Hilary Schaffner and Ryan Wallace


Hilary Schaffner and Ryan Wallace. Photo courtesy Eric T. White.

Curator Hilary Schaffner and artist Ryan Wallace founded Halsey McKay Gallery in East Hampton, New York in 2011.

What were your formative experiences with contemporary art?

RW: Growing up, I was exposed to art through museums, music culture, and skateboarding. As a result, Caravaggio, Rothko and Raymond Pettibon all get equal shine. I collected baseball cards and made drawings obsessively as a child, so creating and collecting objects and images has been with me for a long time. I received my BFA from RISD.


Work by Adam Marnie, Matt Kenny, and Georgia Dickie in Ryan Wallace's personal collection

HS: Growing up in NYC was very influential. I was at museums all the time as a little girl. Calder’s circus at The Whitney, the Impressionists at the Metropolitan, and the architecture of the Guggenheim all left a solid mark on my early memories. I don’t think I would be doing what I am doing now without those experiences.


Work by Andrew Kuo and Sara Greenberger Rafferty in Hilary's private collection

You founded Halsey McKay in 2011 with the goal of bringing cutting edge contemporary art to East Hampton. How would you define the East End art scene today? Has it evolved with your programming or vice versa?

HS: I am not sure there is a definable scene. Everyone is doing their own thing. We saw the opportunity to fill the emerging/contemporary niche. The history of the area is so rich–there have been interesting exhibition spaces out East for a long time. To contextualize Halsey McKay as a part of that feels great.

In terms of our programming, we don’t really think about the scene or what would work in the Hamptons. Our location is irrelevant to those decisions, though sometimes the artists end up thinking about it when they are making work for a show. It’s always exciting to see how it can be interpreted.


Patrick Brennan and Jennie Jieun Lee at Halsey McKay, installation view, 2015.

How do your respective practices as artists inform your positions as curators?

RW: Being a person who makes things certainly helps to understand what work is well-conceived versus what is just well-packaged. The camaraderie that exists amongst artists is different than the more straightforward dealer/artist relationship. Being artists and peers first has let the gallery progress and our network grow quicker than it may have if we were working from a strictly business approach to studio visits. It also really helps keep expectations realistic which, in turn, I hope allows for more creative freedom for everyone involved.

HS: When I was in graduate school at SVA, I felt a much stronger gravitational pull towards organizing and thinking about other artists work than my own. It just felt better and the gallery grew out of a desire to support the careers of people we believe in. Being an artist at one point connects me with the challenges of making work and how much care is required to bring it out into the world.


Ryan Wallace, LD50, Romer Young Gallery, 2015.

Ellie Rines of the recently closed 55 Gansevoort has joined your team. What can we look forward to as part of this expansion?

RW: We started the gallery because we had a large group of friends whose work we wanted to share.  Ellie brings a broader group into the fold, as she is connected to an audience and groups of artists that we may not have stumbled across otherwise. I think that Ellie, by nature, brings our organic approach to the programming.


Joseph Hart, Diamonds, 2015, acrylic, oil crayon, ink, fabric, paper on linen, 50" x 38"

Can you tell us about the work by Joseph Hart that Halsey McKay recently exhibited at EXPO Chicago?

RW: We exhibited a new series of works on linen by Joseph Hart. Previously, he had primarily painted, drawn and collaged on paper so these are an exciting extension of his work. The linen works exploit the strengths of his paper work, but the added step of mounting one surface to the other contributes some really nice subtle noise to the surfaces and it’s great that the works were not behind glass.


Ian Cooper, Off/Off (Double Barre), 2015, waxed canvas, ballet barres, felt, vinyl, spray primer, bias tape, magnets, thread and hardware, 76" x 115" x 9.5" (36" x 75" x 9.5" - each panel)

Your upcoming fall exhibition roster is a series of duo shows: Ian Cooper & Takeshi Murata opens October 3 and Dylan Bailey & Aaron Bobrow in November. What’s most interesting to you about the interplay between these artists’ bodies of work?

RW: We pair all of the shows according to a shifting but conscious logic. Ian Cooper and Takeshi Murata both hint at the absurd while being masters of craft and presentation. They marry ideas and execution with similarly idiosyncratic attentiveness.

Dylan Bailey and Aaron Bobrow have both been on our radar through Ben Blatt and Matt Kenny, whom Halsey McKay also represents. Ellie is close with both Dylan and Aaron and has worked with them before, so now seems like the appropriate time to show them in our space.

Ian Cooper, Timeline (Centrefold), 2015, birch plywood, poplar dowels, spray primer, latex paint and hardware, 104" x 69" x 4"

Ben Whine

Ben Whine is the Associate Director at SculptureCenter. Previously, Ben held positions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New Museum of Contemporary Art, and Tate.

How did you first become involved in contemporary art?

I grew up around art. My grandmother was a painter and my mother studied art history, so museum and gallery visits were a part of family life. My mother, who is from Basel, Switzerland, used to be quizzed by her father on every work in the modern galleries at the Kunstmuseum and that became part of my upbringing as well.

In the early 90s when I was still living in London, I read about what would become Tate Modern and I decided to set a goal of working there when it opened. I got my undergraduate degree in art history and a post-graduate degree in museum studies. After a brief detour into youth work, I became Patrons Manager at Tate in 1999 and was part of the team that opened the new museum. I am only slightly superstitious, but several times I have proven to myself that if you put something out into the universe, it can come to pass!


SculptureCenter exterior as designed by architect Andrew Berman. Photograph by Michael Moran.

