When Michael Klein moved to Trenton two years ago he

bought a house in Mill Hill for the price he would have

paid for a studio apartment in Manhattan. "I am not near

any culture," he said in an interview last year, "but I am

surrounded by culture at work."

Work, for Klein, involves art on the web. Talking Point

Films, the company he founded with Matt Bertles, does

Internet-based documentary films primarily for museums and

galleries. It might seem difficult to sell this concept,

but Klein has the contacts to succeed. Just mentioning a

recent job, "curator of the Microsoft collection," would

draw awe from techies, and the fact that he used to own a

gallery in Manhattan’s Soho gives him credence with other

gallery owners.

But Trenton has lost its charm for Klein, an inveterate

New Yorker. With his house up for sale, and his business

portable, he is headed back to the Big Apple. "I don’t

have any social life here. My base has always been New

York."

As a boy, Klein’s family lived on Riverside Drive and took

him to the Metropolitan Museum every weekend. His parents

had emigrated after World War II, his father, a

businessman, was from Poland, and his mother, a millinery

designer, was from Vienna. He majored in art history at

New York University, Class of 1975, and earned a master’s

degree in art history at Williams College.

As a Rockefeller fellow he worked for the Walker Art

Center in Minneapolis, directed the Max Protetch Gallery

in New York, went off on his own to freelance, spending

time in Amsterdam to learn the European art scene, and

teaching and writing. He opened his own gallery in 1984,

focusing on merging and mid career artists from America

and Europe with works that sold from $1,000 to $100,000.

Microsoft hired him in 1999 "because I knew about art, had

a sense about business, and could also speak and write,"

he says. As curator, he had to explain the collection to

the employees and visitors. His most exciting acquisition:

A Sol Lewitt wall drawing, 20 feet by 50 feet, with

abstract shapes and colors.

But he wanted to be with his parents at the end of their

lives, he came back east and took a job at the

International Sculpture Center, the publisher of Sculpture

magazine, located at Grounds for Sculpture. He was eager

to return to what he terms "the momentum and tension on

the east coast." When the job didn’t work out, he and

Bertles founded Talking Point Films.

One recent contract is with a gallery in Chelsea, the

Betty Cuningham Gallery. "The purpose of the films is to

ask business founders, leaders and entrepreneurs why they

do what they do," says Bertles. "This type of behind the

scenes look at what makes a business work and who is

crucial to that business is part of the core process of

Talking Point Films."

The pair is also producing six films for the Manhattan

Square Park Conservancy, documenting a series of outdoor

installations and featuring interviews with the artist.

"The films really help any company connect in a very

personal way with web users. The films also serve as an

instant archive for a company’s history, projects and

personnel," says Klein.

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