Leslie Rankow Fine Arts

INTERNATIONAL ART ADVISORY SERVICE

Welcome to Leslie Rankow Fine Arts new blog, “Airport, please!”

JFK International

JFK International

As incredible as it seems, the first Leslie Rankow Fine Arts Blog posted in November, 2011. I cannot begin to express my gratitude and appreciation to all of the many contributors, from various areas of the art world: auction specialists, gallerists, framers, conservators, curators, collectors. Without their dedication and commitment and desire to share their knowledge and enthusiasm, the LRFA blog would not exist.

Times have radically changed. As we are hopefully nearing at the end of the covid-19 pandemic spectrum, we have all searched for ways to support galleries, promote artists, inform collectors, and attract buyers, using the extraordinary digital technology that has gained in sophistication since the LRFA blog first started. We are inundated with virtual viewing rooms, spotlights, email, blogs, posts, IG, a tsunami of social media, hoping to reach a new global audience by live streaming, video and digital means. Many are succeeding brilliantly, some will disappear and new voices will appear when all the doors reopen in one form or another and we can travel the world again mask-free.

Virtual Evening Sales at Sotheby’s

After a year of stasis, immobility and lockdowns, the urge to travel, to visit museums and galleries in foreign cities, to revisit favorite paintings in museums around the world, to view auction lots in person and attend fairs and sales, has taken hold. Airport, please! will feature exhibitions and museums that have caught the eye of the LRFA blog, with special posts by both dear, near and far friends, colleagues and experts whose vision we have so enjoyed since the inception of the blog and new contributors as well.

So book your trip on Airport, please! and join us. No social distancing necessary.

Mattatoio
Piazza Orazio Giustiniani, 4
Rome

We are first heading to Rome, to The Mattatoio de Tastaccio, to view a photography exhibition organized by Rome’s Cultural Development Department, in conjunction with the International Photography Festival in Rome. Bringing together work by internationally known photographers, the exhibition highlights new and experimental approaches to documenting reality and to investigating history. The photographs were all taken in 2019, in the pre-covid era, but are more relevant than ever.

Sarah Moon
Rome, 2019

Photography. New 2020 productions for the Rome collection opened February 25 and will continue until May 16. The work of five new photographers will be added to the previous fifteen Italian and international photographers selected for artistic residencies in the capital and included in the Photographic Archive of the Museum of Rome.

Situated on the edge of the Tiber River, on Piazza Orazio Giustiniani, 4, in the recently gentrified Testaccio neighborhood, the Mattatoio is an ideal site for a community of cultural experimentation. In keeping with the bistros, clubs, and nightspots that surround it, MACRO’s space at the Mattatoio is open from 4pm until midnight.

Nadav Kander
Enduring Generations
Romana Forum

At its peak, Testaccio’s slaughterhouse was the largest in Europe. It was also one of the most technologically advanced. Built between 1888 and 1891 by Gioacchino Ersoch, architect emeritus of the City of Rome, the pavilions of the Mattatoio illustrate the transition from classicism to modernity and provide an important historical example of the monumentality and rationale of turn-of-the-century industrial architecture.

Tommaso Protti

Where to next? Stay tuned and as always, thank you for following the LRFA Blog!

Artist Collaborations: rare books, wonderful gifts, at Gagosian Gallery with book specialist, Doug Flamm

ARTIST COLLABORATIONS
Andy Warhol & Jean-Michel Basquiat

 

THE CREATIVE PROCESS: FAMOUS ARTIST COLLABORATIONS

Nadia Bozovic, April 2017

What happens when two or more masterfully talented artists collaborate? Is it even possible for such strong individuals to interact and cooperate? Could they create something new together, something different, something brilliant? Yes, yes, and yes! Art collaborations simply cannot be a bad idea. There are so many examples throughout the art history that show us the wonderful uniqueness of creations that came out from such artistic partnerships. Here, we present you with some of the most famous ones!

Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat:
A Crazy Art-World Marriage

From 1980 to 1986, renowned Pop artist Andy Warhol and a graffiti prodigy, Jean-Michel Basquiat, collaborated on a number of exciting pieces that actually led them to the position they now have in the art world.

famous art collaborations
Olympic Rings, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat

Their working process went on like this: Warhol usually painted first, and then Basquiat entered the scene with his colorful imagery. One of the most popular examples would be the piece titled Olympic Rings, completed in 1985. Warhol actually made several variations of the Olympic five-ring symbol, to which Basquiat responded with the oppositional graffiti style.

How did this “crazy art world marriage”, as Victor Bockris called it in his book, Warhol: The Biography, happen in the first place? It was due to the fame Andy Warhol had already achieved and the fact that Basquiat, a 20-year-old artist at the time, thought this fame was the missing piece which would help him with his big breakthrough in the art world. And he was right! Basquiat’s emotionally-charged paintings and graffiti art were about to become some of the best known Neo-Expressionist artworks in the U.S.

Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg:
When Abstract Expressionists Meet

Speaking of crazy art marriages, the next example we are going to talk about is a collaboration between Abstract Expressionists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. In fact, the two artists, creating incredible art in the middle of the American neo-Dada movement, may actually have been in a romantic relationship in addition to their artistic collaborations.

Rumour has it that Jasper Johns was the one who came up with the word combine that’s widely used to describe Rauschenberg’s technique of incorporating everyday objects like fabric, newspaper cut-out, furniture and even animal carcasses into his abstract paintings.

In the 1950s, they extensively influenced each other’s work and the fact that there is a profound likeness in their art from that period doesn’t come as a surprise. The undersheet splashes of red, yellow, and blue colors in Rauschenberg’s Bed, both a piece of furniture and a painting, are clearly recognizable in the reds, blues, and yellows of Target with Four Faces made by his friend, lover, and a fellow artist, Jasper Johns.

Along with artistic giants like William de Kooning and Jackson Polock, these two artists paved way for the Pop Art movement by erasing the differences between the fine art and mass culture.

Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray:
50 Years of Shared Aesthetics

Rrose Sélavy was a Dada pin-up girl, a lucky charm for many artists, and… she was a man! Not just any man, that is, but one of the best-known visual artists in the entire history of art. She was ’the inventor of readymades’, and the revolutionary that completely changed the art world. Yes, you guessed it, she was Marcel Duchamp. Rrose Sélavy was one of Duchamp’s pseudonyms and his female alter-ego.

When you pronounce the name Rrose Sélavy, it actually sounds like Eros, Ce la Vie which, when translated from French, means Love, that’s life. Duchamp loved these kinds of word games as we all know, but he wasn’t playing alone. His long-time companion for optical and rhetorical illusions was a famous painter, photographer, and filmmaker, Man Ray.

famous art collaborations
Photograph of Rrose Sélavy (Marcel Duchamp) by Man Ray 

Ray was there to take a shot of Duchamp every time he showed up as Rrose Sélavy. But those pictures were only a small part of their unique everlasting friendship and artistic collaboration.

