Lehmann Maupin: past and present with gallery partner Carla Camacho
GALLERIES ARE ALWAYS A REFLECTION OF THE EYE, PHILOSOPHY, AESTHETIC AND BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE OF THEIR FOUNDERS. WHETHER A GALLERY WORKS DILIGENTLY TO SUPPORT NEW ARTISTS IN EXPANDING AND ENHANCING BOTH THEIR CREATIVE ENDEAVORS AND PROFESSIONAL SCOPE OR FOCUSES ON SUPPORTING ARTISTS WHO ENJOY A STRONG AND ESTABLISHED REPUTATION EITHER IN THE PRIMARY OR SECONDARY MARKET OR BOTH, EVERY GALLERY SEEKS TO BROADEN ITS CULTURAL IMPACT AND OFTEN ITS PHYSICAL FOOTPRINT. LEHMANN MAUPIN, FOUNDED IN 1996, IS EXEMPLARY IN ITS EXPANSION SINCE ITS INCEPTION ON MANY OF THESE FRONTS. THE GALLERY HAS GIVEN SOME OF CONTEMPORARY ART’S MOST HIGHLY RESPECTED ARTISTS SUCH AS SHIRAZEH HOUSHIARY AND ANYA GALLACCIO THEIR FIRST NEW YORK EXHIBITIONS, INTRODUCED THEN EMERGING TALENTS SUCH AS MICKALENE THOMAS AND HERNAN BAS, AND CONTINUALLY ORGANIZES IMPORTANT SOLO EXHIBITIONS FOR THEIR ARTISTS IN BOTH GALLERY VENUES AND AT INTERNATIONAL ART FAIRS. THE GALLERY HAS ALSO EXPANDED ITS PHYSICAL PRESENCE TO INCLUDE TWO IMPRESSIVE SPACES IN NEW YORK AND ONE IN HONG KONG.
I WELCOME GALLERY PARTNER CARLA CAMACHO’S CONTINUED CONTRIBUTION TO THE LRFA BLOG. IN TODAY’S POSTING, CARLA SHARES THE DETAILS OF THE HISTORY OF LEHMANN MAUPIN, A PIONEER IN THE WORLD OF CONTEMPORARY ART, AND ITS CURRENT STRUCTURE TODAY.
CARLA, WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF THE GALLERY? I KNOW IT WAS FORMED OVER TWENTY YEARS AGO AS A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN RACHEL LEHMANN AND DAVID MAUPIN. WHAT IS THEIR HISTORY AND WHAT LEAD TO THEIR DECISION TO OPEN?
Rachel and David had known each other for a long time. Rachel had a gallery in Switzerland and David had worked in Europe. While David was the Director of Metro Pictures he teamed up with Rachel, Helene Weiner and Janelle Reiring to form OFFSHORE GALLERY in the Hamptons. David and Rachel got to know each other very well in those long summer days and they decided to form Lehmann Maupin, opening in 1996.
WHERE WAS THE GALLERY ORIGINALLY AND WHAT ARTISTS DID IT REPRESENT?
The first gallery was on Greene Street in SoHo. The space was designed by Rem Koolhaas and was his first job in America. Many of the core artists in our roster started there like Tracey Emin and Do Ho Suh.
WHEN DID THE GALLERY MOVE TO CHELSEA AND HOW HAS THAT AFFECTED THE GALLERY’S CHARACTER AND DIRECTION?
The gallery moved in 2000 to Chelsea like many others and continues to keep the artists as the focus.
THE GALLERY ALSO HAS A SPACE ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE. WHAT PROMPTED THAT EXPANSION AND DOES THE EXHIBITION ROSTER DIFFER FROM THAT IN CHELSEA?
As the artists were having shows every couple of years we realized that it would be interesting to give them a different type of space to work with. The gallery on Chrystie Street is a beautiful space with double height ceilings and skylights. It was an old glass factory and we kept most of the original details. The artists have loved showing there and have really done thoughtful shows for that particular setting.
HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE THE ARTISTS THAT YOU REPRESENT? ARE THEY PRIMARILY ARTISTS WITH AN ESTABLISHED REPUTATION, ARTISTS WHO ARE EMERGING OR A MIX OF BOTH?
Most of the artists we show are established, but started with us as emerging. Recently we have taken on some younger talent like Angel Otero and Alex Prager who we expect will have long careers and join the ranks of the others!
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DECISION MAKING FACTORS IN ADDING AN ARTIST TO THE GALLERY ROSTER? HOW DO YOU SEEK OUT NEW ARTISTS OR ARE THEY PRIMARILY RECOMMENDED TO YOU AND, IF SO, BY WHOM?
We are constantly looking at art and artists at biennials, art fairs, gallery and museum exhibitions around the world. When an artist becomes of interest we do a lot of research and have long conversations to make considered decisions about representation.
YOU PERSONALLY WERE INSTRUMENTAL IN BRINGING ANGEL OTERO’S WORK INTO THE GALLERY? WHAT WAS YOUR DECISION-MAKING PROCESS? HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE HIS WORK AND HOW DOES IT RELATE, IF IT DOES, TO OTHER GALLERY ARTISTS? It was a magical moment when I saw Angel Otero in his studio. It was absolutely fresh and I saw so much potential. I knew that we needed to act quickly so I brought Rachel and she immediately offered him the opportunity to show with us at the Armory Show….2 months later! I think Angel absolutely fits in our gallery because he deals with memory and home and many of our artists relate to identity issues based on where they come from.
HONG KONG’S CASH RICH ART SCENE FEATURES MAJOR INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS SUCH AS WHITE CUBE AND GAGOSIAN BUT IS ALSO THE NEW HOME OF MANY LONDON AND NEW YORK BASED ESTABLISHED CONTEMPORARY GALLERIES THAT CHALLENGE THE STATUS QUO, INTRODUCING INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY ART NOT ONLY TO THE INTERNATIONAL CITY OF HONG KONG BUT ALSO TO ITS MANY AFFLUENT VISITORS FROM MAINLAND CHINA AND TO ALL OF ASIA.
THE NEXT LRFA BLOG WILL FEATURE CARLA CAMACHO’S INFORMED AND EXPERT KNOWLEDGE OF THAT MARKET IN GENERAL AND LEHMANN MAUPIN’S HONG KONG GALLERY IN PARTICULAR.