Leslie Rankow Fine Arts

INTERNATIONAL ART ADVISORY SERVICE

Social media and photography with Yancey Richardson Gallery director, Matthew Whitworth

Mark Steinmetz
Athens, GA (Girl on Hood of Car), 1966
The Photography Show Presented by AIPAD
April 5-8, 2018 Pier 94, New York

IN 2008, THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM CURATED AN EXHIBIT PHOTOGRAPHY: REFLECTIONS ON THE MEDIUM SINCE 1960. THE MUSEUM PRESENTED FOUR DECADES OF PHOTOGRAPHS THAT FOCUSED THE CAMERA ON TO PHOTOGRAPHY ITSELF. IN THE SIXTIES, PHOTOGRAPHY BECAME THE “WEAPON OF CHOICE FOR ARTISTS SUCH AS ANDY WARHOL AND VITO ACCONCI IN BREAKING DOWN THE BOUNDARIES NOT ONLY BETWEEN MEDIUMS BUT BETWEEN ART AND LIFE ITSELF.”

https://www.metmuseum.org/press/exhibitions/2008/photography-on-photography–reflections-on-the-medium-since-1960

THE ROLE OF A GOOD GALLERY IS TO EDUCATE AS WELL AS TO PLACE ITS ARTISTS’ WORK IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS. THE EDUCATIVE PROCESS IS ACHIEVED BY CURATING GROUP EXHIBITIONS THAT EXPLORE A THEME OR TECHNIQUE, PRESS RELEASES THAT DOCUMENT BOTH THE TECHNICAL AND THEMATIC ASPECTS OF THE WORKS ON EXHIBIT, LECTURES AND MONOGRAPHS ON THE ARTISTS THEY REPRESENT. YANCEY RICHARDSON NUMBERS AMONGST THE GALLERIES THAT ARE DEEPLY COMMITTED TO CONTINUING THE TRADITION OF PHOTOGRAPHY AND EXPLORING NEW CHALLENGES AND INNOVATIONS IN THE FIELD.

TODAY, WE WELCOME BACK MATT WHITWORTH, DIRECTOR OF YANCEY RICHARDSON GALLERY, TO CONCLUDE HIS EXCEPTIONAL INTERVIEW ON THE GALLERY AND ON PHOTOGRAPHY ITSELF.

http://www.yanceyrichardson.com/

MATTHEW, DO YOU SEE A PATTERN OR TREND IN TERMS OF IMAGE AND/OR TECHNIQUE WITH THE YOUNGER ARTISTS WHO APPROACH YOU FOR REPRESENTATION OR THAT YOU SEE AT ART FAIRS OR IN STUDIOS?

Other than the ease of working digitally (anyone remember 35mm slides?) I can’t say there is a definite trend that I’ve never seen before.

Paul Mpagi Sepuya
Study for B.H. with Five Figures, 2014-2015
Archival pigment print

BEING: NEW PHOTOGRAPHY 2018 AT MoMA EXPLORES CURRENT PHOTOGRAPHY TRENDS. PAUL MPAGI SEPUYA, AN ARTIST I GREATLY ADMIRE, IS INCLUDED IN THIS INFORMATIVE EXHIBITION.

MATTHEW, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE HIS WORK, BOTH AESTHETICALLY AND TECHNICALLY, AND HOW DO YOU THINK IT MEETS THE DEFINITION OF NEW PHOTOGRAPHY.

Paul has had quite a year. We showed two distinct bodies of work for his first solo commercial show here at the gallery (actually anywhere) last spring. The main gallery was curated somewhat from his recent senior thesis work from UCLA along with some newer work. The Project gallery had earlier (2014!) work from his Studies series. I think while I loved the main gallery presentation (as did several major photography curators) and how each image “talked” to one another, the Studies work really resonated the most with me. Being a self-proclaimed formalist, I was fascinated by how he was disrupting, compressing, and expanding the notion of pictorial space within the picture plane all though analog processes. A mirror, some tape, a pushpin or two, some strips of photos, all come together to create a certain kind of magic. With the camera always in the same position in each image facing out at us, the constant reference back to photography, the act of photographing and the notion of looking and being looked at, was also intriguing to me.

Paul Mpagi Sepuya
Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon
New Museum
September 2017 – January 2018

Paul is of course speaking to a lot more than that. His work is pushing the identity of the model/photographer/subject/object to new boundaries. I thought his work looked so “clean” and well finished at the New Museum show Trigger: Using Gender as a Tool and a Weapon. It was a big, and somewhat jumbled but important and timely, show where Paul’s artistic maturity really stood out. He’s only 35 but is already exercising a very developed voice. He’s getting quite a bit of press because people are realizing that. It’s going to be so interesting to see how he develops further and where he goes with the next body of work.

https://www.newmuseum.org/exhibitions/view/trigger-gender-as-a-tool-and-as-a-weapon

HOW INFLUENTIAL ARE THE ART FAIRS IN TERMS OF THE EXPANSION OF THE PHOTOGRAPHY MARKET?

They are crucial I think as long as the galleries and dealers that participate continue to expand and develop their programs in new and exciting ways. Showing up to the swap meet with your bins and recycled material just isn’t going to cut it in New York or anywhere else. Paris Photo is an excellent example of how a small fair in the basement of the Louvre became the most important photography venue/destination in the world.

Sharon Core
1661 from the series 1606-1907, 2011
archival pigment print
Paris Photo
Yancey Richardson Gallery

HOW INFLUENTIAL IS THE WEB IN TERMS OF THIS EXPANSION. CLEARLY, PHOTOGRAPHY WILL REPRODUCE MORE EFFECTIVELY THAN SOME OTHER MEDIUMS ON INSTAGRAM, ONLINE AUCTIONS, GALLERY WEBSITES, OR IS THAT ASSUMPTION INCORRECT?

It’s hard to give just one answer with one metric like yes, it’s good we’re seeing 42, but clearly it’s moving things around. We’ve seen good sales from the online platforms for some artists and then are surprised when people just don’t respond to other work online. I always say I’m happy that everything isn’t done out on the web, I’d be out of a job. We don’t fetishize the print but it is what we’re selling after all and most collectors need to see it in real life before they commit.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EXHIBITIONS WE CAN ANTICIPATE IN THE GALLERY PROGRAM AHEAD?

David Maisel’s abstracted aerial photographs was our most recent exhibition. We’ll be showing new work by a new gallery artist Ori Gersht in the fall and the one I’m most excited about, Mickalene Thomas in early 2019.

Mickalene Thomas
Pulse Art Fair, Miami

WHAT EXHIBITS WOULD YOU LIKE TO CURATE THAT MAY BE TOO IMPRACTICAL AND WHY?

Oh, I’ve got some ridiculously themed ideas I’m still working on. I could tell you but I’d have to kill you. How about the history of bed sheets throughout photography? Uncovered!: A photographic exploration of bed linens in conversation with John Waters.

 

Rachel Perry
Lost in my Life, 2016
archival pigment print


WHAT DO YOU ANTICIPATE FOR THE GALLERY’S DIRECTION AND GROWTH IN THE YEARS AHEAD?

We are always striving to maintain, improve, and grow our current program as well as our relationships with private collectors and museum curators while constantly mining for the new and interesting.

PELLO IRAZU
Borrar 4A, 2015
Interventions
Group Summer Exhibition 2018
Yancey Richardson Gallery, Chelsea

Visit Yancey Richardson Gallery this summer to view Interventions, a group exhibition of photographs that have been physically manipulated or altered, i.e. torn, taped, painted, set on fire. It presents a diverse group of artists ranging from John Baldessari, Gordon Matta-Clark, Vic Muniz and Macao Yamamoto. Introduce yourself to Matthew and have the opportunity to learn even more about the art of photography.