IN TODAY’S LRFA BLOG, WE ARE VERY PLEASED TO WELCOME BACK GAGOSIAN GALLERY’S RARE BOOK SPECIALIST, DOUGLAS FLAMM, OFFERING A WONDERFUL SELECTION OF BOOKS WHICH HIGHLIGHT THE GREAT CREATIVE RESULTS OF COLLABORATION. DOUG CAN BE REACHED AT GAGOSIAN SHOP, 976 MADISON AVENUE, NEW YORK, DURING THE HOLIDAYS AND YEAR ROUND. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A SPECIAL ADDITION TO YOUR LIBRARY OR TO THAT OF A DEAR FRIEND, THERE IS NO ONE MORE KNOWLEDGABLE.

https://gagosianshop.com/

rarebooks@gagosian.com

Ed Ruscha & Billy Al Bengston
Business Cards

Ed Ruscha and Billy Al Bengston

Business Cards
1968
Self published artist book
8 3/4 × 5 3/4 inches (22.2 × 14.6 cm)
Business Cards, a collaboration between Ed Ruscha and Billy Al Bengston from 1968, wittily documents a business card exchange, starting with the artists designing the cards and ending with a ceremonial exchange at the Bistro restaurant in Beverly Hills. Limited to one thousand unique copies, the volume features a tipped-on black-and-white photograph on the cover and is bound in faux wood-grain paper with a knotted leather cord. The artists’ business cards are stapled to the final pages of the book. This copy is signed on the cover by both Ruscha and Bengston.

Jenny Saville & Glen Luchford: Close Contact

Jenny Saville & Glen Luchford

Closed Contact
2002
Essay by Katherine Dunn
11 1/4 × 15 1/2 inches (28.6 × 39.4 cm); 48 pages; 15 b/w illustrations; 14 color illustrations
Designed by David James Associates; Printed by Westerham Press
This lavishly illustrated catalogue was published on the occasion of “Jenny Saville & Glen Luchford: Closed Contact” at Gagosian, Beverly Hills in 2002. This poignant photographic series, which was a collaboration between Saville and fashion photographer/filmmaker Luchford, confronts and challenges preconceived notions of feminine beauty. In this body of work, the artists have created a new form of self-portraiture, using Saville as the model. With an essay by acclaimed writer Katherine Dunn, this out-of-print publication has become quite scarce.

Witness to Her Art: Art and Writings

Witness to Her Art

Art and Writings by Adrian Piper, Mona Hatoum, Cady Noland, Jenny Holzer, Kara Walker, Daniela Rossell and Eau de Cologne
2006
Edited by Rhea Anastas, Michael Brenson; Foreword by Tom Eccles
10 1/2 × 8 1/2 inches (26.7 ×  21.6 cm); 366 pages; Fully illustrated
Published by Center For Curatorial Studies: Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

THE LRFA BLOG WISHES EVERYONE A PROFOUNDLY WONDERFUL 2021, FILLED WITH GOOD HEALTH, FREEDOM AND SUCCESS. LET’S REMEMBER SOME OF THE BEST TRAITS WE HAVE LEARNED FROM THE YEAR WE ARE ALL SO EAGER TO LEAVE BEHIND: KINDNESS, GRATITUDE AND RESILIENCE,TO NAME A FEW.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

Picasso and Hockney, a synergistic pairing, from Doug Flamm, rare book expert at Gagosian

Douglas Flamm
Rare book expert
Gagosian Gallery

In 1984, at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, in conjuncation with the exhibition, Picasso: The Last Years, 1963-1973, artist David Hockney lectured on how Pablo Picasso’s  late paintings influenced his own practice and explores how Picasso’s compositional methods relate to photography. Introduced by Mimi Poser of the Guggenheim, this event took place on April 3, 1984.

In his lecture, Hockney states:

Of course, Picasso does have a new way of seeing, and deals with it right to the end. I think the point to be made as well is, of course, that no artist’s work is done until he drops dead. He goes on, and one shouldn’t particularly, I think, make too many judgments until it’s finished. With an artist the caliber of Picasso, common sense tells you that an artist of that quality does not spend the last 20 years of his life repeating himself. It’s against his nature, really. I don’t think it would be possible for him to do it, and it becomes clearer and clearer that the pictures of the ’60s and the early ’70s couldn’t have been painted any earlier. It could not have been done that way.

http://Transcript © 2018 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation (SRGF).

For David Hockney, (born 1937), Picasso had long been an inspiration. As a student, Hockney made several visits to the 1960 exhibition at the Tate Gallery. It taught him that an artist need not adhere to a single style and in 1962 Hockney dubbed his Young Contemporaries exhibition ‘Demonstrations of Versatility’.

Following Picasso’s death in 1973, Hockney made two prints in tribute. Other works from the 1970s also refer to Picasso.

In 1980 Hockney had a commission from the Metropolitan Opera, New York, that included a design for Parade based on Picasso’s designs for the ballet’s 1917 première. While in New York that year, he saw a Picasso retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art which reinvigorated his belief that Cubism marked a turning point in pictorial representation. This directly affected his painting and prompted him to use photography to depict the world in a Cubist fashion. The resulting photographic collages replaced drawing in Hockney’s practice for several years.

Hockney was an early advocate of Picasso’s late style. For a lecture on ‘Important Paintings of the 1960s’, he selected only works by Picasso. Cubism remains a stimulus: Hockney has recently applied the multi-directional view of his ‘cubist’ photographs to video.

Picasso and Modern British Art, Tate Britain

In an interview in The Guardian, with Tim Lewis, on November 16, 2014, Hockney’s passion for Picasso extends not only to his work but his extraordinary passion for life and vigor.

I’m working, that’s all I want to do, and there is love in my life. I love life. I write it at the end of letters – “Love life, David Hockney”. When I’m working, I feel like Picasso, I feel I’m 30. When I stop I know I’m not, but when I paint, I stand up for six hours a day and yeah, I feel I’m 30. Picasso said that, from the age of 30 to 90, he always felt 30 when he painted.

https://www.theguardian.com/theobserver

IN TODAY’S LRFA BLOG GAGOSIAN GALLERY’S RARE BOOK EXPERT, DOUGLAS FLAMM, OFFERS TWO PHENOMENAL SUGGESTIONS ON THE HEROIC ARTISTS, PABLO PICASSO AND DAVID HOCKNEY, FOR YOUR HOLIDAY GIFT-GIVING OR TO ADD TO YOUR OWN LIBRARY, NOW OR AT ANY TIME THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.

DOUG, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR MAKING US AWARE OF THESE EXTRAORDINARY PUBLICATIONS! AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

DAVID HOCKNEY
Alphabet

David Hockney

Hockney’s Alphabet

1991

Drawings by David Hockney; Edited by Stephen Spender.

13 × 10 inches (33 × 25.4 cm); Hardcover in slipcase; Fully illustrated

Published by Faber & Faber, London for the Aids Crisis Trust

Limited edition of 250 from a total edition 300 copies; Signed by many of the contributors

$2,250

Please contact rarebooks@gagosian.com to arrange for purchase.

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Hockney’s Alphabet, published in 1991 by the Aids Crisis Trust, presents 26 lively drawings created by David Hockney, each accompanied by a written contribution from 26 well known authors. In addition there is a T.S. Eliot piece included for the ampersand, &. This book is just as relevant today as it was when published close to thirty years ago. This rare edition is signed by David Hockney, Stephen Spender and 22 of the authors. From a limited edition of 250 numbered copies and a total edition of 300; in mint condition.

In addition to Hockney and Spender, 22 of the contributors have also signed the book: Doris Lessing, William Boyd, Margaret Drabble, Martin Amis, William Golding, Patrick Leigh Fermor, Nigel Nicolson, Seamus Heaney, Douglas Adams, Julian Barnes, Craig Raine, Kazuo Ishiguro, Iris Murdoch, V.S. Pritchett, Erica Jong, Arthur Miller, John Julius Norwich, Susan Sontag, Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike, Norman Mailer, and Ian McEwan. (Not signing were Burgess and Eliot, of course, Ted Hughes, and Gore Vidal).

