Kim Schmidt, Director of Sales at Ryan Lee, introduces the gallery’s expansion
RYAN LEE GALLERY WAS ESTABLISHED IN 2013 AS A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN MARY RYAN, A SEASONED GALLERIST AND PRINT EXPERT, AND JEFFREY LEE TO EXHIBIT AN INTERNATIONAL ROSTER OF BOTH ESTABLISHED AND EMERGING ARTISTS AND TO PROVIDE A PLATFORM FOR THE FIRST NEW YORK EXHIBITIONS OF THEIR WORK. RECENTLY RELOCATED TO A NEW SPACE IN CHELSEA AND DOUBLING ITS SIZE, RYAN LEE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO ADD A UNIQUE EXHIBITION SPACE, RL WINDOW, VISIBLE FROM THE HIGH LINE, THAT FEATURES VIDEO, INSTALLATION AND PERFORMANCE WORKS. THE GALLERY IS A WELL-DESIGNED AND MULTI-DIMENSIONAL VENUE, LOCATED AT 515 WEST 26th STREET, IN CHELSEA. http://ryanleegallery.com
LAST YEAR, KIM SCHMIDT JOINED THEIR TEAM. KIM CONTRIBUTES HER EXTENSIVE EXHIBITION, ART FAIR AND GALLERY EXPERIENCE IN THE GALLERY WORLD AS DIRECTOR OF SALES. KIM, A COLLEAGUE AND FRIEND, WAS A FORMER DIRECTOR AT AND HEAD OF THE PRINT DEPARTMENT AT MARLBOROUGH GALLERY FOR NEARLY TWO DECADES. I WAS DELIGHTED TO LEARN ABOUT HER MOVE, A BIG DECISION AFTER NEARLY 20 YEARS AT MARLBOROUGH, AND EQUALLY PLEASED THAT KIM AGREED TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE LRFA BLOG.
KIM, WHAT INSPIRED YOUR ORIGINAL INTEREST IN ART?
I grew up in NYC and was always going to galleries and museums as a kid. I loved it, and was passionate about art, museums, and especially photography. My parents were very into the arts, and collected a bit…..and slowly over the years built a small collection. I loved witnessing that. Much of that is now with me and my sisters, and a lot of it is really great by my obviously more discriminating standards of today!
I remember as a kid growing up in the city, hanging out at Rizzoli bookstore and browsing art books and learning about artists that I knew and that I didn’t. My dad gave me books on Irving Penn – Worlds in a Small Room – and Cartier Bresson – The Decisive Moment – when I was young – I still have them. I think I knew then that I was going to get into the arts. We built a darkroom at home, and I was sort of obsessed with photography. I read and looked at everything I could, became patiently proficient in black and white printing, taking classes at ICP and continuing in high school and college, and with that came the deep love of photography that I still have today.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK IN THE GALLERY WORLD? WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND AND PROFESSIONAL HISTORY?
I spent my freshman and sophomore years of college in Europe, traveling and studying art history and architecture. Then I went to Georgetown which had a small but strong Art History department, and free museums which I could not get over. I spent a lot of time on the mall. During college, I returned home every summer and interned at galleries. I loved it! I worked my butt off, and knew this is what I would do.
My last semester at Georgetown was spent doing my thesis and knowing I would come back to NY and work in a gallery. The Art history background was wonderful, but it was being in the space, working with the clients, getting to know the artists and the relationships that I was building even then that was crucial. It was a really easy transition for me, a very organic process graduating from school and starting work. The practical experience was so valuable.
MARLBOROUGH HAS ALWAYS HAD A VERY STRONG GRAPHICS DEPARTMENT, PUBLISHING EDITIONS OF BOTH GALLERY AND NON-GALLERY ARTISTS IN A DIVERSE RANGE OF MEDIUMS. I ALWAYS ASSOCIATE THE MARY RYAN GALLERY AS WELL AS A STRONGHOLD FOR BOTH POST-WAR AND CONTEMPORARY PRINTS BY AMERICAN CONTEMPORARY MASTERS WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED SO MUCH INNOVATION TO THE LANGUAGE OF PRINTMAKING SUCH AS JASPER JOHNS, RICHARD DIEBENKORN AND DAVID HOCKNEY AND GREAT 20th CENTURY BRITISH AND AMERICAN PRINTMAKERS SUCH AS STANLEY WILLIAM HAYTER AND BLANCHE LAZZELL.
DID YOU BRING A KNOWLEDGE OF PRINTMAKING TO YOUR JOB WHEN YOU JOINED MARLBOROUGH GALLERY?
Before joining Marlborough I was with Crown Point Press, a print publisher based in SF. We had a wonderful 3,000 square foot space in Soho, and I was there at the height of a great print market. I loved it, learned so much and got to work with some of the best: John Cage, Richard Diebenkorn, Thiebaud, Ruscha, Clemente, and at that point I started collecting on a small scale. Kathan Brown, the owner of Crown Point was so supportive of this, and I still have most of the many wonderful things that I acquired during my years there. I still keep in touch with so many clients, colleagues and friends that I worked with then, many of whom are still collecting today. Many of whom come to me today to sell and to buy as their tastes or finances change. It was the perfect place to begin a career in the arts, and my love for prints continues to grow.
IN THE NEXT LRFA POST, KIM WILL SHARE HER EXTENSIVE EXPERTISE ON PRINTMAKING AND ITS MARKET. KIM IS ENTHUSIASTIC AND KNOWLEDGEABLE. PLEASE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HER PRESENCE ON THE LRFA BLOG – WE WELCOME QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS.
THANKS FOR READING!