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, WE WELCOME BACK ELLEN WINNER, WHOSE RESEARCH FOCUSES ON THE STUDY OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS. WE ARE DELIGHTED THAT ELLEN HAS PERMITTED US TO PUBLISH HER FASCINATING RECENT ARTICLE ON FORGERY, “ESSENTIALIST BELIEFS IN AESTHETIC JUDGMENTS OF DUPLICATE ARTWORKS”, FEATURED IN LAST WEEK’S NEW YORK TIMES.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/08/arts/design/do-you-like-dogs-playing-poker-science-would-like-to-know-why.html

THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING THE BLOG, YOUR COMMENTS, CONTRIBUTIONS AND SUPPORT!

Photography: past to present with Matthew Whitworth at the Yancey Richardson Gallery

Bernd Becher and Hilla Becher
Pitheads, 1974
Tate Museum

BERND AND HILLA BECHER FIRST BEGAN THEIR PROJECT TO SYSTEMATICALLY PHOTOGRAPH INDUSTRIAL STRUCTURES IN THE LATE 1950s IN RESPONSE TO THE DESICCATION OF THE GERMAN LANDSCAPE DURING WORLD WAR II. KNOWN FOR THEIR RIGOROUS DEVOTION TO THE 1920s NEW OBJECTIVITY MOVEMENT, THE BECHERS’ PHOTOGRAPHS ARE CLEAR, BLACK AND WHITE IMAGES OF SUCH INDUSTRIAL ARCHETYPES AS GRAIN ELEVATORS, WATER TOWERS AND COAL BUNKERS. THEIR RHYTHMIC AND REPETITIVE IMPACT GAINED A BROAD INFLUENCE ON THE WORK OF THEIR SUCCESSFUL STUDENTS AT THE DUSSELDORF ART ACADEMY THAT INCLUDED THOMAS STRUTH, ANDREAS GURSKY, AND CANDIDA HOFER. THEIR IMMERSIVE DOCUMENTARY QUALITY AND THE ADVANCES IN THE TECHNICAL CAPABILITIES OF BOTH PRINTING AND SCALE CONTRIBUTE TO CREATING THE BLURRING OF BOUNDARIES BETWEEN PHOTOGRAPHY AND PAINTING.

THE YANCEY RICHARDSON GALLERY REPRESENTS A DIVERSE SELECTION OF ABSTRACT, FIGURAL AND LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHERS RESPONDING TO THE LEGACY OF THE DUSSELDORF SCHOOL.

IT IS A PLEASURE TO REGROUP WITH MATT WHITWORTH, DIRECTOR OF YANCEY RICHARDSON GALLERY, TO DISCUSS BOTH PAST AND PRESENT TRENDS IN PHOTOGRAPHY IN TODAY’S LVRA BLOG.

http://www.yanceyrichardson.com/

MATTHEW, WELCOME BACK!

Larry Sultan
Pictures from Home series
Fixing the Rainbird, 1985

WHO ARE THE PHOTOGRAPHERS THAT HAVE MADE THE LARGEST IMPACT ON THE NEXT GENERATION OF PHOTOGRAPHERS AND IN WHAT WAYS?

It used to be fairly easy to point to Bernd and Hilla Becher and say look at the artists they taught, they are or will be big and important. Now the Dusseldorf School, as it’s more commonly referred to, has had descendants of the descendants. The gestation period is quite quick. Aside from that I think you have to look at who has been copied or emulated. Tina Barney stands out to me. Larry Sultan had a very important, if all too short, working career. With Larry’s Pictures from Home, the biographical nature of photography and what it could say really set a new bar. That show at the Queens Museum and the book are still haunting and almost gut wrenching to me. I see a lot of artists working in very self-referential ways these days and can’t help think if Tina and Larry helped open a lot of doors to that.

Anthony Hernandez
Landscapes for the Homeless

THE GALLERY HAS HAD SUCH A SUBSTANTIAL HISTORY OF EXHIBITIONS THAT HAVE BEEN ACKNOWLEDGED BOTH CRITICALLY AND COMMERCIALLY. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR EXHIBITION PROGRAM?

Thank you very much. I can point to several. I think Anthony Hernandez’s recent show was a huge risk but the work is so good and tough and important and had never been seen in New York. Holland Cotter in the Times called the complete series of Landscapes for the Homeless “one of the most moving in contemporary American photography”. Zanele Muholi’s 2 solo shows of her self portraits have been an amazing experience as far as audience interaction, general buzz and phenomenal sales.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/16/arts/design/photographs-of-desperate-shadows-cast-by-the-california-sun.html

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A COLLECTOR JUST STARTING TO EXPRESS AN INTEREST IN COLLECTING?

It’s always collect what you want and need to have. You’ll never miss the money but you’ll always miss the art if you let it get away.  When new collectors ask me how much a print is going to be worth I have to tell them that they are asking the wrong question, a legitimate one but the wrong one. Collecting is about passion so follow that and you’ll always be happy. Also, there is no rush. If you like an artist, and their work in general, but don’t see the right image for you, wait. Chances are they will eventually produce something that strikes you so hard you can’t walk away.

Andrew Moore
Dirt Meridian

DO MOST PHOTOGRAPHY COLLECTIONS HAVE A HISTORICAL ARCH AND IF SO, WHAT IS THE TIMELINE?

Some do and most I deal with don’t. I always thought it was so boring and tedious when collectors who were starting out thought they had to collect from square one in order to build a solid collection. “OK, I need an Atget, check. OK, I need a Cartier Bresson, check,” etc. It’s so much more interesting to help steer a collector who is interested in many things (besides photography) and knows what they want but not exactly how to go about getting it. It’s my job to pair the work with the collector and I always find that stimulating and a great and fun challenge.

ARE THERE SPECIFIC ARTISTS AND/OR PERIODS OF PHOTOGRAPHY THAT ARE IN THE HIGHEST DEMAND?

Right now there is a huge shift towards artists dealing with gender, racial, and sexual identity. Mickalene Thomas, Zanele Muholi, and Paul Mpagi Sepuya are the contemporary artists we represent that are dealing with these issues and whose works are in high demand.

 

Elina Brotherus
Artists at Work 9, 2009
A Room of One’s Own exhibit at Yancey Richardson

HOW DO YOU FIND THE PHOTOGRAPHY MARKET AT A TIME WHEN THE ART MARKET IN GENERAL IS UNDERGOING A CORRECTION?

I don’t think there has been a real “correction” yet. If you look at the only publicly available sales data, the Auction Houses, the numbers seem to be quite healthy. Maybe I’m not seeing the reports you are? The gallery has been able to increase sales year over year since before I joined. One can wonder though, is that due to blind and reckless spending or is it because of the program? Don’t get me wrong, I survived through 2008 and beyond so that is always in the back of my head. I’m keeping an eye on the Dow more than I am Christie’s, Sotheby’s, or Phillips.

Sharon Core
Four Heart Cakes, 2004

CERTAINLY THE PHOTOGRAPHY MARKET HAS GARNERED ITS SHARE OF AUCTION RECORDS, CINDY SHERMAN, RICHARD PRINCE, ANDREAS GURSKY READILY COME TO MIND.  WHAT ARE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT AUCTION RESULTS IN THE PHOTOGRAPHY MARKET AND WHY DO YOU THINK IT IS THAT ARTIST, OR PARTICULAR PHOTOGRAPH COMMANDS THIS KIND OF COMMERCIAL SUCCESS?