PABLO PICASSO
Carnet de dessins

Pablo Picasso

Carnet de dessins

Published by Cahiers d’Art, Paris, 1948

Edition of 1,200

16 5/8 × 11 7/8 inches (42 × 30 cm)

$2,500

———-

This book reproduces, in facsimile, forty-one drawings made by Pablo Picasso in Royan, France, between May 30, 1940 and August 22, 1940, which were once contained in a notebook. It also features studies the artist created in Paris dated February 19, 1942. Picasso sought refuge in Royan from September 1939 to August 1940 after fleeing Paris due to fear of wartime bombing.

THE LRFA BLOG WISHES ALL THE CONTRIBUTORS AND FOLLOWS OF THE BLOG  A WONDERFUL 2021 – THE FREEDOM TO TRAVEL AND THE JOY OF STAYING HOME OUT OF CHOICE, GOOD HEALTH, PROSPERITY AND HAPPINESS. THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUING SUPPORT.

SEASONS GREETINGS AND ALL GOOD WISHES FOR

THE COMING YEAR

LESLIE RANKOW

 

 

 

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas thanks to Gagosian Gallery’s rare book dealer, Doug Flamm

Gagosian Shop
976 Madison Avenue
New York

The beginning of 2020 has seen millions of lives turned upside down due to the global outbreak of COVID-19. Educational institutions across 192 countries have temporarily shut their doors, with closures affecting over 91% of enrolled students, according to UNESCO. As more and more children are being forced to stay home from school, the risk of students becoming disengaged from or deprived entirely of their education is higher than ever. Reading is a past-time that we should be actively supporting during this tumultuous moment in history.

https://worldliteracyfoundation.org/reading-during-a-global-pandemic/

For adults, there is the pleasure of having time to read the books one always meant to or discovering new titles that resonant during these disruptive and disrupted time. Alone together – working from home, staying put, schooling children at home – reading can provide a wonderful escape from the confines of the lockdown. According to studies conducted by the Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 30 minutes of reading can help lower one’s heart rate and blood pressure, as well as reducing psychological distress. Reading affords us the ability to project ourselves into the lives of others and sink into alternative realities. Whether this is the whimsical lands of Roald Dahl’s fiction or a biographical memoir, the act of reading can transport us to new dimensions. This process can help to mitigate feelings of isolation and estrangement which are particularly present during this time of social distancing.

Gagosian Shop
Paris

THE LRFA BLOG LOVES TO CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAY SEASON BY ASKING A GREAT EXPERT AND LONGTIME FRIEND, DOUG FLAMM,  RARE BOOK EXPERT AT GAGOSIAN GALLERY, TO DELVE INTO HIS TREASURE TROVE OF ART-RELATED BOOKS TO RECOMMEND FOR HOLIDAY GIFTING. THIS YEAR IN PARTICULAR, WHEN REMEMBERING LOVED ONES WITH THOUGHTFUL GIFTS AND PAYING ATTENTION TO WELLNESS, BOTH OUR OWN AND OTHERS, ARE SO IMPORTANT, DOUG IS OFFERING A WONDERFUL SELECTION THAT RANGES FROM RARE ART BOOKS, UNIQUE ARTISTS’ BOOKS, EXHIBITION POSTERS AND LIMITED EDITIONS.

THANK YOU DOUG, THIS YEAR AND EVERY YEAR!

https://gagosian.com/locations/gagosian-shop-new-york/

Gagosian Shop
Holiday 2017

Gerhard Richter

Gerd Richter, Bilder des Kapitalistischen Realismus Exhibition Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

Produced in 1964 on the occasion of exhibition Gerd Richter: Bilder des Kapitalistischen Realismus at Galerie René Block, Berlin

9 1/2 × 22 1/2 inches (24.1 × 57.2 cm)

Printed in Germany

Poster is sold unframed

Price upon request

Please contact rarebooks@gagosian.com to arrange for purchase.

———-

We are pleased to offer this rare piece of ephemera from one of Gerhard Richter’s first exhibitions. Published in 1964 on the occasion of Gerd Richter: Bilder des Kapitalistischen Realismus at Galerie René Block in Berlin, this poster is indicative of the dynamic photo based works found in the exhibition. Without folds and in excellent condition, this poster is quite collectable.

 

Donald Judd

Leo Castelli Gallery Exhibition Poster

Leo Castelli Gallery Exhibition Poster            Donald Judd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in 1981 on the occasion of Donald Judd’s exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York

25 × 34 inches (63.5 × 86.4 cm)

Poster is sold framed

$1,950

Not available for purchase online, please contact the Shop to arrange for purchase.

© 2020 Judd Foundation/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York

Francis Bacon

Derriere le Miroir No 162

Francis Bacon
Derriere Le Miroir No. 16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text by Michel Lereis; Interview with Francis Bacon by David Sylvester

15 × 11 3/8 inches (38.1 × 28.9 cm); Hardcover in slipcase; Includes 5 single sheet color lithographs and a three sheet fold-out color lithograph; French

Published by Aimé Maeght

Deluxe edition limited to 150 copies

$3,500

Not available for purchase online, please contact the Shop to arrange for purchase.

Gagosian
Cy Twombly Shop
London

MORE TO FOLLOW!  HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

 

Collecting wisely at Sean Kelly Gallery, past, present and future, with Senior Partner Cecile Panzieri

Cecile Panzieri, Senior Partner
Sean Kelly, Founder
Sean Kelly Gallery

PODCASTING WAS DEVELOPED IN 2004  WHEN ADAM CURRY, FORMER MTV VIDEO JOCKEY AND DAVE WINER, CODED A PROGRAM KNOWN AS iPODDER WHICH ENABLED THEM TO DOWNLOAD INTERNET RADIO BROADCASTS TO THEIR IPODS. AS A RESULT OF THE PANDEMIC, THE NUMBER OF PODCASTS ON EVERY SUBJECT HAS MULTIPLIED EXPONENTIALLY, POPPING UP EVERY DAY, ON A VAST NUMBER OF PLATFORMS. AS OF 2019, PRE-PANDEMIC, 165 MILLION PEOPLE HAVE LISTENED TO A PODCAST WITH 90 MILLION AMERICAS LISTENING MONTHLY. THE LRFA BLOG IS CERTAIN THAT THE NUMBERS ARE EVEN MORE COMPELLING SINCE COVID.

ONE OF THE MOST THOUGHTFUL, INTELLIGENT AND INTERESTING CONTRIBUTIONS TO PODCASTS ON THE SUBJECT OF ART IS SEAN KELLY’S COLLECT WISELY. STARTED IN THE SPRING OF 2018, THE PODCAST EXPLORES COLLECTING AND CONNOISSEURSHIP IN A DIALOGUE WITH A DIVERSE GROUP OF INTERNATIONAL COLLECTORS. REFLECTING THE GALLERY’S PRINCIPLES, IT REFOCUSES THE DIALOGUE AROUND CORE VALUES THAT CENTER MORE ON ART, ARTISTS, AND A PASSION FOR COLLECTING THAN ON ART WORLD STATUS AND SHORT-TERM MONETARY INTERESTS. IN COLLECT WISELY, WE LISTEN TO THE FASCINATING STORIES OF HOW INDIVIDUALS CAME TO COLLECT ART, WHAT THEY COLLECT AND WHAT THEY WOULD OWN IF THEY COULD HAVE ANY ARTWORK IN THE WORLD. ARTICULATE AND IMPASSIONED, IT IS AN INSPIRING AND INFORMATIVE DIALOGUE REFLECTING BOTH THE EXPERT KNOWLEDGE  OF SEAN KELLY, GALLERIST, AND THE PASSION OF THE COLLECTOR.

