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