The reactions to the Auction House records always frustrate and perplex me because they are in the business of selling things, any and many “things”. They purport to benefitting artist’s careers and their artwork but let’s be realistic, whether it’s a watch, a bottle of wine, or a Picasso, they want the best sales result. The money goes to them and the seller, not the artist. When collectors come to me and say, “Why did this go for such a high price?” all I can really say is that at least 2 people wanted it at the same time. Why would someone (or two people) pay $97,500 for an unlimited edition Sebastiao Salgado when they could have bought the same print from me that morning, during the sale, or even right after it for $50,000. The only benefit to the artist or the gallery is that maybe the prices can be revised to a higher level after a good result but a bad result (possibly due to a lack of promotion on the Auction House’s part) can be a real nuisance. We spend most of our time promoting the artist and their work for the larger picture, if you will. We are in it for the long haul while the Auction Houses are in it for the immediate sale, then on to the next product of death, debt, or divorce.

 

Sebastiao Salgado
Fortress of Solitude

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG, MATTHEW WILL SPEAK ON THE EFFECTS OF ART FAIRS AND THE WEB ON THE PHOTOGRAPHY MARKET.

THANK YOU ALL FOR FOLLOWING!

Outside one’s comfort zone: the collector profile with Matthew Whitworth of Yancey Richardson Gallery

Pello Irazu
Installation view
Yancey Richardson Gallery

IN THE AGE OF THE SMART PHONE, EVERYONE IS A PHOTOGRAPHER CONSTANTLY SHOOTING AND SHARING PHOTOGRAPHS, CREATING A DAILY RECORD OF ACTIVITY AND LOCATIONS IN A VISUAL DIARY. HOW DO WE DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN THIS MULTITUDE OF  IMAGES  AND IMAGE MAKERS THAT WE SEE ON SOCIAL MEDIA OR IN ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS AND THE FINE ART IMAGES FOUND IN A GALLERY OR MUSEUM EXHIBITION?

TO QUOTE PHOTOGRAPHER AND INTERNATIONAL CENTER OF PHOTOGRAPHY FOUNDER, CORNELL CAPA:

Photography is demonstrably the most contemporary of art forms. It is the most vital, effective, and universal means of communication of facts and ideas between peoples and nations.

ONE ESSENTIAL AREA OF EXPERTISE IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF BOTH THE CREATIVE AND TECHNICAL POSSIBILITIES OF PHOTOGRAPHY, THE BASIC USE OF CAMERAS AND IMAGING SOFTWARE, A SKILL SET THAT INCLUDES CAMERA OPERATION, SHUTTER SPEED, APERTURE, COMPOSITION, IMAGE ENHANCEMENT AND PRINTING. THE SECOND IS MORE ELUSIVE: DEVELOPING A PHOTOGRAPHIC EYE. WITH DEDICATION AND INTENTION, A PHOTOGRAPHER TRANSFORMS EVERYDAY OBSERVATIONS INTO COMPELLING PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIES THAT REFLECT THE ARTIST’S UNIQUE VISION, STATEMENT AND STYLE.

Lux: The Radiant Sea
Installation view
Yancey Richardson Gallery

AT YANCEY RICHARDSON GALLERY, THESE CRITERIA ARE MET IN THE ROSTER OF ARTISTS THE GALLERY REPRESENTS. DIVERSE IN IMAGE, SUBJECT, INTENT, AND TECHNIQUE, THE GALLERY ARTISTS HAVE BEEN EXTENSIVELY COLLECTED AND EXHIBITED IN MUSEUMS WORLDWIDE AND WIDELY PUBLISHED IN MONOGRAPHS, ART JOURNALS AND CRITICAL TEXTS.

TODAY, MATTHEW WHITWORTH, DIRECTOR AT YANCEY RICHARDSON, WILL SHARE HIS KNOWLEDGE OF THE PHOTOGRAPHY MARKET’S COLLECTOR PROFILE AND HOW IT HAS EVOLVED.

http://www.yanceyrichardson.com/

MATTHEW, WHO ARE THE GALLERY COLLECTORS?  WHAT PERCENTAGE EXCLUSIVELY COLLECT PHOTOGRAPHY AND WHAT PERCENTAGE  ALSO COLLECT IN OTHER MEDIUMS (PAINTING, SCULPTURE)?

That’s a fairly complicated question to answer without a few hours of database research on my end and a few pages of writing but I can defer to the 80/20 rule. That is, about 80 percent of our business comes from about 20% of our collectors. Out of that 20% I would guess 60-80% are primarily or strictly photography collectors.

ZANELE MUHOLI
2017
gelatin silver print

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE COLLECTOR PROFILE WHEN THE GALLERY FIRST OPENED AND HOW HAS IT CHANGED? HAS IT CHANGED IN TERMS OF THE KIND OF PEOPLE THAT ARE COLLECTING AND HAS IT CHANGED IN TERMS OF THE KIND OF PHOTOGRAPHY THEY COLLECT?

It seems that the demographic of the client has broadened quite a bit as well as what they’re looking for. The collectors tended to be older back in “the day” and there often were a lot of decorating needs that were filled by photographs, “I need a wide picture of a landscape” or “I’m looking for photographs of New York City”. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but today I see quite a few seasoned clients, and younger collectors, venturing outside of what you might think their comfort zone is. By following and collecting more intellectually rigorous and emotionally charged work, they are more interested in the artist’s voice, not just the image alone. The works of Zanele Muholi and Paul Mpagi Sepuya are prime examples.

LEWIS BALTZ
New Industrial Parks And Park City
Yancey Richardson Gallery
April 6 – May 12, 2001

IN TERMS OF VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPHY, WHO ARE THE PHOTOGRAPHERS THAT THE GALLERY REPRESENTS? WHO RESONATES THE MOST STRONGLY WITH YOU AND WHY?

Well, vintage is often a misused or misunderstood term. It really means a print that was made on or around (usually within 3 years) the time the negative, or file in digital terms, was made. So, we are selling a lot of vintage work by the contemporary photographers we represent. If by vintage you mean “older” I would have to say the 1970s work by Lewis Baltz probably has the most appeal to me. Lewis was way ahead of his time. I’m not really so interested in anything before that period except for Paul Outerbridge.

Victoria Sambunaris
Untitled (Train crossing Great Salt Lake City, Utah), 2016
39 x 55 inches

IN TERMS OF THE MORE CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS THE GALLERY REPRESENTS, IS THERE A CONSISTENCY IN TERMS OF POINT OF VIEW, SUBJECT AND/OR TECHNIQUE?

Yes, they all have to be strong and well thought out. We don’t show work that is on the fence of what it or the artist wants it to be. Sometimes a pretty picture is just that and that’s fine but in the long run the artist has to have something interesting to say visually and be able to support that intellectually.

WHAT IS THE GALLERY PROCEDURE FOR ADDING AN ARTIST TO THE GALLERY ROSTER? IS THERE A SPECIFIC TIME PERIOD TO EVALUATE THE WORK OR RECOGNITION AND AWARDS FOR WORKS OF PHOTOGRAPHIC MERIT?

There is no specific time and there is no specific need or slot we are trying to fill. We do accept admissions online and are happy to take a look at digital portfolios but I would have to say that since we are an established gallery, most new additions to the roster are established artists. Those relationships are obtained by more complicated and in depth means. We are happy to be working with Ori Gersht, a recent addition to the gallery, but that didn’t happen because he sent us a link to his website.

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, MATTHEW WILL SPEAK ON THE CURRENT AND FUTURE OF THE ART OF PHOTOGRAPHY.

PLEASE JOIN US.