 

Collect Wisely.
Sean Kelly Gallery Podcasts

THE GALLERY HAS INITIATED A WONDERFUL PODCAST, COLLECT WISELY,  THAT THE LRFA BLOG BINGED ON WHEN IT FIRST APPEARED. HOW DID THE GALLERY COME UP WITH SUCH AN ORIGINAL IDEA AND HOW WAS IT REALIZED?

I am glad that you are admitting to bingeing on it.  This series of conversations between Sean and different collectors  about collecting and connoisseurship started in 2018. It was his idea, and something that he had been thinking about a lot and felt it was necessary to speak about.  Luckily we were able to draw and rely on a diverse group of passionate art lovers who were willing to share with refreshing sincerity their respective and  unique collecting history and perspective.  This initiative resulted so far in 21 fascinating and inspiring podcasts, and has been very well-received in the press worldwide.  It has sparked conversations about our current ecosystem.   Like you, I have loved listening to them, and love what they say in turn about the ethos of the gallery.

 

Marina Abramovic
The House with the Ocean View
Sean Kelly Gallery 2002

 WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EXHIBITIONS YOU HAVE HAD IN THE SPACE IN CHELSEA THAT WERE PARTICULARLY OUTSTANDING?

We were in our space in Chelsea for almost 12 years and held many great exhibitions.  That said I would like to single out Marina Abramovic’s extraordinary 12 day performance entitled “The House with Ocean View” in 2002, Joseph Kosuth’s outstanding neon installation entitled “A Propos (Reflecteur de Reflecteur) in 2004,  two remarkable installations by Antony Gormley’s entitled “Clearing”  in 2005 and “Blind Light” in 2007, Kehinde Wiley’s superb exhibition entitled “Economy of Grace” in 2008, and a beautiful installation of over 100 watercolors by Callum Innes made in response to a novel written by Irish author Colm Toibin in 2011.  

Kehinde Wiley
An Economy of Grace
Sean Kelly Gallery 2012



WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EXHIBITIONS IN THE 36th STREET HUDSON YEARS SPACE THAT ARE NOTABLE AND COULD YOU HAVE HAD THEM IN THE FORMER SPACE?

Four exhibitions come to mind: Joseph Kosuth ’s 40 year neon survey in 2015,  our first exhibition of Belgian filmmaker David Claerbout in 2016, our exhibition of monumental sculptures by Mariko Mori in 2018 and  Anthony McCall’s experiential installation “Split Second” in 2019.   The challenging  size of our 36th street’s main space created unique conditions for these artists to respond to it with ambition.  

Joseph Kosuth
A Propos (Reflecteur du Reflecteur)
Sean Kelly Gallery 2004


 WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR PLANS FOR FUTURE EXHIBITIONS AND PROJECTS?  

I was really thrilled when we are able to return to the gallery which we had to close on March 13.  I have missed my colleagues and being there.  We devised a re-entry plan that we hope will allow us to remain open and once again a destination during this uncertain time.  This includes Joseph Kosuth’s exhibition “Existential Time” which had to be postponed due to the pandemic, to Sam Moyer’s first major outdoor sculpture project presented by the Public Art Fund which will be sited at the Doris Freedman Plaza entrance to Central Park, and to our first major and much awaited solo current exhibition of Shahzia Sikander’s work since she joined the gallery.  

Sam Moyer
Doors for Doris  Doris Freedman Plaza

 

 ARE THERE ANY PLANS TO EXPAND TO ANOTHER CITY AND/OR COUNTRY?

Two years ago we established a presence in Taipei.    Our operations there are currently on hold due to the pandemic.  Asia is a region that cannot be ignored and we hope that we will be able to resume them in the not too distant future. 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT FOR THE FUTURE OF THE GALLERY?  I am excited about the gallery’s continued growth and place in the art world, and to do so alongside  Sean, his adult children, Lauren and Tom, who have been part of the gallery for a number of years now.   I have known both of them for over twenty years, and have had the pleasure of mentoring them closely.  Though different, I can see how they complement one another, and are determined to being part of the gallery’s present and future.  I look forward to continuing to doing what I love and to playing an active role in the gallery’s future. 
CECILE, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SUCH A WONDERFUL INTERVIEW. YOUR WARMTH AND LOVE OF PEOPLE AND OF ART SHINE THROUGH EVERY WORD. MUCH APPRECIATED!

Core values stand the test of the pandemic at the Sean Kelly Gallery with Senior Partner, Cecile Panzieri

Cecile Panzieri and Sean Kelly of Sean Kelly Gallery

That the pandemic has shifted how art is bought and sold is evident in the 255% rise in online-only auction sales between January and August, to nearly US$597 million from US$168 million in the same period last year. Of the experts surveyed, 24% expect auction sales overall will rise in the next six months, while 39% expect rising sales to continue for a year.

The ability of the major auction houses to pivot quickly to digital sales, and eventually to hybrid models involving live-streams from their global locations, buffered the initial steep losses the houses experienced in the first part of the year, ArtTactic said. Still, year-end results will likely be significantly down from 2019 levels, the report said.

In 2019, global auction sales from Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips were US$9.74 billion, down 19.8% from a year earlier.

Art Basel Miami OVR
Sean Kelly Gallery
December 2-6, 2020

Galleries and art fairs that mostly sell works in the primary market also quickly, and largely successfully, transitioned to digital programming and sales in 2020, allowing confidence in the primary market to rise from a level of 3 on ArtTactic’s indicator last May to 39 in November. Of experts the firm surveyed, 36% are optimistic about the next six months (compared to only 2% who were in May) and 29% are neutral.

BARRONS.COM/PENTA, Abby Schultz, November 20, 2020, ArtTactic Finds “V-Shaped” Recovery in Market Confidence

https://www.barrons.com/articles/arttactic-finds-v-shaped-recovery-in-market-confidence-01605909874?reflink=article_emailShare

SEAN KELLY GALLERY REMAINS TRUE TO ITSELF, IN WHATEVER FORM THE CURRENT CLIMATE DEMANDS: VIRTUAL, DIGITAL, ONLINE, OR LIVE. THEIR CORE VALUES REMAIN INTACT, THEIR COLLECTORS AND ARTISTS LOYAL AND THE GALLERY PROVIDES A SAFE PORT IN THIS PANDEMIC STORM.

TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG IS HONORED TO CONTINUE ITS CONVERSATION WITH CECILE PANZIERI, SENIOR PARTNER AT SEAN KELLY GALLERY, ON THE EFFECTS OF THE PANDEMIC ON THE GALLERY IN PARTICULAR AND ON THE ART MARKET IN GENERAL.

Frieze Viewing Room 2020

Art Basel Miami OVR
Sean Kelly Gallery


IN THIS VERY COMPETITIVE ART WORLD, IN WHICH ARTISTS ARE AS CONSCIOUS OF THEIR PROFESSIONAL STANDING AS THEY OF THEIR ARTISTIC DEVELOPMENT, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS WITH RESPECT TO REPRESENTING THE WORK?

