A unique position in gallery management with Kristen Becker of Marianne Boesky Gallery
BOTH THE NON-PROFIT AND COMMERCIAL SPACES IN THE CONTEMPORARY ART WORLD SHARE MANY COMMON GOALS: BOTH ARE ON A MISSION TO CURATE EXHIBITIONS OF QUALITY AND CRITICAL SIGNIFICANCE THAT DRAW ATTENTION AND SUPPORT OF THE ARTIST’S WORK, TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC AND TO ACT AS A CULTURAL RESOURCE FOR THE VISUAL ARTS. THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NON-PROFIT AND FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS IS OBVIOUS. A COMMERCIAL GALLERY DERIVES ITS CONTINUITY AND EXPANSION FROM SALES REVENUE, THE LIFE BLOOD OF ANY BUSINESS, WHILE NON-PROFIT MUSEUMS AND EXHIBITION SPACES RELY ON GRANTS, DONORS AND VOLUNTEERS. KRISTEN BECKER EMBRACES THE COMMUNALITY OF INTEREST BETWEEN THE TWO IN HER UNIQUE POSITION IN MUSEUM ENGAGEMENT AT MARIANNE BOESKY GALLERY.
KRISTEN, WHEN DID YOU JOIN MARIANNE BOESKY AND WHAT PROMPTED YOUR DECISION?
In March of 2014 I went on a trip to Marfa, TX with my friend Ricky Manne who is a director at Marianne Boesky Gallery. He and I had discussed doing a bit of a road trip to the art mecca, and while we were there I mentioned to him how I wanted to find a way of incorporating my Museum Studies background (which focused on non-profit administration) with my existing career in the commercial gallery world. At Luhring Augustine I had initiated a few trips to smaller museums that perhaps didn’t have the travel budget to come to New York often. I visited these institutions, saw the exhibition spaces, met with the curators, listened to programming ideas, and was able to make some interesting headway in terms of placing wonderful artworks in their collections and getting some of the less visible gallery artists some exposure. It was a win-win-win! I wanted to find a way to have that mutually beneficial pursuit become a larger part of my job, and Ricky suggested I sit down with Marianne to find out whether she’d be interested in having me on staff in this rather unorthodox position.
MARIANNE HAS ALWAYS HAD AN EXTREMELY ACUTE ABILITY TO RECOGNIZE SIGNIFICANT TALENT IN EMERGING ARTISTS. WHO ARE SOME OF THE LUMINARIES THAT BEGAN THEIR CAREERS AT THE GALLERY?
Marianne is quite well-known for being instrumental in the careers of Sarah Sze and Lisa Yuskavage as well as Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami. With Nara and Murakami she truly opened the door to a new aesthetic world by giving those artists exposure in the U.S. and encouraging collectors to see the value in this rich perspective. http://www.marianneboeskygallery.com/
There are always periods of growth and the early 2000s was a great time period for us – we continue to represent a number of artists who have a long history with the gallery.
Barnaby Furnas opened his sixth exhibition at the gallery on September 10th, Donald Moffett will have a fifth solo show this spring at both our Chelsea and Lower East Side locations, and Rachel Feinstein has shown with us for almost fifteen years.
Around 2008 we added to the program again with artists like Jay Heikes and Anthony Pearson, and I love being involved with a gallery history that is consistent but also progressive.
WHO ARE SOME OF THE EMERGING ARTISTS THAT THE GALLERY HAS RECENTLY ACCEPTED AND WHAT ARE THE PROJECTS IN WHICH THEY ARE INVOLVED?
Dean Levin joined the gallery a year and a half ago and I am enjoying watching his practice evolve. He has a background in architecture and became known for creating these incredibly seductive convex paintings- they speak to an American history of painting while also giving visual winks and nods to the artist’s hand and its inherently beautiful flaws.
Serge Alain Nitegeka is another artist whose work is incredibly physical and quite architectural in nature. His paintings, sculptures, and installations stem from a personal history of forced migration. Transgressing borders, crossing lines, and negotiating spaces all play a significant role in how he approaches the studio. He just had a solo exhibition at the Savannah College of Art and Design and is currently included in the South African pavilion in the 56th Venice Biennale. We will have a solo show of new work in Chelsea in March of this year.
WHOSE WORK, IN THE CONTEXT OF THE NEWER ROSTER IN THE GALLERY, PARTICULARLY RESONATES WITH YOU AND WHY?
Julia Dault’s show this past February serves as a highlight for me as I was a big fan of her work before being hired by Marianne. One of my first weeks at the gallery I put together a small internal reference publication of her show at the Power Plant, a fantastic contemporary art museum in Toronto (the show later traveled to the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver). Julia’s work is textural in so many ways and studying the install shots and understanding the layers of each piece built my enthusiasm even more. That show was incredible in terms of layout, install, and pacing- there was so much kinetic energy.
THE GALLERY HAS TWO ADDITIONAL SPACES, EACH WITH A DISTINCT CHARACTER AND PURPOSE OF ITS OWN, ONE UPTOWN DEDICATED TO EXHIBITIONS THAT PROVIDE AN HISTORICAL CONTEXT FOR THE GALLERY ROSTER OF ARTISTS AND A NEW LOCATION ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE FOR PROJECTS, INSTALLATIONS AND CUTTING-EDGE EXHIBITIONS.
IN THE NEXT LRFA BLOG, KRISTEN WILL DETAIL THE HISTORY AND DIRECTION OF BOESKY UPTOWN AND BOESKY EAST.
LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS!