Paula Cooper’s Alexis Johnson: the current generation
IN TODAY’S COMPLEX GLOBAL ART MARKET, IT IS PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT TO IDENTIFY AND SEEK OUT EXPERT GUIDES WELL VERSED IN NAVIGATING THIS MULTI-FACETED TERRAIN: ADVISORS, AUCTION SPECIALISTS AND GALLERISTS OF DISCERNING VISION AND SOUND JUDGMENT. OUR 2.0 TECHNOLOGY OFFERS BOTH PHENOMENAL ACCESS TO CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS, GALLERY EXHIBITIONS, ONLINE AUCTIONS AND FAIRS AND A POTENTIAL MINE FIELD. IN AN ARTICLE ON THE POWER OF INSTAGRAM IN THE ART MARKET PUBLISHED ON AUGUST 7th IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES, RESEARCH DOCUMENTS THAT “FOR MANY ARTISTS, COLLECTORS AND GALLERIES, THE PHOTO-SHARING PLATFORM IS BECOMING THE FORUM OF CHOICE ACROSS THE ART WORLD.” THE REPORT FOUND THAT 74 PER CENT OF NEW ART BUYERS CONFIRMED THAT SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS OF OTHER COLLECTORS HAD INFLUENCED THEIR PURCHASES. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/8f3b56e8-3b60-11e5-bbd1-b37bc06f590c.html
ALEXIS JOHNSON, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR AT PAULA COOPER GALLERY, LOCATED AT 521 WEST 21st STREET AND 534 WEST 21st IN CHELSEA, IS EXEMPLARY IN HER ENGAGEMENT WITH ARTISTS WHO SERIOUSLY CONTRIBUTE TO THE VISUAL AND INTELLECTUAL DIRECTION OF TODAY’S ART WORLD. THE MINIMALIST ARTISTS SUCH AS CARL ANDRE, SOL LEWITT, AND DONALD JUDD FIRST SUPPORTED BY THE PAULA COOPER GALLERY HAVE SET A HIGH STANDARD FOR THE AESTHETIC AND QUALITY OF THE GALLERY’S CURRENT GENERATION.
ALEXIS, TO CONTINUE… WHAT ARE YOUR CURRENT RESPONSIBILITIES? DO YOU HAVE A GROUP OF GALLERY ARTISTS FOR WHICH YOU ARE SPECIFICALLY RESPONSIBLE OR DOES THE ENTIRE GALLERY TEAM WORK WITH ALL THE ARTISTS THAT THE GALLERY REPRESENTS?
The artists are divided between the three directors. I work with about seven artists. We try to facilitate all aspects of the artists’ careers – organizing gallery and museum exhibitions, sales, commission projects, etc.
I AM A GREAT FAN OF THE WORK OF KELLEY WALKER. WHEN HE FIRST ARRIVED IN NEW YORK, KELLEY WORKED FOR AN ART TRANSPORT FIRM THAT INSTALLED FOR MY CLIENTS. OCCASIONALLY I WOULD HITCH A RIDE IN THEIR TRUCK AND PUMP KELLEY FOR AN INSIDER’S VIEW INTO THE ART SCENE, ARTISTS HE ADMIRED, SHOWS HE RECOMMENDED. I REMEMBER HIS FIRST EXHIBIT IN A SMALL SPACE IN A GALLERY BUILDING ON 29th STREET, AN INTRIGUING INSTALLATION USING A DRY CLEANING RACK THAT SNAKED ITS WAY THROUGH THE GALLERY’S SMALL ROOMS. I ADMIRED HIS CREATIVE SPIRIT AND FIERCE FOCUS AT THE TIME SO I AM PARTICULARLY DELIGHTED TO SEE HIS CURRENT INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS.
Created between 2013-14, Walker’s large canvases of powdery silkscreened bricks are lined and separated with fragments of pages from the Italian architecture and design magazine Domus. The artist began making his brick paintings in 2005, first entirely in silkscreen and later adding collaged printed material. Walker begins by scanning individual bricks, which he then arranges into a stacked alignment and silkscreens using a four-color process. According to the artist, “I print the silkscreens on canvas with uneven, uncalibrated hand pressure. This results in a mostly off-color photographic image, with infinite unseen variations.”
The exhibition, then, creates a methodical timeline that spans the entire year of 2012, where each painting acts as an indexical temporal marker and a self-referential brick wall. Walker observed, “I think of the canvas as having a mimetic relationship not only to the wall the work might be displayed on, but also to the structure of the bricks and cinder blocks in the urban cityscape of New York. Outside my studio window, I see various ways these building materials are used – structurally as well as decoratively, stacked both horizontally and vertically.”