We share and do everything we can to foster our artists’ ambitions and our ambitions for them.  We want their work to be critically recognized, publicly exhibited, and collected. We want to facilitate their creative vision.  Our ability to succeed in these areas comes from decades of experience and nurtured relationships, but this alone is not enough: the artists are integral to making our efforts successful.  Our artists  understand this.  The pandemic with all its challenges has reinforced the core values that bind us: trust, integrity,  hard work and passion for what we do.   Together we are well positioned to navigate the current stormy waters. 

TEFAF New York Fall 2019


HOW DO YOU PLACE WORKS IN BOTH PRIVATE AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS? ARE THE PROCESSES SIMILAR OR DIFFERENT OR DO THEY OVERLAP?  

Over the years, we have had the pleasure of getting to know collectors who were at different points in their collecting history.  We have wanted to create a gallery experience where one would feel welcome to explore, discover and talk about art, be it with Sean, me or my other colleagues.  If a museum wants to acquire a work by one of our artists, we will do our best working with the artist to facilitate an acquisition. Our collectors understand that institutions are a priority, they are generous and excited for the artists when this happens.  Over the years we have placed works in the collections of many museums worldwide.  My experience with our collectors over the years is that acquiring a work is a pursuit they love and a question of timing: “the right work at the right time”.   We value our collectors, their passion and support for the gallery’s program.  They know that when solicited they can trust and rely on our opinion.   I derive a lot of satisfaction from being part of the “matching” process and  fulfilling the quest along the way.

Zona Maco 2020



HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK ART FAIRS ARE TO BOTH THE PRESENCE OF THE GALLERY AND TO THE ARTISTS IN THE GLOBAL MARKET?  

Art fairs are important as they provide visibility to the gallery and its program, and the opportunity to meet existing and new collectors, private and institutional from all over the world in an “acquiring” or research mode.  It is instrumental to the expansion of the gallery’s activities and network.  I am a “people” person and very much enjoy attending and working at art fairs.  Operating a gallery of our size without art fairs as we just experienced these past few months has meant less income.  Virtual art fairs are not the same: they require a great deal of planning but our collectors find them both overwhelming and underwhelming, and are learning how to “visit” them, the same way we are learning how to best participate in them, and what technology can or cannot do for the remote art viewing experience.  More and more people from all over the world spend a lot of time looking at art, and more and more, purchasing art on the internet as well.  What we do not know is how profound and lasting  this trend is.  

ADAA Art Show 2020
Solo presentation by Idris Khan


WHICH ART FAIRS DOES THE GALLERY PARTICIPATE IN AND WHY?

Until the pandemic forced the cancellation of all art fairs, we participated in Art Basel, Art Basel Miami, Art Basel Hong Kong, Armory Show, ADAA , Zona Maco, Taipei Dangdai, TEFAF NY  and Frieze NY.   We felt that each fair complemented our activities at the gallery.  We have been deliberate in making sure that we do not become too dependent on them.   The core of our business is gallery driven, it is solid.  The past few months of distant/remote working have validated our prudence.

Frieze Viewing Room 2020

THE LRFA BLOG LOOKS FORWARD TO CECILE’S PERSPECTIVE ON THE CURRENT MARKET AND FUTURE PLANS OF SEAN KELLY GALLERY IN OUR NEXT POST.
PLEASE JOIN US!

Bespoke: Sean Kelly’s gallery in Hudson Yards, with Cecile Panzieri, Senior Partner

Cecile Panzieri & Toshiko Mori

IN 2012, SEAN KELLY OPENED A NEW 22,000 SQUARE FOOT SPACE AT 475 TENTH AVENUE IN A HISTORIC 1914 BUILDING. THE TWO-STORY GALLERY WAS THE FIRST OF ITS KIND IN THE DEVELOPING HUDSON YARDS NEIGHBORHOOD, AND INCLUDES 16-FOOR CEILINGS, A MAIN GALLERY FEATURING 2,900 SQ FT OF EXHIBITION SPACE AS WELL AS ADDITIONAL PROJECT SPACES AND A BLACK-BOX THEATER.

DESIGNED BY AWARD-WINNING ARCHITECT TOSHIKO MORI, WHICH OPENED WITH A SERIES OF EVENTS CULMINATING IN ITS INAUGURAL EXHIBITION, BODYSPACE, OF THE SCULPTURE OF ANTHONY GORMLEY. AFTER TWENTY YEARS AS A GALLERIST, SEAN KELLY WAS ABLE TO ARTICULATE THE IDEAL EXHIBITION AND STORAGE SPACE FOR HIS ARTISTS AND HIS STAFF. AND TOSHIKO MORI WAS HIGHLY QUALIFIED TO REALIZE IT. SHE WAS AWARDED THE AIA DESIGN AWARD IN INTERIORS FOR HER UNIQUE ARCHITECTURAL APPROACH TO THE HUDSON YARDS LOCATION.

Toshiko Mori immigrated to the United States as a teen in the 1960s, and is highly regarded for infusing American and Japanese modernism in her poetic approach. “Architecture is multidisciplinary and therefore there are many sources of inspiration. I never dream up in a vacuum,” said the Harvard professor, in a recent interview with ArchDaily. “There are so many conditions and constraints. There is a client, site, program, and so on. But aesthetically, my inspiration goes back to Japanese traditional architecture, which has a sense of clarity and tectonics. That’s my DNA.”

Mori has designed residences for many an art fixture—including gallerist Sean Kelly and fashion designer Tomas Maier—as well as numerous academic and cultural institutions.

https://www.artsy.net/sean-kelly-gallery

Sean Kelly Gallery
475 Tenth Avenue at 36th Street

TODAY, CECILE PANZIERI, SENIOR PARTNER AT SEAN KELLY, ENRICHES OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE ARCHITECTURAL PROCESS TO CREATE THIS LANDMARK GALLERY SPACE.

CECILE, WELCOME BACK!


THE GALLERY ALSO IS REPRESENTATIVE OF A WIDE RANGE OF MEDIUMS, PAINTING, SCULPTURE, PHOTOGRAPHY, INSTALLATION? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CRITERIA THAT YOU LOOK FOR WHEN CONSIDERING AN ARTIST’S WORK?  We think that it is important to have a balanced representation of all media, but we tend not to give too much importance to this.  Most important is whether the work of an artist has relevance and would be a good “fit” for what the gallery represents and stands for.  It is hard to fully describe what the “right fit” is but we instinctively recognize it. 

Sean Kelly Gallery

YOUR MOVE TO 36th STREET AND 10th AVENUE WAS PRESCIENT. WHAT PROMPTED THE MOVE AND HOW DID YOU MAKE A DECISION TO MOVE OUT OF CHELSEA AT THE TIME?

We moved to our current location in October 2012, almost 8 years ago.  We did so because our lease on 29th street could not be renewed: the owners wanted to sell (and did).  At the time, this was pre Hurricane Katrina, finding the right space in Chelsea was very difficult, and the options for ground floor spaces meant much higher rents for less space and very costly renovations.  We heard that Exit Art was looking to leave their location following the passing of its founder, Jeanette Ingberman.  We went to visit the space and immediately saw that it offered great possibilities for the gallery’s continued growth (the gallery has a total of 22,000 square feet).  We did not hesitate.