It’s always about the image, at the Yancey Richardson Gallery with director Matthew Whitworth

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
K VII
Oil on canvas
Shape of Light at the Tate Modern
until October 14, 2018

CURRENTLY AT THE TATE MODERN, THE EXHIBITION SHAPE OF LIFE EXPLORES THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PHOTOGRAPHY AND ABSTRACT ACT, A SUBJECT FIRST ADDRESSED IN THE UK ON SUCH A MAJOR SCALE. THE BIRTH OF ABSTRACT ART AND THE INVENTION OF PHOTOGRAPHY WERE BOTH DEFINING MOMENTS IN OUR VISUAL HISTORY.  SPANNING THE CENTURY FROM THE 1920s TO THE PRESENT, THE SHOW BRINGS TO LIFE THE INNOVATION FOUND IN PHOTOGRAPHY AND ITS SHARED HISTORY WITH ABSTRACT ART. THANKS TO THIS EXHIBITION, WHICH CONTINUES THROUGH OCTOBER 2018, WE CAN TRACE THE DIALOGUE BETWEEN SUCH PHOTOGRAPHERS AS MAN RAY, ALFRED STIEGLITZ, JARED BARK AND MAYA ROCHAT.

Jared Bark
Untitled (JBARK PB 1973)
Vintage gelatin silver photobooth prints

IN ANTICIPATION OF THE TATE MODERN SHOW, THE APRIL/MAY SOLO EXHIBITION AT YANCEY RICHARDSON GALLERY IN NEW YORK FEATURED JARED BARK’S AMAZING PHOTOBOOTH PIECES COMPRISED OF UNIQUE VINTAGE PHOTO BOOTH ASSEMBLAGES THAT FORM ABSTRACT IMAGES. MINIMALISM IN GENERAL AND THE WORK OF SOL LEWITT IN PARTICULAR IMPACT ON BARK’S PHOTOGRAPHY, A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF THE DIALOGUE BETWEEN ABSTRACTION IN PAINTING AND IN PHOTOGRAPHY.

YANCEY RICHARDSON OPENED IN SOHO IN 1995 AND MOVED TO CHELSEA IN 2000. CURRENTLY LOCATED IN A GREAT GROUND FLOOR EXHIBITION SPACE ON 22nd STREET, YANCEY RICHARDSON GALLERY IS ONE OF THE FIRST DEDICATED TO PHOTO-BASED ART.

TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO CONTINUE ITS CONVERSATION WITH MATTHEW WHITWORTH, A DIRECTOR AT THE GALLERY.

http://www.yanceyrichardson.com/

Rachel Perry
Soundtrack to my Life
February – March 2018

HOW DO YOU SEE THE EVOLUTION OF THE GALLERY IN PARTICULAR AND THE PHOTOGRAPHY MARKET IN GENERAL SINCE YOU HAVE BEEN THE DIRECTOR AND SINCE YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE ART WORLD?

 With the gallery’s move 4 years ago to a ground-floor space on the same block, I can’t help but think that we’re seen as a more of an equal to the larger galleries showing painting, sculpture, and other works on paper. It levels the playing field a bit, as far as attendance for sure, to be able to be seen from the sidewalk. With that being said, along with a forward thinking program, we’ve developed quite a few new relationships with collectors who had never purchased a photograph or walked into a “photography gallery” before. That cross pollination can also be seen in the mixed-media art fairs we participate in, where we tend to do quite a bit better sales wise than at the photography specific ones. This has certainly changed since I started so many years ago when, if you wanted a specific piece by an artist, you knew there was probably only one place you could get it.

Bryan Graf
Field Recording (Sun Room)
Unique chromogenic print

HOW HAS TECHNOLOGY AFFECTED THE NATURE OF PHOTOGRAPHY?

One thing I’ve noticed is that the artists that use digital technology, don’t seem to be trying to make it as good as or just like analog anymore. Digital photography and printmaking have crossed into their own realm, where it’s OK to be digital and use the technology to its own end. Funny, though — now there’s been a return to analog with younger artists. It’s hip to use film and listen to vinyl records.

Gregory Crewdson
The Haircut, 2014
from the series Cathedral of the Pines

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TECHNICAL ADVANCES THAT PHOTOGRAPHERS ARE EXPERIMENTING WITH THAT CHANGE THE IDEA OF WHAT A PHOTOGRAPH SHOULD BE?

Speaking to my previous point a bit more, I like to refer back to Gregory Crewdson’s last show at Gagosian. While I had mixed thoughts on the subject matter, I thought the printmaking and technical aspects of the work were so new and curious. They really were their own “thing.”

David Maisel
Terminal Mirage 22
Archival pigment printIN WHAT WAYS HAS THE ART OF PHOTOGRAPHY REMAINED THE SAME?

It’s always going to be about the image and it’s underlying strength.

DO YOU AGREE THAT PHOTOGRAPHY HAS TAKEN A TREMENDOUS LEAP FORWARD AS AN ESTABLISHED ART FORM AND AN AREA TO COLLECT?

Yes, absolutely. It used to be achieved by scale. Take the photographs of Andreas Gursky and Jeff Wall. There had never been prints that big before. Were we seduced by their imagery or their size? Today, more importantly, I see artists using photography to expand, and in some cases clarify, their voice. For example Mickalene Thomas. She may be best known for her bedazzled paintings taking on classical male artists’ views of women, but she broke out of an earlier rut in her practice by picking up a camera. She continues to make new photographic work today.

Mickalene Thomas

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, MATTHEW WILL PROFILE THE CURRENT COLLECTOR BASE AND EXPLORE PHOTOGRAPHY’S EARLIER INFLUENCES.

STAY TUNED!

 

Dedicated to photography: an introduction to the Yancey Richardson Gallery with its director Matthew Whitworth

 

Matthew Whitworth
Associate Director
Yancey Richardson Gallery

AS AN ARTISTIC MEDIUM, PHOTOGRAPHY IS A FAIRLY RECENT NEWBIE TO THE ART MARKET. ALTHOUGH THE CAMERA WAS INVENTED IN THE MID-19th CENTURY AND WAS PREDATED BY THE CAMERA OBSCURA, PHOTOGRAPHY AS AN ART FORM WAS TRULY RECOGNIZED IN THE 20th CENTURY, EXHIBITED IN GALLERIES AND COLLECTED BY INDIVIDUALS AND MUSEUMS. CIRCA 1485, LEONARDO DA VINCI USED THE CAMERA OBSCURA TO STUDY PERSPECTIVE AS FIRST DOCUMENTED IN HIS CODEX ATLANTICUS.  THE DUTCH MASTERS, PARTICULARLY VERMEER, WHOSE ICONIC PAINTINGS ARE CELEBRATED FOR THEIR QUIET BEAUTY AND IMPECCABLE DETAIL, MADE USE OF THE PINHOLE CAMERA AS EARLY AS THE MID-17th CENTURY. NOW GALLERIES DEDICATED TO THE ART OF PHOTOGRAPHY, SELLING BOTH VINTAGE AND CONTEMPORARY PRINTS, HEAVILY POPULATE THE GALLERY WORLD ALONG WITH GALLERIES THAT EQUALLY FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY IN AN EXHIBITION PLATFORM THAT INCLUDES PAINTING, SCULPTURE AND VIDEO.

Stephen Shore
County of Sutherland, Scotland
1988
C-print mounted on aluminum

ONE OF THE LONG ESTABLISHED AND MOST DEDICATED IS THE  YANCEY RICHARDSON GALLERY THAT OPENED IN SOHO IN 1995, THEN LAUNCHING WHAT IS TODAY ONE OF THE MOST PREEMINENT GALLERIES TO SPECIALIZE IN FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE UNITED STATES.  THE GALLERY WORKS WITH BOTH EMERGING AND ESTABLISHED COLLECTORS, MUSEUMS AND PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS. GALLERY INVENTORY RANGES FROM ESTABLISHED MASTERS OF THE 20thAND 21stCENTURY SUCH AS CARTIER-BRESSON, ROBERT FRANK, AND ANSEL ADAMS TO CONTEMPORARY AND MID-CAREER ARTISTS.

ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITIONS ON NOW IS BEING: NEW PHOTOGRAPHY 2018 AT THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK. IN A BEAUTIFULLY CURATED EXHIBITION OF 17 INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS, PAUL MPAGI SEPUYA EXEMPLIFIES THE PICTORIAL, POLITICAL AND SOCIAL CONCERNS OF ARTISTS’ TODAY, EXPLORING HIS IDENTITY IN INTENSE FIGURATIVE IMAGES VIEWED THROUGH THE LENS OF CONSTRUCTIVIST COLLAGE.

Paul Mpagi Sepuya
Figure with Poppies After RBN (2604), 2015
Archival pigment print

http://www.yanceyrichardson.com/

IN TODAY’S LRFA BLOG, WE ARE PLEASED TO WELCOME MATTHEW WHITWORTH, A DIRECTOR AT THE GALLERY SINCE 2015.

MATT, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR CONTRIBUTING TO THE LRFA BLOG WITH OUR FIRST INTERVIEW ON A GALLERY DEDICATED EXCLUSIVELY TO THE ART OF PHOTOGRAPHY.

HOW DID YOU FIRST BECOME INTERESTED IN ART? DID YOUR FAMILY COLLECT OR WHERE YOU INTERESTED IN THE PRACTICE ITSELF?

When I was a young boy growing up in New York City, my favorite places to visit (besides the Museum of Natural History) were the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim, the latter most likely because I had dreams of skateboarding down it. I liked looking at the paintings and sculptures and roaming around the great spaces. I also went to school with Frank Stella’s son Michael. He would invite me over and we’d hang out. His dad had some of his own large-scale paintings installed in their house as well as several in progress downstairs in the studio. I thought they were pretty cool, but not as much as the scale model train sets he had been working on.

Frank Stella
Whitney Museum of American Art
2015 Retrospective

My introduction to photography came from my mother. She became interested in amateur photography through her sister and set up a small darkroom when I was about 7. I was hooked instantly. Seeing images develop in the shadows of the red darkroom safelight was like alchemy to me.

WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATIONAL HISTORY AND WHEN DID YOU BEGIN TO FOCUS ON ART HISTORY IN GENERAL AND PHOTOGRAPHY IN PARTICULAR?

 My interest in photography continued throughout high school when my family and I moved to a small suburb of Boston. I was able to use the school’s equipment as well as set up a darkroom in our basement. I went to UMass Amherst for 2 years and took some wonderful art history classes, but was frustrated there because I had to travel back and forth to Smith College (as part of the great Five College Interchange program) to gain access to a darkroom and photography classes. I remembered SUNY Purchase had an active art program from my earlier college searches, so I went to visit and before I knew it, had transferred and graduated. My all-time favorite class at Purchase was “Field Trips to Museums and Galleries of New York,” taught by Irving Sandler. It was equivalent to something like “Tasting Great French Food of New York with Julia Child.”

David Maisel
Atlas
Aerial Photography

WHAT A PRIVILEGE TO HAVE STUDIED WITH IRVING SANDLER, ONE OF AMERICA’S MOST INFLUENTIAL ART HISTORIANS WHO, IN 1970, WROTE THE LANDMARK “TRIUMPH OF AMERICA PAINTING” AND, AS RECENTLY AS 2015, “SWEPT UP BY ART”.

https://www.artinamericamagazine.com/news-features/magazines/archives-new-cool-art/?utm_source=Art+in+America&utm_campaign=aff2ae75aa-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_06_05_03_40&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c7cb106f7b-aff2ae75aa-293049497

WHAT IS YOUR PREVIOUS WORK HISTORY AND WHAT PROMPTED THE MOVE TO YOUR CURRENT POSITION?

I worked at Janet Borden, Inc. for many, many years. I learned a lot but it was time for a change. YRG’s program is so relevant, topical, and growing in such an interesting way. I’m proud to be a part of it.

David Maisel
Atlas
Aerial photography
May 17 – July 6, 2018

IN OUR NEXT POST, MATTHEW WILL SHARE SOME OF THE VERY RICH HISTORY OF THE GALLERY, FROM ITS ORIGINAL LOCATION IN SoHo, TO ITS CURRENT ONE ON WEST 22nd STREET IN THE HEART OF CHELSEA.

PLEASE JOIN US!

Artists choosing artists at the Mary Boone Gallery with Ron Warren

Laurie Simmons: Clothes Make the Man: 1990-1994
Retrospective at Mary Boone Gallery
April 27 – July 27, 2018

IN 1991, NEARLY THIRTY YEARS AGO, FOR AN INSTALLATION AT MARY BOONE GALLERY, BARBARA KRUGER CREATED A TOTAL ENVIRONMENT OF WORDS AND IMAGES COVERING THE WALLS, CEILING, AND FLOOR. IN 1994, KRUGER REFINED THIS IDEA BY SEAMLESSLY PAPERING THE GALLERY WALLS, TILING THE FLOOR AND INTRODUCING A BOOMING RECORDED VOICE-OVER. THESE WERE RADICAL AND REVOLUTIONARY ART FORMS AT THE TIME. TODAY, BARBARA KRUGER COMMANDS AN EVEN MORE INFLUENTIAL AND INNOVATIVE PRESENCE THAN SHE DID THEN. MARY BOONE GALLERY HAS SUPPORTED HER IDEAS AND HER WORK SINCE SHE WAS FIRST REPRESENTED BY THE GALLERY, TRUE FOR KRUGER AND NUMEROUS OTHER ARTISTS WHOSE WORK HAS EXPANDED AND DEVELOPED OVER THE YEARS, CAREFULLY NATURED BY THEIR GALLERIST AND THEN DISSEMINATED IN GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS AROUND THE WORLD TO GAIN RECOGNITION IN THE ART WORLD AND VALUE IN THE ART MARKET.

I, FOR ONE, FIND THIS CONSISTENCY OF VISION AND FIERCE DETERMINATION EXTRAORDINARILY IMPRESSIVE.

Barbara Kruger
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG WELCOMES RON WARREN, PARTNER AND DIRECTOR AT THE GALLERY, TO DISCUSS HOW THE GALLERY SELECTS ITS ARTISTS AND ITS CURRENT AND FUTURE PLANS.

RON, PLEASE TELL US ABOUT THE GALLERY’S HISTORY WITH BARBARA KRUGER.

Barbara is an artist whose work has truly influenced culture! The look of the iconic image and text works she showed with us throughout the 1980s and 1990s is frequently mimicked in advertising and graphic design, not to mention numerous student art projects that appear online. Barbara is an old-school artist, a teacher, no assistants, operating on her own ideas and sharp perceptions of people and power. Barbara consistently applies new materials, technologies, and ideologies to her work. Our shows of her work in the 1980s included large photo-silkscreened works on vinyl, a process developed for outdoor advertising. In 1991 she pioneered the concept of a room-sized installation, covering the walls, floor, and ceiling with images and texts, and in 1994 added to this a booming narrated soundtrack. Our 2004 and 2010 exhibitions were four-channel video projections. Presently she is working mostly with large-scale architectural installations and public art works, like the wide-ranging project she did last Fall for Performa 17.  An exhibition of her work is being organized by the Art Institute of Chicago for 2020.

Barbara Kruger
Performa 17

How does the gallery identify new artists that they are interested in showing? It is a group decision amongst the directors or exclusively Mary Boone’s?

Artists are great auditors of other artists’ work. We follow up on recommendations of the artists we show, and the entire staff discusses weekly any interesting shows we have seen or ideas for exhibitions.

I have always felt that Mary Boone is truly dedicated to her artists. Are artists assigned on a day-to-day basis to various directors or is the scheduling of exhibitions, at the gallery, other galleries and in museum exhibitions a group process?