WHAT IS THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS WHEN APPROACHING AN ARTIST TO REPRESENT THEIR WORK? DO YOU INTRODUCE THE WORK IN A GROUP SUMMER EXHIBITION OR OFFER THEM A SOLO SHOW OR IS IT UNIQUE TO EACH ARTIST?
The decision-making process regarding new artists is slow and well-considered and it is unique to each artist.
WHAT ARE THE VARIOUS ASPECTS UNDER CONSIDERATION IN TERMS OF PUBLICITY, EXHIBITIONS AND EXPOSURE TO COLLECTORS AND MUSEUM CURATORS THAT YOU UNDERTAKE TO SUPPORT A NEWER ARTIST’S WORK?
I think the best way to support a newer artist’s work is to show it as much as possible in one-person and group exhibitions, studio visits with curators, art fairs, etc. Although it is important to make sure it is being placed in the right context, the more opportunities for it to be seen the better.
THERE ARE SEVERAL CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS THAT ARE GARNERING ENORMOUS ATTENTION IN THE CURRENT ART MARKET. ONE THAT COMES TO MIND IS TAUBA AUERBACH. PLEASE TELL US ABOUT HER HISTORY AT THE GALLERY, WHEN YOU FIRST CAME TO REPRESENT HER, HER EXHIBITION HISTORY AND FUTURE EXHIBITIONS.
San Francisco-born, New York-based artist Tauba Auerbach has described her work as an attempt to reveal “new spectral and dimensional richness…both within and beyond the limits of perception.” Engaging a variety of media, ranging from painting and photography to book design and musical performance, Auerbach explores the limits of our structures and systems of logic (linguistic, mathematical, spatial) and the points at which they break down and open up onto new visual and poetic possibilities.
In her acclaimed series of Fold paintings, first introduced in 2009, Auerbach presented powdery trompe l’oeil surfaces that register the traces of their former three-dimensionality. Painted with an industrial sprayer, the works draw attention to the physical properties of pigment imitating light. Alongside new Fold paintings, this exhibition included a new series of Weave paintings, presented for the first time in the United States. As with folding, Auerbach uses weaving to reassess and thoroughly transform the flat picture plane. Elusive topographies emerge from the monochromatic works, bringing the viewer into a subtly shifting world of ruptures and continuities, reliefs and recesses.
We started working with Tauba at the end of 2010. In 2011, she had a one-person exhibition, Tetrachromat, at the Bergen Kunsthall, Norway that traveled to Malmö Konsthall, Sweden and Wiels Contemporary Center, Brussels. Float her one-person show here at the gallery was in May 2013. She is currently in a two-person exhibition with Charlotte Posenenske at Indipendenza Studio, Rome from April 23, 2015 – July 11, 2015.
We will have a show of new work by Tauba in October, 2015.
LRFA: concurrent with a group exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Bonn entitled TELE-Genic The Language of Television as Reflected in Art 1964–2015 from October 1–January 17, 2016.)
Kunst und Fernsehen
01.10.2015 – 17.01.2016
The early 1960s were crucial for the development of TV into the first visual mass medium while at the same time they were the prelude of the artistic and theoretical discussion of television, before video art even existed. The “TV tube” was dealt with as a sculptural object (Günther Uecker, César), the TV picture was manipulated and deconstructed (Nam June Paik, Wolf Vostell) and served as a picture generator for drawings, paintings and graphic prints (K.O. Götz, Lawrence Weiner, Paul Thek, Andy Warhol) or as a motive for photography and film (Lee Friedlander, Bruce Conner, Dennis Hopper).
Based on TV’s years of birth 1963/64, the exhibition builds a bridge to the present. The split-up of the once monolithic medium is reflected in painting, drawing, installation, photography and video art as the cross-genre discussion of the “televisual.”
WHEN A RELATIVELY YOUNG ARTIST GAINS A GREAT DEAL OF RECOGNITION NOT ONLY CRITICALLY BUT ALSO COMMERCIALLY, HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE PRICING STRUCTURE OF NEW WORKS?
There is clearly much speculation happening in today’s market in particular with younger artists. To that end, I think one must treat with the pricing of a younger artist with a degree of caution.
IN THE NEXT LRFA BLOG, ALEXIS WILL INFORM US ABOUT SOME OF THE OTHER TERRIFIC ARTISTS WITH WHOM SHE WORKS AT PAULA COOPER.