We knew that at some point Hudson Yards would emerge, but back then it was nonexistent.  We were used to being on the edge of what was SoHo and then Chelsea, and did not mind moving further north.  Known to be a gallery destination, we were confident  that we would be able to continue to attract existing as well as new visitors.  A  noticeable change to visitorship,  because of the ease of access it provided, is the extension of the 7 subway line, and the opening of restaurants, food courts and salad bars in and around Hudson Yards. 


Sean Kelly Gallery

 

TELL US ABOUT THE ARCHITECTURAL PROCESS IN RENOVATING A SPACE THAT HAS TURNED OUT TO BE SO BEAUTIFUL AND FUNCTIONAL?  

Sean loves architecture and understands what a space can and should do.  Working with Toshiko Mori, whom he had known for many years and who had designed his residence upstate, is something that he really wanted to do.  Sean and Toshiko have great aesthetic and intellectual affinities, and share a kinship for what design must do for art, their maker, and the viewer.   It was a very exciting project to be closely involved with which was realized in record breaking time.   As you know, both my glass walled office and that of another director, are right up front behind the reception desk: we are deliberately visible and accessible, and found that even a hand wave or smile while on the phone or in our office is very appreciated as it humanizes the gallery visit. 

Sean Kelly
Gallery Library

WHAT DOES A GALLERY THAT IS SO EXTENSIVE IN SIZE AND VIEWING AND STORAGE SPACE AFFORD THE GALLERY IN TERMS OF EXHIBITIONS?

When we were thinking about the new space,  we wanted to retain the flexibility and versatility of our space on 29th street.  We designed 3 exhibition spaces that could be all used or not by an artist (2 on the ground floor, one on our downstairs floor), a very large storage  in our downstairs floor, and private viewing spaces and open offices.  The gallery space has worked very well. 

In order to adapt to the changes to how we do what we do brought on by the Covid 19 pandemic, we will use one of the exhibition spaces for “remote” viewings, and for the photography and video of  artworks  to provide as much visual information about an artwork of interest to collectors, and to broaden the visual presence of our artists on our website and on the art fairs’ on-line viewing rooms. 


IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, CECILE WILL EXPLORE SOME OF THE WAYS IN WHICH THE GALLERY HAS ADAPTED TO THE RESTRICTIONS THAT ARISE FROM COVID-19 AND THEIR EXPANSION OF ONLINE ACCESS TO SEAN KELLY GALLERY. 

THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING!

 

A thoughtfully considered expansion: the history of Sean Kelly Gallery, with Senior Partner, Cecile Panzieri

Sean Kelly, Cecile Panzieri, Lauren Kelly

THE CURRENT EXHIBITION AT SEAN KELLY GALLERY, A SWEEPING TWO FLOOR SPACE AT THE CORNER OF 36th STREET AND TENTH AVENUE AT THE STARt OF HUDSON YARDS, IS THE NEW WORK OF SHAHZIA SIKANDER WHO ENJOYS AN EXTENSIVE EXHIBITION AND MUSEUM HISTORY. IT IS AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE OF THE DEPTH AND BREATH OF EXHIBITIONS LAUNCHED AT THE GALLERY FOR OVER THE LAST THIRTY YEARS. ORIGINALLY TRAINED AS AN ARTIST, SEAN TRULY SPEAKS THEIR LANGUAGE AND RESPECTS THE STRUGGLE OF THEIR EFFORTS. THESE VALUES ARE EMBRACED BY HIS SENIOR PARTNER AT THE GALLERY, CECILE PANZIERI, WHO STARTED AT THE GALLERY’S  FRONT DESK IN 1999.

https://www.skny.com/gallery

Shahzia Sikander
Nov 5- Dec 19, 2020
Sean Kelly Gallery

Weeping Willows, Liquid Tongues, Shahzia Sikander’s first exhibition with Sean Kelly Gallery, is an expansive, in-depth look into the artist’s recent work, featuring dynamic, large-and-intimately-scaled drawings, a captivating new single channel video-animation, luminous, intricate mosaics and her first free-standing sculpture.

In this rich and diverse body of work, Sikander explores various iconographies and power structures to present transformative ideas; her interests in literature, history, sociology, psychoanalysis and the examination of how culture and society shape the imagination are all fodder for her work. Storytelling, language and text are also compelling influences and cornerstones of the artist’s methodology. “Language is fundamental to my practice,” Sikander has noted, explaining,

When I read words that inspire me, the relationship cast with the experience itself is precise and tactile. Visual experience is often a sensorial turmoil. The process of writing allows me to reflect. It will elicit multiple responses over an undetermined period of time. It is that space of interiority and of unknown measure that piques my curiosity. Out of the amalgamation of visual memory, chaos of experience, and influence of the literary comes amorphous creativity through the act of drawing. 

Shahzia Sikander, 2020, Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, November 5 – December 19, 2020.

Shahzia Sikander
Arose
Sean Kelly Gallery

THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO WELCOME CECILE PANZIERI BACK TO SHARE HER RECOLLECTIONS OF THE EARLY DAYS OF THE GALLERY AND A HISTORY OF HER INVOLVEMENT IN ITS IMPRESSIVE BUT THOUGHTFUL EXPANSION.

CECILE, WHAT DID YOU DO WHEN YOU JOINED SEAN KELLY GALLERY AND WHAT WERE YOUR INITIAL RESPONSIBILITIES?

Holding various positions at Galerie Lelong where I started at the front desk is something that prepared me very well for what came next which felt like the right opportunity at the right time.  I joined the Sean Kelly Gallery as Director in January 1999.  My primary responsibilities were to put in place or improve on the gallery’s administrative and organization structures to foster growth, develop the gallery’s participation in art fairs, make sales, work with designated artists and travel to represent the gallery as needed.   The range of those responsibilities perfectly suited my natural disposition and temperament, education and prior gallery experience.  I am thrilled to see everyday, first hand, the impact of my contribution for over more than 20 years of involvement with the gallery. 

James Casebere

YOU ARE NOW THE SENIOR PARTNER AT THE GALLERY. WHAT ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AND IN WHAT AREAS OF THE BUSINESS ARE YOU PRIMARILY INVOLVED?  

I definitely spend much more time with Sean focusing and thinking about the big picture and less time dealing with the minutiae of the day to day.  We have a very strong and experienced team in place which we have trained to embrace working with autonomy and accountability, therefore I do not need to continue to be as much the go-to person for everything.  I am enjoying having time to deepen my relationships with collectors, trusted art advisors, artists and colleagues, and more time to read and think in order to contribute to the growing need for original on-line content and social media of the gallery brought about by the impact of the pandemic.  

Anthony Gormley

 THE GALLERY HAS A ROSTER OF VERY IMPRESSIVE AND RESPECTED ARTISTS THAT INCLUDE ARTISTS WITH WHOM YOU HAVE HAD LONG WORKING RELATIONSHIPS,  INCLUDING JAMES CASEBERE, MARINA ABRAMOVIC, JULIAO SARMENTO, ANTONY GORMLEY, AND REBECCA HORN TO NAME A FEW.  HOW DO YOU ACCOUNT FOR THEIR LOYALTY TO THE GALLERY?

 It is one of our greatest strengths and is a result of Sean’s (who was trained as an artist) profound understanding of an artist’s nature, work, voice and thus place in the history of art.  He is like a music conductor that has engendered mutual loyalty.  The past few months have reminded us of this.

Marina Abramovic

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EXHIBITIONS OF THESE ARTISTS THAT RESONATE THE MOST STRONGLY WITH YOU AND WHY? There are too many to describe but what I can say is that I like complex and demanding exhibitions or installations which makes me think,  first about what I do not know instead of what I do, and push me to take the time to open my eyes and mind. 