We all work together for all the artists.

Art fairs are such a dominant venue for exposure and sales. Which fairs does Mary Boone Gallery participate in and why?

The emphasis on art fairs is a relatively new thing. The art calendar has become crowded with so many fairs world-wide, it does put a strain on the galleries, as well as the artists to produce enough work. Some galleries maintain staff that only travel from fair to fair! In order to show the best selection of fresh material, we have made the decision to show only at Art Basel Miami Beach. Our booth at the fair is very much a hands-on extension of the Gallery.  

 

Tomoo Gokita
Installation shot

How are you reaching the Asian market?

With the internet and Instagram, the art world really has become global—it’s a cliché, but it’s true. There is an extraordinary network of information and images being exchanged. Many collectors from Asia have come to us through interest in the artists we show. Often that initial interest is driven by our exhibition of artists from Asia, like Ai Weiwei or Tomoo Gokita, and then the collector becomes intrigued by other artists in our program. We also share our artists with galleries in China, Japan, and Korea.

 

Matt Bass
Installation
May 2018

What are some of the exhibitions the gallery is planning in the year ahead?

Our current show features new paintings by Math Bass whose work I love. Math was a student of Barbara Kruger in the MFA program at UCLA. She had a Project Space exhibition last year at the Yuz Museum, Shanghai.  Although Math has done performance at the Whitney Museum and project exhibitions with MoMA PS1 and has the current Lobby Artist Commission at the Jewish Museum, this will be her first solo New York gallery exhibition.

Check out the great review of this exhibition in the  May 28, 1918 prestigious New Yorker magazine.

RON, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR A GREAT SERIES OF POSTS!

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG, WE INTRODUCE OUR FIRST EXCLUSIVELY PHOTOGRAPHY GALLERY, NEW YORK’S YANCEY RICHARDSON GALLERY. IT IS A PLEASURE TO LEARN ABOUT THIS VERY SPECIFIC AREA OF COLLECTING WITH THE GALLERY DIRECTOR, MATTHEW WHITWORTH.

STAY TUNED!

Tracking contemporary art history at Mary Boone with director Ron Warren

Ai Wei Wei
Installation at Mary Boone Gallery

ONE OF THE MOST DOMINANT TRENDS IN RECENT YEARS HAS BEEN CROSS-COLLECTING, EXPOSING COLLECTORS TO WORKS OF DIFFERENT PERIODS AND ENCOURAGING THEM TO “MIX IT UP” – CONTEMPORARY AND OLD MASTER, MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY, LATIN AND NORTH AMERICAN. THE AUCTION HOUSES, AND GALLERIES AS WELL, ARE MAKING AN ART-HISTORICAL STATEMENT TO EXPAND A COLLECTOR’S VISION, BASED ON QUALITY AND PROVENANCE AND NOT DATE.

AT TEFAF NEW YORK THIS SPRING, ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOTHS, DAVID ZWIRNER, JUXTAPOSED THE IMPECCABLE JOSEF ALBERS’ HOMAGE TO A SQUARE – ALL RED IN A ROW – AND THE QUIET POTENCY OF GIORGIO MORANDI’S SEEMINGLY EFFORTLESS STILL LIFES. CHRISTIE’S, AS EVERYONE IS WELL AWARE, SOLD THE $450m LEONARDO DA VINCI IN THE POST-WAR AND CONTEMPORARY EVENING SALE, AND SOTHEBY’S VERY SUCCESSFULLY, IN THE CONTEMPORARY ART EVENING AUCTION, HEIGHTENED THE APPRECIATION AND REALIZED IMPRESSIVE AUCTION RESULTS FOR BLACK AMERICAN AND AFRICAN ARTISTS, IN THE SECTION OF THEIR SALE THAT BENEFITTED THE STUDIO MUSEUM IN HARLEM’S EXPANSION. AT CHRISTIE’S SINGLE OWNER ROCKEFELLER SALE, THE JOY OF COLLECTING IN MANY PERIODS, IMPRESSIONIST, MODERN, AMERICAN AND ASIAN SPOKE OF THE PASSION AND COMMITMENT TO THE ARTS OF ALL OF THE GENERATIONS OF ROCKEFELLERS. IT IS ALWAYS GRATIFYING WHEN A COLLECTOR IS INTERESTED IN COLLECTING NOT ONLY THEIR GENERATION BUT ALSO THE ARTISTS THAT INFLUENCED THEM- FOR EXAMPLE, A LICHTENSTEIN WORK ON PAPER, A POLKE RASHER PAINTING AND A NATE LOWMAN BULLET HOLE.

Francis Picabia

MARY BOONE HAS AN IMPRESSIVE HISTORY OF SHOWING HISTORICAL WORKS THAT HAVE GREATLY INFLUENCED THE MORE CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS SHE REPRESENTS. TODAY THE LRFA BLOG WELCOMES RON WARREN, PARTNER AND DIRECTOR OF THE MARY BOONE GALLERY, TO RECOLLECT SOME OF THE MANY MARVELOUS EXHIBITIONS IN THE GALLERY’S LONG HISTORY.

https://maryboonegallery.com/

RON, SOME OF THE OUTSTANDING HISTORICAL SHOWS THAT SHOW THE INFLUENCE OF A GENERATION OF MASTER ARTISTS ON THE ARTISTS WORKING TODAY INCLUDE FRANCIS PICABIA, DAN FLAVIN, CLYFFORD STILL AND MY FAVORITE, AS CLIENTS KNOW, THE MIRROR PAINTINGS OF ROY LICHTENSTEIN.

Clyfford Still

PLEASE DESCRIBE THESE EXHIBITIONS AND THE WAYS IN WHICH THEY EXERTED SUCH A STRONG INFLUENCE ON THE CURRENT GENERATION OF ARTISTS.

All amazing exhibitions. Although I came to the gallery after the Picabia show (1983), I do remember how eye-opening that show was. Definitely before its time… did you know that show was thoroughly panned by the New York Times art critic? A direct legacy of that show is that over thirty years later MoMA mounted their extremely well-received Picabia retrospective. Clyfford Still (1990) was a show that at the time was considered impossible to do – Patricia Still was still living and enforcing the artist’s draconian regulations.

Dan Flavin
Monument (for V. Tavlin)

Working with loans from Museums and private collections, we were able to put together what amounted to a small but comprehensive survey. Roy and Dan were still alive at the time of their shows so it was fascinating to see them engage with their own historical works. Besides the impact and importance of the works, my lasting impression of their shows was the way they were lit. The Roy Lichtenstein mirrors (1989) were spot-lit like icons, which in a sense they were. For our Dan Flavin show (1991) of his Monument (for V. Tatlin)works, we relied only on the light emitted from the works. The gallery had a highly polished terra cotta tile floor, and the reflection of the vertical fluorescent tubes gave the darkened space the aura of a sanctuary.  

Ai Wei Wei’s Fairytale Project
Documenta

AN ARTIST OF GREAT AESTHETIC AND POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE IS AI WEIWEI. THE GALLERY HAS REPRESENTED HIM FOR SOME TIME. WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF THE GALLERY’S RELATIONSHIP WITH AI WEIWEI IN TERMS OF PROJECTS AND EXHIBITIONS?

In 2007 Mary went to Documenta where Weiwei presented his ambitious Fairytale project. From discussions there with Weiwei, we had our first show in March 2008 – still one of my favorite installations at our Chelsea gallery. Weiwei created an enormous lighted brass and red glass crystal chandelier that lay twisted on the floor as if it had fallen. He brought a crew from China that spent a week in the gallery constructing the work. We later showed, in January 2012, a smaller version (5 tons) of the Sunflower Seeds that had been shown to great acclaim at the Tate Modern. The millions of handmade porcelain seeds are a metaphor for modern China, each individual, but creating a deceptively unified field.

