Kyle DeWoody is a co-founder and the creative director of GREY AREA, a project that explores the undefined space between art and design with an online store (shopgreyarea.com) and a new store/gallery/project space in SoHo.
Your mother Beth DeWoody is a big collector, but how did you personally get involved in contemporary art?
My mom is an avid collector and my father is an artist, so I grew up surrounded by art, but it wasn’t until I was 14 that I really got pulled in by art intellectually and emotionally. The real trigger was one of William Kentridge’s films from his series 9 Drawings for Projection. The political and social themes were affecting but the technique was what really stuck with me. He’d use the same sheet of paper for successive charcoal drawings, so each scene had ghosts from the previous one. That’s when I became aware of process and the artist’s hand.
I never would have guessed that I’d be working in the art world though. It always seemed to hierarchical and serious. But I just love working with creative people and GREY AREA let’s me do so without subscribing to the system. We get to play outside it, and I think that’s what draws so many artists to us..
The Grey Area space was once Laurie Simmons studio?
Yes, it’s been confirmed, our current space was once the shared studio of Laurie Simmons and Carol Dunham and the back was sometimes rented to Cindy Sherman. So the history is pretty incredible. I’ve often been nostalgic for the New York of the late ‘70s and ‘80s when SoHo was overrun with artists and the art world seemed a more organic and perhaps pure thing. We’re excited to be part of the movement to bring art back to SoHo.
An artwork you live with?
I live with a lot of art, but one piece I constantly interact with is Anne Collier’s Woman with a Camera (Cheryl Tiegs/Olympus 1), 2008. It’s hanging in my entrance, so literally every time I walk through my front door Cheryl Tiegs takes a photo of me…
Where do you stand on art clutter?
I’d like to think that if I had a bigger apartment I’d have less “art clutter” as you call it, but I’m sure I would fill it up just as easily. If it’s curated in an intentional and beautiful way that gives each work its due, I don’t think it is clutter. I just really enjoy finding interesting things whether its art, books or found objects, and to be able to basque in their glory.
That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a minimalist environment or fantasize about being one of those people who can fit their life in a suitcase. I do. One’s things don’t make a person who they are, but they do make an apartment into a home.
An upcoming show you’re excited to see?
Part of the reason Anne Collier is on my mind is because her show at Anton Kern (April 5th – May 12th). Then there’s Cindy’s show at MoMA which I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t had time to go see yet, but I’m a huge fan. I do have to mention our upcoming music-themed show at GREY AREA, opening April 28th. It’s going to be rad with music-inspired works and a line-up of awesome performances.
Artist quote or words to live by?
“My actions are my only true belongings.” – Thick Nhat Hanh