Rebecca Horn

THE GALLERY HAS AN INTERNATIONAL ROSTER REPRESENTING A VERY DIVERSE CULTURAL SPECTRUM OF ARTISTS RANGING FROM THE CELEBRATED CHINESE PAINTER LIU WEI, JAPANESE MARIKO MORI, GERMAN PHOTOGRAPHER FRANK THIEL, AND BLACK AMERICAN ARTIST, KEHINDE WILEY.  HOW DO YOU, IN GENERAL, DECIDE ON REPRESENTING SOMEONE NEW?

 It is an intuitive process that requires being open to looking, being and staying informed and being spontaneous.   It is a time consuming but very important aspect of the activities of a gallery and its future.  We have tried different ways to go about doing this but in the end when I look back, I can say that a lot has to do with happenstance, patience, conviction and decisiveness.

IN OUR NEXT BLOG POST, WE WILL LEARN ABOUT THE PLANNING AND ARCHITECTURE OF THE CURRENT GALLERY AND ITS
PRESCIENT MOVE TO HUDSON YARDS!  PLEASE JOIN US.

A warm welcome to Cecile Panzieri, Senior Partner at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York

Cecile Panzieri
Senior Partner, Sean Kelly Gallery

 

 

 

Sean Kelly Gallery was founded by its British-born owner in 1991 and operated privately in SoHo until 1995 when its first public space opened at 43 Mercer Street. During these formative years, it established a reputation for diverse, intellectually driven, unconventional exhibitions. The original list of artists represented included Marina Abramović, James Casebere, Callum Innes, Joseph Kosuth and Julião Sarmento – exemplifying the Gallery’s commitment to presenting important, challenging contemporary art.

In 2001, Sean Kelly moved into a converted 7,000 square-foot industrial space on 29th Street in the Chelsea gallery district. The move to this new, spacious location enabled the Gallery to mount increasingly ambitious, museum-quality exhibitions to great critical acclaim. During its early period in Chelsea, the Gallery’s roster of artists expanded to include such notable figures as Iran do Espírito Santo, Antony Gormley, Rebecca Horn, and Frank Thiel. In the ensuing years, the Gallery undertook representation of Leandro Erlich, Johan Grimonprez, Laurent Grasso and Anthony McCall.

Module 2

In October 2012, Sean Kelly opened a new amazing 22,000 square foot space at 475 Tenth Avenue in an historic 1914 building. Award-winning architect Toshiko Mori designed the two-story gallery, which opened with an exhibition of work by Antony Gormley. Toshiko Mori was awarded the AIA Design Award in Interiors for her unique architectural approach to this Hudson Yards location. Since the gallery’s prescient move to Hudson Yards,  it continues to add internationally acclaimed artists to its roster, such as David Claerbout, Jose Dávila, Candida Höfer, Mariko Mori, and Sun Xun.

The LRFA blog is delighted to welcome the warm and charming Cecile Panzieri. Cecile came to America as a student, and her professional career path was transformed. She is now a partner at Sean Kelly and contributes her vast knowledge and intimate acquaintance of the work of each of the gallery artists with the museum curators and collectors who frequent their art fair booths and beautiful gallery space at 36th Street and 10th Avenue

https://www.skny.com/

CECILE, WELCOME TO THE LRFA BLOG AND THANK YOU FOR CONTRIBUTING THIS INTERVIEW. THESE ARE UNPREDICTABLE TIMES, AT BEST, AND THE LRFA BLOG IS EXCITED TO SPEAK WITH YOU  NOT ONLY ABOUT THE ILLUSTRIOUS 30-YEAR HISTORY OF SEAN KELLY BUT ALSO THE WAYS IN WHICH THE GALLERY HAS DEVELOPED 21st CENTURY WAYS TO SURVIVE AND THRIVE IN THE “NEW” DIGITAL ART WORLD.

Sean Kelly Gallery
475 Tenth Avenue
New York, NY

HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON A PROFESSION IN THE ART WORLD AND WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO REACH THAT GOAL?

I was born and grew up in Paris where I studied as well.  I have university degrees in Economics and Business Administration, as well as Masters’ degrees in Communication  and Visual Arts Administration.  The latter is from New York University which is how I came to the United States to pursue my dream of combining my love for the arts, especially the visual arts, with my penchant and natural inclination for business administration.  The trigger was a scholarship from the French chapter of the Rotary Club, and subsequently a graduate assistantship from NYU. 
Moving to the US to study changed my life!  I fell in love with New York City and became a US citizen in 2006.  The two year full time Master’s degree at NYU combined classes and internships. I interned in the Education Department at the Whitney Museum during the 1989 Whitney Biennial, in the  Art Advisory Department at the Museum of Modern (the department closed in 1996), the Visual Arts Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Galerie Lelong, New York. 


Laurent Grasso at Sean Kelly Gallery

DID YOU HAVE EXPOSURE TO THE ARTS AS A YOUNG WOMAN AND HAS THAT ALWAYS BEEN A SUBJECT OF INTEREST TO YOU?

Luckily, I did – thanks to my maternal grandparents who loved all art forms and collected fine art, and thanks to my parents, both music professors, who were very artistically inclined and curious.  My mother always made a point of carefully planning a stop to visit a museum, see an exhibition, a historical monument or sites whenever we went on a road trip.  My father loves to draw and make watercolors, something that he would do in the open air in Paris (he had favorite sites) whenever he had time and on vacation.  He continues to do so at the tender age of 93,  and mails drawings and watercolors to my daughter regularly.  Along the way, especially, whilst studying at NYU, I met wonderful instructors and peers who shaped and guided the beginning of my career in the art world.  

Sean Kelly and Kehinde Wiley
The Angel Orensanz Foundation

 

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST WORKING EXPERIENCE IN THE ART WORLD?

My first paid professional experience was at Galerie Lelong’s front desk in June 1990 where Mary Sabbatino had recently been hired as Director.  I was very fortunate to be mentored and to learn my craft from one of the smartest, most dedicated and outstanding art professionals. There I got to wear many hats during this formative period, including working closely with artists on exhibitions, catalogues, and selling art both in the gallery and at art fairs – at the time there was really only one major contemporary art fair in the US and it took place in May in Chicago.  Also the Nineties were a very difficult period economically – the art world was not spared, and the great recession from 1989 and the years following deeply affected it.  To survive, one had to be resilient, take risks, work hard and have fresh ideas.  Under Mary’s leadership, the gallery started to work with artists such as Petah Coyne, Andy Goldsworthy, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Krzysztof Wodiczko, as well as under-recognized artists from Latin America such as Alfredo Jaar, Jac Leirner, the Estate of Ana Mendieta, and Cildo Meireles.   The gallery presented ambitious exhibitions and installations with which I was deeply involved.  My love and passion for what I continue to do today was birthed there.
IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG, CECILE WILL SPEAK ABOUT STARTING AT SEAN KELLY GALLERY WHERE SHE HAS EVOLVED FROM A MEMBER OF THE GALLERY STAFF TO SENIOR PARTNER. BOTH SEAN KELLY AND CECILE SHARE A PASSION FOR ART THAT EXPANDS AND GROWS WITH EACH YEAR ALONG WITH THEIR KNOWLEDGE, ENTHUSIASM FOR BOTH SUPPORTING ESTABLISHED ARTISTS AND DISCOVERING NEW ONES.
PLEASE JOIN US!

