A very warm welcome to David Zwirner Gallery’s Veronique Ansorge and Greg Lulay
IN JANUARY 2018, DAVID ZWIRNER GALLERY CELEBRATED ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY. WITH AN IMPECCABLE ROSTER OF LIVING ARTISTS AND ARTISTS’ ESTATES AND A GLOBAL NETWORK OF GALLERIES IN NEW YORK, LONDON, PARIS, AND HONG KONG, DAVID ZWIRNER HAS ALWAYS BEEN A VISIONARY DEALER. INITIALLY, HE OPENED A RELATIVELY SMALL SPACE AT 43 GREENE STREET IN THE SOHO DISTRICT OF NEW YORK. MANY LOCATIONS LATER, MUCH EXPANSION AND AN INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE AS ONE OF THE VERY TOP LEADING GALLERIES WORLDWIDE, THE ONE CONSISTENT THREAD THROUGHOUT THE NOW TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS IS DAVID ZWIRNER’S COMMITMENT TO SHOWING CHALLENGING, THOUGHTFUL, MEANINGFUL WORKS OF ART WITHOUT COMPROMISE.
FROM GREENE STREET TO CHELSEA IN NEW YORK TO THE UPPER EAST SIDE OF MANHATTAN, FROM LONDON TO HONG KONG WITH A MUCH-ANTICIPATED EXPANSION IN CHELSEA UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF ARCHITECT EXTRAORDINAIRE, ANNABELLE SELLDORF, ZWIRNER HAS CREATED AN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY OF DEDICATED STAFF, COMMITTED COLLECTORS, CURATORS AND SUPPORTERS. THE GALLERY’S COMMITMENT TO ITS ARTISTS AND TO THE INTEGRITY OF THEIR WORK SET A STANDARD WHEN THE GALLERY FIRST OPENED THAT HAS CONTINUED TO THIS DAY. MANY OF THE ARTISTS IN AN EXHIBITION, FIVE YEARS, 1993-1998, COMMEMORATING THE GALLERY’S FIRST FIVE YEARS ON GREENE STREET, CONTINUE TO BE REPRESENTED BY DAVID ZWIRNER GALLERY TODAY.
THE LRFA BLOG IS HONORED TO WELCOME VERONIQUE ANSORGE, DIRECTOR AT DAVID ZWIRNER, 525 WEST 19th STREET, IN CHELSEA, NEW YORK AND GREG LULAY, PARTNER AT DAVID ZWIRNER, 537 WEST 20th STREET, NEW YORK. COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS, THEY HAVE JOINED FORCES TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE LRFA BLOG. AFTER AN INITIAL INTRODUCTION TO BOTH OF THEM, WE WILL FOCUS ON THE RELEVANCE OF THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AND ITS IMPACT ON THE WAY IN WHICH ONE OF THE GREAT INTERNATIONAL GALLERIES HAS HAD THE FORESIGHT TO PREPARE FOR THIS UNSEEN CRISIS.
VERONIQUE AND GREG, THANK YOU SO MUCH. I KNOW YOU ARE BOTH AS BUSY AS EVER, WORKING FROM HOME, ONLINE AND JUST RECENTLY, BY APPOINTMENT AT THE NEW YORK GALLERIES, TO CONTACT CLIENTS AND CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THE PRESENCE AND COMMERCE OF THE GALLERY DURING THE SHUTDOWN.
FIRST, A BIT ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUNDS.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BOTH BEEN AT THE GALLERY AND HOW DID YOU COME TO WORK AT ZWIRNER? WAS YOUR BACKGROUND IN THE ARTS, AS AN ACADEMIC, IN THE AUCTION WORLD OR IN ANOTHER GALLERY?
I’ve been at the gallery for 17 years, starting at Zwirner & Wirth, which was the secondary market gallery David opened on the Upper East Side in 2000. Prior to that, I was at university in Seattle, where I studied business, fine arts, and art history, and worked in a gallery in Seattle upon graduation. I worked for a gallery there for a few years, which brought me to New York in 1999.
I’m originally from Germany, and I started at the gallery in December 2007. I have an MBA, studied Economics in college, and previously worked in business consulting and marketing. I switched careers because of my interest in art. I started as David’s assistant and was lucky enough to grow within the company. I’m now a Director on the gallery’s Sales Team.
GL: That’s amazing. I remember when I started working at the gallery there were only three people at Zwirner & Wirth, including myself, and only a handful of people working at the Chelsea outpost. It’s changed quite a bit in the 17 years I’ve been here. I went from working the front desk and as a gallery manager for years to making my way into sales and artist management.
HOW IS ZWIRNER STRUCTURED? THE GALLERY HAS VENUES VIRTUALLY ALL OVER THE WORLD, NEW YORK, LONDON, HONG KONG, AND NOW A BEAUTIFUL NEW SPACE IN PARIS. ARE EACH OF THE GALLERIES AUTONOMOUS IN TERMS OF EXHIBITION SCHEDULES AND CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS OR, IN THIS GLOBAL MARKET, IS THE PLANNING FOR ALL THE ZWIRNER GALLERIES WORLDWIDE HANDLED BY A SPECIAL TEAM?
VA: The way it’s structured, it’s still very much driven by David Zwirner as the owner and main strategist of the gallery. However, he has eight partners that have a lot of influence in making decisions on artist management and exhibition schedules. New York is the hub, but we all connect on a weekly basis. Our decisions are made as a team.
GL: Although each of our galleries around the world have distinct qualities unique to that physical location and city, the larger gallery operates collectively – as one company. For example, certain operational decisions are specific to doing business in London versus Hong Kong, and largely those decisions are made by our teams in those locations. However, the majority of decisions we make are coordinated across all locations, be that client outreach, exhibition planning, research, communications, inventory, shipping. But, as Veronique noted, one aspect that adds to the success of the gallery is the fact that we operate in a team format. We make decisions as a team, and are stronger because of it.
IN NEW YORK, VERONIQUE AND GREG EXEMPLIFY THAT TEAM SPIRIT, TRAVELING BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN THE 19th AND 20th STREET GALLERIES WITH CLIENTS AND MUSEUM CURATORS BOTH OFTEN WORKING IN TANDEM TO SHARE THEIR LOVE OF THE ARTISTS’ WORK AND THEIR DEPTH OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THEIR PROCESS AND AESTHETIC WITH THE VISITORS TO THE GALLERIES. SOCIAL DISTANCING OR NOT, THE LRFA BLOG PREDICTS LINES AROUND THE BLOCK FOR THE KUSAMA EXHIBITIONS ARE NOT A THING OF THE PAST!
IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, THEY WILL CONTINUE TO ADDRESS THE WORKINGS OF THE GALLERIES WITHIN THE UMBRELLA OF DAVID ZWIRNER WORLDWIDE. PLEASE JOIN US!