art and technology businesses in today’s competitive global art market. He will contribute greatly to the academic goals, business initiatives, and entrepreneurial endeavors of the Institute’s graduate students.”

Since 2004, Burns has been a professor and senior lecturer in the Entrepreneurship Program at Columbia Business School. Burns is the co-lead professor for the innovative Entrepreneurial Greenhouse Program. Prior companies (graduate teams) are responsible for launching notable companies such as Happy Family (exit to Danone Group for $300 million), Olapic (exit for $150 million), Betterment (last round valuation $500 million+), Flexport (Ycombinator grad, current valuation over $800 million), FSAStore, and many others. Curriculum is holistic and process focused, crafted to help motivated teams turn ideas into sustainable entities with economic value and job growth. Notable social entrepreneur graduates include Out2Play and CityHealthworks.

Burns said, “My academic career has been defined by helping extraordinary people build the next generation of extraordinary companies. In the private sector, my work has focused on exploring new business models across several industries, most notably art and culture. Joining the faculty and executive team at Sotheby’s Institute is a great honor and the intersection of these pursuits. Most importantly, for me, it represents the opportunity to impact the next generation of leaders in the art world.”


“Brendan Burns brings to Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York an outstanding track record of teaching experience at Columbia University Business School combined with professional expertise in running art and technology businesses in today’s competitive global art market. He will contribute greatly to the academic goals, business initiatives, and entrepreneurial endeavors of the Institute’s graduate students.”


In the private sector, Burns is the managing partner of Stepstone Art Resources, LLC (STAR). The company works directly with artists, foundations and museums and drives value to the creative and cultural sector; portfolio companies include See.me and Boomboomprints.com (both previously venture-backed). Prior to this Burns developed a turnaround plan and strategic repositioning as the CEO of 1000|Museums, a venture-backed ecommerce and art licensing pioneer. 1000|Museums built a global network of fine art museums such as the Guggenheim (NYC), the Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam), and the MFA Houston.

Earlier in Burns’ career, as part of the founding team at AdOne (started in 1995 as a pioneering Internet advertising company), Burns led a series of successful financings from leading venture firms including Venrock and the Pritzker family. Ultimately, Burns engineered a buyout with the financial backing of the Hearst Corporation, Scripps, and Advance/Newhouse (subsequently raising over $30 million). Under Burns’ guidance, the company became a pioneer in dynamic Internet classified advertising and built the largest network of local-based media websites in North America.

Burns holds an MBA from the Graduate Business School of Columbia University and earned his BS from Fordham University, both in New York City. Since 2004, Burns has been an adjunct professor in the Lang Center for Entrepreneurship at Columbia’s Graduate Business School and serves on the Advisory board of the Lang Fund which invests in and mentors promising student-originated startups.

Burns will join Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York on August 1, 2019.

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