 

 

Honoring the past and shaping the future, with Laura Lester, Director of Richard Gray Gallery

Laura Lester
Director
Gray Gallery

When Richard Gray died in 2018, he left an extraordinary legacy of commitment to art of the highest caliber and to the institutions that support it. Richard Gray opened his first gallery in 1963 in Chicago, becoming one of the first gallerist’s in the city to show work by some of the day’s most prominent artists. Gray was “equally clear-eyed about his life and career.” In 1996, under the aegis of  his son Paul Gray’s direction, the gallery opened a space on Madison Avenue in New York. In 2017, Richard Gray Gallery opened a second Chicago space. Known as the Gray Warehouse, it occupies 5,000 square feet and is located in the city’s West End neighborhood. Richard Gray Gallery now regularly shows work by some of the key artists of the past half-century, among them Alex Katz, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Theaster Gates, David Hockney, Dine, and Rashid Johnson.

Leon Polk Smith Foundation
Untitled (No. 7613), 1976
Paint on canvas

In addition to his work for the gallery, Gray was involved with various art institutions, both ones specific to Chicago and to the entire U.S. art world at large. He served as past president of the Art Dealers Association of America and  of the Chicago Art Dealers Association. He was a trustee at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art, among other institutions. Gray was also vice chairman of the Friends of the Farnsworth House, where he helped oversee the preservation of its Mies van der Rohe–designed building. In 2008, the Art Institute named a wing after Gray and his wife, Mary; the museum’s holdings include prints and drawings by Peter Paul Rubens, Eugène Delacroix, Henri Matisse, and others that previously belonged to the couple.

ARTnews, Alex Greenberger, May 16, 2018

To continue this exceptional history, Gray continues to expand, add to its artists’ roster and continue the traditions of its’ founder. Following a 26-year tenure at Christie’s where she served as International Director of Impressionist and Modern Art, Sharon Kim joined Gray as a partner. Laura Lester joined the gallery shortly thereafter as Director to add her experience and knowledge of post-war and contemporary art and its most prominent collectors to the mix. “I am delighted Laura has joined Gray,” Kim says. “Her passion, knowledge and expertise are highly regarded by all who have worked with her and I look forward to reuniting with her in our New York gallery.”

https://www.richardgraygallery.com/exhibitions

Today, the LRFA blog is honored to speak with Laura Lester about the present and future plans of Gray gallery.

Jaune Plensa
Gray Warehouse, Chicago
Winter 2020

LAURA, THANK YOU FOR THIS INTERVIEW. WHO ARE SOME OF THE ARTISTS THAT GRAY REPRESENTS?

Gray has a long and direct working relationship with a roster of contemporary legends such as David Hockney, Jim Dine, Jaume Plensa, Theaster Gates, and Alex Katz as well as wonderful estate relationships including the Leon Polk Smith Foundation. Gray also has a stalwart nearly sixty-year history with many of the giants of European Modernism and American Post-War, such as Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Alexander Calder, Jean Dubuffet, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Motherwell, Joan Mitchell, Agnes Martin, and Cy Twombly.

DO YOU HAVE A HISTORY WITH SOME OF THE ARTISTS AND WHICH ONES ARE THE MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU?
As my experience is mainly in the Post-War and Modern secondary market, Gray’s deep and well-established roots in this area are a really fruitful platform for the work I do with my clients.

Theaster Gates
Highway with Mountain, 2019
Rubber, tar and wood

DOES THE GALLERY DIVIDE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE DIALOGUE WITH ITS ARTISTS AMONGST THE STAFF? IF SO, WHICH ARTISTS DO YOU WORK WITH DIRECTLY IN TERMS OF SCHEDULING THEIR INTERNATIONAL GALLERY AND MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS?

We are a small team and work together collaboratively, but we certainly divide and conquer in terms of expertise and experience. I have co-directors that focus mainly on Gray’s contemporary program and also serve as liaisons with our living artists. My concentration will be mainly on our secondary market program and our estates.

DO THE ARTISTS EXHIBIT IN BOTH THE CHICAGO AND THE NEW YORK GALLERIES OR DO SOME EXHIBIT EXCLUSIVELY IN EITHER CITY?

Programming is planned for New York or Chicago based mostly on which of our gallery spaces would best serve the scope and scale of the exhibition, as well as the timing of other events in that particular city such as art fairs or auctions that will bring visitors in. Our gallery in New York is a jewel box in a historic Upper East Side gallery building, best suited to more intimate presentations, as is our gallery on the 38th floor of the John Hancock building in Chicago. Our newest space, Gray Warehouse, is a large-scale gallery west of the Chicago loop that allows us to mount ambitious presentations similar to that of a Chelsea gallery. We hope that our programming in Chicago and New York balances and compliments each other.

Alex Katz: Flowers
Untitled, yellow-green, 2019
Oil on linen

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS IN WHICH THE GALLERY PLANS IS USING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY TO LAUNCH  ONLINE PLATFORMS FOR YOUR ARTISTS?

We have had great success utilizing our online viewing rooms, either for presenting a single important artwork or to stage full online exhibitions with multiple works. We put together a beautiful online-only exhibition of paintings by the late Chicago based artist Evelyn Statsinger; our online viewing room allowed us to contextualize the works with archival images, a text and biographical information about the artist. We plan to continue to use this technology to augment or complement our physical exhibition program.

THE GALLERY COVERS AN ENORMOUS RANGE OF ARTISTS AND PERIODS FROM IMPRESSIONISM AND MDOERN TO CONTEMPORARY. ARE YOU FOCUSING SPECIFICALLY ON CONTEMPORARY AS DIRECTOR OF THE GALLERY?

My focus will be on Post-War and Modern American art, but I will assist my clients in acquiring from all facets of our program.

Ewan Gibbs
Chicago, 2013
Pencil and pinpricks on paper

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PLANS FOR THE FUTURE DO YOU HAVE?

I am looking forward to the post-COVID era, when we are able to ambitiously plan exhibitions and gatherings at the gallery again, as well as call on our clients in person and visit their collections! For now, FaceTime will have to do.

HOW DO YOU PLAN TO ENGAGE THE NOW GLOBAL DEMOGRAPHIC OF COLLECTORS WHO EXPERIENCE ART DIGITALLY AS MUCH AS THEY DO PHYSICALLY PARTICULARLY WITH THE NARROWING DOWN OF ART FAIRS AT LEAST AT PRESENT?

We will continue to be innovative, and ambitious, with our online presentations utilizing all the technological tools at our disposal—beautiful photography, well-produced videos, etc. We have also implemented safety and distancing protocol at all our galleries that will allow clients to come in and have an in-person viewing when they are comfortable.

Reframing Minimalism McArthur Binion and his Contemporaries in New York
Gray New York
October 22 – December 18, 2020

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST HOPES FOR YOUR ROLE AS DIRECTOR?

Gray is one of the oldest and most respected names in our business- it is a great responsibility and privilege to carry on the gallery’s legacy of excellence and expertise. I look forward to helping our clients build and maintain world-class collections, bringing great works to market and organizing exhibitions of beauty and lasting importance.

LAURA, THIS HAS BEEN A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE, GETTING TO KNOW YOU AND GRAY GALLERY BETTER. THE LRFA BLOG LOOKS FORWARD TO ALL OF YOUR FUTURE PROGRESS AND SUCCESS AS DIRECTOR OF RICHARD GRAY. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CONTRIBUTE.