Ai Wei Wei
Sunflower Seeds
Porcelain

The Ai Weiwei we know today – international political activist and champion of human rights – really took shape following his “citizens’ investigation” into the May 2008 Sichuan earthquake. By Fall 2012, his work had become a vehicle for his cause. Our exhibition Forge was an arrangement of twisted metal rebar pulled from the rubble of collapsed buildings. An interesting footnote is that the exhibition was up during Hurricane Sandy, and the rebar was briefly submerged in three feet of flood water. Weiwei liked that the work now bore witness to two natural disasters from opposite political and cultural sides of the earth.

 

 

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG, RON SPEAKS ABOUT THE CURRENT ART MARKET, THE ASIAN MARKET AND SOME OF THE FUTURE PLANS FOR THE GALLERY.  HE IS A WEALTH OF INFORMATION AND EXPERTISE. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE GALLERY OR ITS ARTISTS, FIRE AWAY.

THANKS TO THE READERS, NEW AND OLD SUBSCRIBERS, AND MOST OF ALL THE CONTRIBUTORS TO THE LRFA BLOG- YOUR LABOR-INTENSIVE INTERVIEWS AND GENEROSITY MAKE THE LRFA BLOG COME ALIVE!

An extraordinary track record: Mary Boone Gallery with Ron Warren

Peter Saul
“Fake News”

IN 2014 IN THE NEW YORK AREA, FOUR SUPERSTAR ARTISTS HAD MAJOR SHOWS AT LOCAL INSTITUTIONS—AI WEIWEI AT THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM, SIGMAR POLKE AT MOMA, JEFF KOONS AT THE WHITNEY, AND JULIAN SCHNABEL AT THE BRANT FOUNDATION. THE ONE COMMONALITY THAT LINKS THESE ARTISTS IS THE FACT THAT, AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER, ALL OF THEM HAVE BEEN REPRESENTED BY MARY BOONE. WHILE THERE ARE PLENTY OF BILLION-DOLLAR PLAYERS TODAY COMPETING FOR THE MANTLE OF THE PREMIERE NEW YORK GALLERIST, FOR MANY, THAT DISTINCTION GOES TO BOONE. SHE HAS, ALL AT ONCE, REVOLUTIONIZED THE ART WORLD, WEATHERED IT, CHALLENGED IT, SURVIVED IT, GIVEN NEW LIFE TO IT.

But it never occurred to me to show Jean-Michel because he was black or to show Barbara and Sherrie because they were women. I never thought it was the gallery’s responsibility to make this a fair and equitable world—you can’t do that. I just tried to show art that I liked, that I thought was powerful and strong.

Mary Boone

Mary Boone interviewed by Eric Fischl in INTERVIEW MAGAZINE, October 2014

TODAY, MARY BOONE GALLERY, IN TWO PRESTIGIOUS LOCATIONS IN NEW YORK, 745 FIFTH AVENUE ON 57th STREET AND 541 WEST 24th STREET IN CHELSEA, SHOWS A MIX OF ARTISTS LONG-ASSOCIATED WITH THE GALLERY SUCH AS ROSS BLECKNER, BARBARA KRUGER, AND FRANCESCO CLEMENTE, REPRESENTS INTERNATIONALLY ESTABLISHED ARTISTS SUCH AS AI WEIWEI, KAWS, AND JACOB HASHIMOTO, AND IS ALWAYS ON THE LOOKOUT FOR NEW TALENT. HER TRACK RECORD IS IMPECCABLE. IT IS REMARKABLE THAT ONE GALLERIST CONTINUES TO IDENTIFY THE MOST INTERESTING AND VITAL ARTISTS OF EACH GENERATION.

The Squibb Building
745 Fifth Avenue
New York City

TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG IS HONORED TO CONTINUE ITS DIALOGUE WITH RON WARREN, GALLERY PARTNER AND DIRECTOR, WHO WILL CONTINUE TO SHARE THE HISTORY OF THIS ACHIEVEMENT WITH US.

https://maryboonegallery.com/

When did the gallery move into its current space on Fifth and what prompted that decision?

We closed the gallery in SoHo and moved to midtown in Spring of 1996. A number of galleries had already left SoHo because of what was considered the commercialization (and resultant rising rents) of an area that had originally been in the 1970s a place where artists could inexpensively live and work. Already in 1996 Chelsea was an option – galleries were buying spaces there to avoid what had happened in SoHo. But at that moment for us there was not the right space available – we were leaving a spectacular sky-lit garage! – and so it was appealing to look at the historical nexus for contemporary galleries around 57 and Fifth. 745 Fifth Avenue, also known as the Squibb Building, is a quintessential Art Deco tower. It’s a great location, a lot of collectors live uptown and there is a concentration of hotels where international clients stay, plus we are four blocks from MoMA.

What were some of the exhibition highlights that stand out for you in the Fifth Avenue space?

Richard Artschwager
D.M.B.R.T.W. AND POTATO , 1997
Oil and celotex

An early show in the Fifth Avenue space (1997) was a series of paintings by Richard Artschwager of potatoes, a very banal subject but brilliant in Richard’s hands. In 1998 we began a regular series of curated group shows that broke from our usual format of nearly exclusively solo shows by gallery artists. These shows created lively juxtapositions and brought work by many artists new to us into the gallery, including Huma Bhabha, Louise Bourgeois, Thomas Demand, Douglas Gordon, Carol Bove, Tom Friedman, and Richard Prince. Our 2010 exhibition of Sherrie Levine’s cast glass Newborn sculptures displayed on four grand pianos is one of the most remarkable installations in the space. In 2013 we had a dazzling show of Peter Halley’s paintings hanging against floor to ceiling wallpaper by Alessandro Mendini, and later that year an exhibition of Peter Saul paintings from the 1960s and 1970s provided a great opportunity to see a range of his historical work.

Mary Boone Gallery,
Chelsea
Keith Sonnier light sculpture

When did the gallery add the Chelsea space as a second venue and what was the impetus for that?

After considerable renovation, we opened our second gallery space at 541 West 24 Street in November 2000. Like the gallery in SoHo, this space had been serving as a garage: ground floor, single-story building with a skylight, but with an even more dramatic, soaring trussed roof. Mary calls it the space she always wanted to build. By 2000 Chelsea had become much more established, and particularly 24 Street had a concentration of top galleries. Regaining a large, unbroken space open to the street gave us more flexibility to do large installations, and of course allowed us to double our exhibition program.

Sherri Levine
Newborn

Some of the outstanding historical shows that show the influence of a generation of master artists on the artists working today include Francis Picabia, Dan Flavin, Clyfford Still, and my favorite, as clients know, the Mirror Paintings by Roy Lichtenstein.  Please describe these exhibitions and in which ways they exerted such a strong influence on the current generation of artists.

All amazing exhibitions. Although I came to the gallery after the Picabia show (1983), I do remember how eye-opening that show was. Definitely before its time… did you know that show was thoroughly panned by the New York Times art critic? A direct legacy of that show is that over thirty years later MoMA mounted their extremely well-received Picabia retrospective. Clyfford Still (1990) was a show that at the time was considered impossible to do – Patricia Still was still living and enforcing the artist’s draconian regulations. Working with loans from Museums and private collections, we were able to put together what amounted to a small but comprehensive survey. Roy and Dan were still alive at the time of their shows so it was fascinating to see them engage with their own historical works. Besides the impact and importance of the works, my lasting impression of their shows was the way they were lit. The Roy Lichtenstein mirrors (1989) were spot-lit like icons, which in a sense they were. For our Dan Flavin show (1991) of his Monument (for V. Tatlin) works, we relied only on the light emitted from the works. The gallery had a highly polished terra cotta tile floor, and the reflection of the vertical fluorescent tubes gave the darkened space the aura of a sanctuary.

