Luhring Augustine’s Lauren Wittels on the gallery’s future plans and the future of the art market
LUHRING AUGUSTINE GALLERY HAS AN EXTRAORDINARY CURATORIAL HISTORY. IT HAS PROVIDED THE PUBLIC WITH MUSEUM QUALITY OVERVIEWS OF ARTISTS WHO HAVE GREATLY CONTRIBUTED TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF 20th AND 21st CENTURY ART AND WHO HAVE PROVIDED AN ENORMOUS INSPIRATIONAL SPRINGBOARD FOR THOSE WORKING TODAY. SOLO EXHIBITIONS ACCOMPANIED BY SCHOLARLY CATALOGUES INCLUDE MARCEL DUCHAMP, GERHARD RICHTER, MARTIN KIPPENBERGER, AND MOST RECENTLY MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO. THESE EXHIBITIONS SET A HIGH STANDARD FOR THE CURRENT GALLERY PROGRAM THAT IS REFLECTED IN THE UNIQUE VISION AND CREATIVE INTENSITY OF THE ARTISTS THE GALLERY REPRESENTS TODAY.
THIS MONTH’S GALLERY NEWSLETTER SERVES TO CONVEY THE SCALE AND SCOPE OF CURRENT INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITIONS OF LUHRING AUGUSTINE ARTISTS. TO NAME A FEW, GUIDO VAN DER WERVE’S “CULTURAL CARTOGRAPHIES: MAPPING” OPENS IN DECEMBER AT THE UTAH MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, JANET CARDIFF AND GEORGE BURES MILLER AT ARoS AARHUS KUNSTMUSEUM IN DENMARK, AND THE ICELANDIC ARTIST RAGNAR KJARTANNSSON’S “S.S. HANGOVER”, SHOWN AT THE 55th VENICE BIENNALE, WILL ‘NAVIGATE THE WATERS’ OF THE HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN LATER THIS MONTH.
ONE OF THE MOST DEDICATED AND IMPASSIONED GALLERISTS WITH WHOM I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF WORKING IS LAUREN WITTELS, SENIOR DIRECTOR AT LUHRING AUGUSTINE. TODAY LAUREN WILL INFORM US OF THE GALLERY’S CURRENT AND FUTURE PLANS.
LAUREN, WELCOME BACK! WHO ARE SOME OF THE ARTISTS THAT ARE RELATIVELY NEW TO THE GALLERY? WHAT IS IT THAT EXCITES YOU ABOUT THEIR WORK? DO YOU SEE A CONTINUUM OF AESTHETIC SENSIBILITY BETWEEN SOME OF THE MORE ESTABLISHED ARTISTS THAT THE GALLERY REPRESENTS AND THE YOUNGER ONES AND, IF SO, IN WHAT WAYS?
THE ART WORLD, THE WHOLE WORLD, HAS BEEN GLOBALIZED. IN WHAT WAYS HAS IT AFFECTED THE BUSINESS OF THE GALLERY? DO YOU EXHIBIT IN MORE INTERNATIONAL FAIRS, IN ASIA FOR EXAMPLE, OR THE MIDDLE EAST?
Since I started in the art world in 1989, the expansion is head-spinning –in terms of scope, geography, and sheer numbers. This is a much bigger question than can be addressed here, but yes, the globalization is astounding and exists in a number of different forms: our clients are far more global; the art fair proliferation carries inventory to all corners of the world; the international Biennial phenomenon – the countless biennials in practically every country and continent. It’s unbelievable how big the art world’s footprint is today.
It also has to be acknowledged that the technology developments since I started working here in 1989 have made this all possible. When I first started, you would shoot the show after the opening; slides and transparencies would come in a week’s time; then you would mail out offers. People would call you and say they were interested in a piece and they would be in New York in three weeks, and you would reserve that work for them. These days, works are digitally shot and instantly emailed all over the world; clients now often make decisions about purchases from digital images alone. Sales happen in a tiny fraction of the time it used to take.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HONORS AND EXHIBITION EVENTS THAT THE GALLERY ANTICIPATES FOR ITS ROSTER OF ARTISTS IN THE SEASON AHEAD? WHAT EXHIBITIONS CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO AT THE GALLERY ITSELF?
In September we gave Roger Hiorns his first solo exhibition in New York; he has shown all over Europe and in Los Angeles before, but we are honored to be able to introduce him to a New York audience. That will be followed by a solo show by Zarina Hashmi, her first exhibition since her touring retrospective, Paper Like Skin.
THE GALLERY HAS ACQUIRED AN EXHIBITION SPACE IN BUSHWICK, BROOKLYN. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE LARGE-SCALED INSTALLATIONS AND PROJECTS SCHEDULED THERE?
Bushwick is unbelievably exciting. We opened in February 2012 with a show of new work by Charles Atlas, the perfect person to show in a neighborhood full of artists – he has a cult following for sure. Most recently, we just closed a show of Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Minus Objects from the mid-1960s, an exhibition that was unanimously hailed as being museum-quality in every way (the catalogue will be out in 2015). September will see a large-scale video projection by Ragnar Kjartansson, and then Philip Taaffe will show monumentally-sized paintings in January 2015.
HOW DO YOU PROJECT THE FUTURE OF THE GALLERY AS THE WORLD HAS OPENED ITSELF TO THE ENORMITY OF INFLUENCES FROM OTHER CULTURES AND REGIONS? WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE INCLUDED AT LUHRING AUGUSTINE IN THE YEARS AHEAD?
Luhring Augustine has always been involved with an international roster of artists, and I am sure this will continue in the future. As for what I’d like to see included in the years ahead, I would love to see the gallery foster another generation of younger, less established artists. That mix of the new with their predecessors, and the connections that cross between them, always makes for a rich and developed program.
IN THE NEXT LRFA BLOG, I HAVE THE PRIVILEGE TO INTRODUCE ELLEN WINNER, PROFESSOR AND CHAIR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY AT BOSTON COLLEGE AND DIRECTOR OF THE ARTS AND MIND LAB DEDICATED TO BRINGING THE STUDY OF THE ARTS INTO THE MAINSTREAM OF PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH. ELLEN IS ALSO AN ON-GOING SENIOR RESEARCH ASSOCIATE ON PROJECT ZERO AT THE HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION.
I HAD THE PLEASURE OF SITTING NEXT TO ELLEN AT THE ANNUAL BENEFACTOR’S LUNCH AT THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART LAST SPRING AND THE TIME FLEW! HER STUDY AND INSIGHT INTO OUR PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS ABOUT ART AND OUR PERCEPTION OF AESTHETIC ENDEAVORS FASCINATED ME AND I AM DELIGHTED THAT SHE HAS AGREED TO POST AN EXAMPLE OF HER RESEARCH ON THE LRFA BLOG, A PAPER ON DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN WORKS BY ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISTS AND “SUPERFICIALLY SIMILAR” ONES BY PRESCHOOLERS, CHIMPS AND ELEPHANTS” PROVIDING INSIGHT INTO “SEEING THE MIND BEHIND THE ART”.
UNTIL THEN, THANKS FOR READING!