Jessica Silverman is the owner and founder of Silverman Gallery in San Francisco, CA.
What first got you interested in contemporary art?
Art is something that has always been a part of my life. My grandparents were collectors, so I definitely had exposure on that level. However, I also pursued it actively—books, museums, anything related to visual culture. I always knew I wanted to be involved in it, so I went to art school and eventually started curating shows in my studio. From there, the leap to opening my gallery was the next logical step.
Tell us about an artwork you live with.
I’m actually just redoing my apartment and putting up a lot of the art that I’ve amassed over the years. For me, this is a great experience, because it’s not so much a collection of pieces, but a way to revisit the many friendships and creative relationships that have developed over the last seven years. There’s something really personal about it, and I can trace my own evolution. There’s a great construction by Julian Hoeber, who I’ve known since Otis College, also an early piece by Hugh Scott Douglas, a painting by Dashiell Manley who we are showing later this month and a small collage by Hayal Pozanti—our newest addition to the roster. For me, collecting is always about connecting to a larger practice, it’s a sign of support.
The last show you saw that really grabbed you and why?
That’s a tricky question. It’s the nature of the business to be exposed to a lot of art, and sometimes it becomes difficult to be truly affected. However, I was in Cologne in April, and saw a show at the Kolumba Museum on art and meditation that really lingered with me. The space was really amazing, and the work placed in new and unexpected contexts. As a dealer you also find the idea of silence very seductive and ultimately precious. I also recently curated a show at the gallery, which came from an idea I had been mulling for quite some time on the erotics of the art object. The show is called “Erogenous Zones,” and it’s an attempt to think about questions of pleasure and enjoyment in the experience of art—two things that sometimes fall out of consideration.
Artist quote or words to live by?
It’s not a quote, but I’ve always been inspired by the spirit of Fluxus, and the idea of using art to re-cast life through these playful interventions. It’s just about looking at the world slightly askew, and it has a profound effect. Materially, I’ve always loved ephemera, artist publications and things that trouble the integrity of the traditional art object. Fluxus was always invested in this as a project, finding new avenues to circulate art, and that’s something I find very relevant.
An artist more people should get acquainted with.
Christopher Badger is an artist I’ve working with since the beginning. We both went to Otis College together, and he has one of the most rigorous and intriguing practices around. A lot of the work is based on mathematics and complex algorithms, but the final results are open-ended and incredibly poetic. He’s definitely someone to watch.