Roy Lichtenstein
Mirror Painting

IN OUR NEXT POST, RON WILL INFORM US OF SOME OF THE GREAT LEGENDARY ARTISTS THE GALLERY PRESENTLY REPRESENTS RANGING FROM AI WEIWEI, THE BRILLIANT CHINESE ACTIVIST AND ARTIST, TO BARBARA KRUGER, A QUINTESSENTIAL AMERICAN TEXT AND IMAGE PAINTER WHO AIMS HER KEEN VISUAL OBSERVATIONS ON AMERICANS’ PREOCCUPATIONS AND CONSUMERISM.

PLEASE JOIN US!

Shaping artists’ careers at the Mary Boone Gallery

David Salle
Sextant in Dogtown, 1987

Good art is timeless. It will assume a new relevance to each generation, and to yourself as you grow. It will connect to the past and feed the future. It has a simple and rigorous beauty that commands your gaze and thoughts whenever you look at it. The best work will break your heart. As a collector, you will know it when you see it. It’s personal. You will not have to be convinced by anyone to acquire it; it will be something you simply must have. It is like a good marriage that completes a feeling inside you, something that lasts forever and grows with time.

Robert Shimshak, Collector, Berkeley, CA

IN TODAY’S LRFA BLOG POST, RON WARREN, PARTNER AND DIRECTOR OF MARY BOONE GALLERY, SHARES HIS PROFESSIONAL HISTORY AND ADVANCEMENT IN A CONTEMPORARY GALLERY THAT NOT ONLY CONTINUES TO REMAIN CURRENT BUT ALSO HAS RECOGNIZED AND SUPPORTED MAJOR 20TH AND 21ST CENTURY ARTISTS EARLY IN THEIR CAREERS, AN ART FORM IN AND OF ITSELF.

Jeff Koons
New Hoover Deluxe Shampoo Polishers
1980-1986

RON, WELCOME BACK!

When did the gallery first open?  Where was it located and who did the gallery represent at that time?

When I moved to New York in 1980, there were not so many galleries as today; one could keep up. I made an effort to see all the shows at 420 West Broadway, where Mary had opened her first physical space in 1978. Her artists David Salle and Julian Schnabel were producing work that challenged the status quo, and the gallery was considered hot. I still have a strong impression of seeing Jeff Koons’s New Hoover Deluxe and (another time) a large and beautiful Ross Bleckner painting (Parlez-Vous Français, 1981).   

Ross Bleckner
The Arrangement of Things, 1982

What was the initial philosophy of the gallery and in what ways has that remained consistent and in what ways has it evolved?

Mary opened the gallery in her 20s by representing work of her generational peers, young artists who had the ability to affect culture. David, Julian, Ross Bleckner, Francesco Clemente, Barbara Kruger, have succeeded in changing not only the way we see, but also the way things look. Identifying artists with that quality has not changed, and that quality is not defined by age (Judith Barry, Ericka Beckman), although now, since the gallery has been around for forty years, often the artists are much younger. We have also been active in collaborating with younger galleries to give their artists wider visibility. 

Julian Schnabel
Hope, 1982

Many of the artists that you showed initially as emerging artists have gained international recognition: Richard Artschwager, Barbara Kruger, Richard Tuttle and Brice Marden to name just a few.  Are there certain criteria in the selection of an artist to represent. In what ways do the criteria apply to the entire roster of artists and how does it vary, person to person?

Barbara Kruger
You invest in the divinity of the masterpiece, 1982

The artists you mention were certainly much younger then, and living, but already each had arrived at their mature work. For some artists this comes fast and naturally, others may take decades. I would say we have never shown an artist who has not yet found their voice.

Are there certain guidelines to help an artist’s career develop so successfully?

It is important to keep the work out there – – which may mean showing in our space or in museum shows or with one of the many galleries we have a relationship with in another city. Commitment to an exhibition tends to help an artist not just to produce, but also to develop their work.

In our next LRFA post, Ron Warren will describe some of the gallery highlights since moving to the current gallery spaces on Fifth and 57th and in Chelsea on 24th Street.

Until then, thank you for reading!

The LRFA blog welcomes Ron Warren, director and partner at the Mary Boone Gallery,

Ron Warren
Partner and Director
Mary Boone Gallery

MARY BOONE GALLERY WAS FOUNDED OVER 40 YEARS AGO, IN 1977, IN A SMALL GROUND FLOOR SPACE IN SOHO. ALTHOUGH MODEST IN SIZE, 420 WEST BROADWAY WAS A BUILDING THAT HOUSES THE LEGENDARY LEO CASTELLI AND ILEANA SONNABEND GALLERIES. ALTHOUGH MODEST AT THE START, MARY BOONE HAS ALWAYS HAD A VISIONARY INSTINCT FOR THE RIGHT LOCATIONS AND THE RIGHT ARTISTS. THE GALLERY HAS ALWAYS BEEN COMMITTED TO SHOWING THE WORK OF INNOVATIVE YOUNG ARTISTS AND, AS THEIR CAREERS PROGRESSED, MORE ESTABLISHED ARTISTS AS WELL.

420 West Broadway
SoHo

TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG IS HONORED TO INTERVIEW RON WARREN, A DIRECTOR AND PARTNER AT MARY BOONE GALLERY.

RON, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR CONTRIBUTING TO THE BLOG.

Ellsworth Kelly
Red Yellow Blue V, 1968
Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN ART? WHAT WAS YOUR EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND THAT LED YOU INTO THIS FIELD?

My family was more about science, music, and books, so I wonder myself what brought me to art. I went to a small private, and very conservative, liberal arts college in the Mid-West and, like most people I know who ended up in the art business, took some studio classes along with art history. I did have one art history professor that I liked very much, a French former nun, very reserved and proper yet passionate about her subject, who organized trips to far-flung museums. On one of these trips I remember standing at the Hirshhorn before an Ellsworth Kelly – a series of monochrome panels – and feeling that this was something very exciting, even though classmates whose opinions I respected dismissed the work.

Leo Castelli Gallery
Jasper Johns exhibition

November of Senior year, my roommate bet that I had enough credits to graduate in December. We sat down and calculated… and he was right. So I made a fast plan to enter the “real” world. I was doing an Independent Study with the Ohio Historical Society, and my supervisor was a photographer who kept a loft in New York, in SoHo. She suggested I go to New York and sublet her place. I arrived in January 1980, which seemed very auspicious – new year, new decade. This was a time when SoHo, and the city, was on the brink of enormous change. And with the new galleries right in my neighborhood, for the first time I began to look at contemporary art.

Brice Marden
Work on paper

WHEN DID YOU START AT MARY BOONE AND HOW DID YOU EVOLVE INTO A DIRECTOR AND PARTNER OF  THE GALLERY?

I started in 1985. The Gallery had recently taken on representation of Brice Marden, so there had been an influx of twenty-plus years of slides and black and white photos into the archive, and all the while new works were being inventoried, photographed, and added. I kept everything organized. In those days every label had to be hand-typed. We were continually sending out photographs to collectors and for press, and continually asking to get them back – inconceivable now. Over time one comes to know an artist and their work very well and becomes dedicated to them and the gallery.

Brice Marden
Oil on canvas

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, RON WILL INFORM US OF THE IMPRESSIVE ARCH OF HISTORY AND GROWTH OF THE GALLERY. BY TRACKING THE ARTISTS REPRESENTED BY MARY BOONE, WE HAVE A BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF THE ART WORLD AT THE TIME.

PLEASE JOIN US!