With booths at NADA Miami Beach 2014 and Frieze New York 2015, SculptureCenter has an active presence at art fairs, which is unique considering its nonprofit status. How do art fairs function to promote the mission?

I wouldn’t be the first to say that more and more, the business of the art world takes place at fairs. It’s important to see and be seen and, by holding a booth at a fair, SculptureCenter can reach a lot of people. We’re able to raise funds by selling limited editions and works that have been donated to us by artists and we also get to talk about who we are and what we do.

For NADA Miami Beach this year we will be showcasing two new limited editions by Anthea Hamilton, whose solo show will be up at SculptureCenter at the same time. The booth will be a great way of introducing Anthea’s practice to a wider audience.


ScuptureCenter booth at Frieze NY. Photographed by Ben Whine

Tell us more about SculptureCenter’s upcoming exhibitions with Anthea Hamilton and Gabriel Sierra.

They are both great examples of what SculptureCenter does best. It’s Anthea’s first solo exhibition in the US and Gabriel’s first major solo show in New York. Each is creating new, site-specific work and SculptureCenter’s unique spaces and open approach have allowed them to come up with spectacular projects.

The centerpiece of Anthea’s exhibition, Project for Door, is inspired by a model made by Italian designer Gaetano Pesce in 1972. Comprised of a man’s naked bottom, it was originally intended to be a doorway for a Manhattan skyscraper but the work was never realized. SculptureCenter’s space will be an amazing context for Anthea’s large-scale sculptural reinterpretation of the model, as well as her other work.

Gabriel’s installation will modify and restructure our beloved lower level galleries, confusing distinctions between the architecture, the institution, and the works that comprise the exhibition. I think that seasoned and new visitors alike will be challenged and delighted by the combination of alternative and existing floor plans, signage, and objects in the space.


Anthea Hamilton, Venice ~ The Espresso Edit, 2011. Video still. Courtesy the Artist

Do you live with art? If so, by which artists?

It’s interesting that part of my job now is producing and selling benefit editions because they form the bulk of works I have collected. I think it’s the best, most affordable way for an art world worker bee like me to live with art, and it’s nice to have pieces from institutions where I have worked or visited. Since being in New York I have acquired a Rob Pruitt panda from the New Museum and an Anthony Lepore photograph from the Guggenheim.

My partner and I are both into maps and we have a number from places we have visited, but we also have some great artworks based on maps, like Cornelia Parker’s Meteorite Landing on St. Paul’s and Michael Druks’ conceptual self-portrait of the topography of his psyche. Plus a couple of pieces based on maps of the night sky, by William Kentridge and SAM3.

I also have a couple of pieces that remind me of the art I grew up with, including a pen and ink drawing by Scottie Wilson, who was a friend of my grandfather.

What upcoming shows are you most looking forward to this fall?

Anthea Hamilton: Lichen! Libido! Chastity! and Gabriel Sierra: Numbers in a Room at SculptureCenter, of course! Photo-Poetics: An Anthology at the Guggenheim is going to be really good, and I’m also looking forward to their Agnes Martin show. Frank Stella: A Retrospective at the Whitney. Rashid Johnson at the Drawing Center. Rachel Whiteread at Luhring Augustine. Bridget Riley at David Zwirner. And I’ll be excited to see Nari Ward at the Pérez Art Museum while I’m in Miami.


Gabriel Sierra, Untitled (ALLÍ/THERE), 2014. Courtesy the artist

Sophie Sevigny


Sophie Sevigny at home

Sophie Sevigny is an artist living and working in New York City. In 2011, she founded SerpentSea, a company that makes mats and other wares from reclaimed marine rope.

When did you first start making art?

When I was a child, I created hundreds of imaginary portraits of imprisoned women. I painted their imaginary children, parents, and their own portraits in various stages of life. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I think I was the best artist as a prolific and innocent child.


Sevigny's recent paintings in her studio

SerpentSea is defined by its unique medium, which is reclaimed marine rope. What drew you to the material?

I like working with the rope because of its limitations. Each mat I create is completely unique but there is only so much variation between the ropes. I order the rope by weight, so every time I receive a new box the colors are a surprise and I must work with what I am given. I have to constantly find new patterns. When I receive a new rope variation that I haven’t seen before the possibilities are exciting. If I happen to dislike the rope, I still have to make it work. Often in the end, these are the mats I like best.


Serpent Sea mats made from reclaimed marine rope

You interviewed Josh Smith while working at Luhring Augustine in 2007. Was it a coincidence that several years later Paul decided to commission his work for Paul’s Baby Grand?

It was less coincidence and more of a natural fit. I had met Josh through Luhring Augustine and we became friends. Then I introduced him to Paul and they became friends as well. However, it was a coincidence that Josh happened to be making his palm tree paintings while Paul was working on the design for Baby Grand.


Work by Josh Smith in the Sevigny's personal collection

Do you and Paul live with art? If so, by which artists?

Yes! We live with work mainly by our friends or artists with whom I worked at Luhring Augustine like Josh, Reinhard Mucha, and Rirkrit Tiravanija. I also brought a big painting with me from Austria by one of my favorite Austrian artists Peter Sengl.


Work by Peter Sengl in the Sevigny's personal collection

Favorite art book?

Anything by Sophie Calle!


Work by Rirkrit Tiravanija in the Sevigny's personal collection

Phillip Leeds


Phillip Leeds with "Phillip Leeds Big Shot" shot by Jonathan Mannion

Phillip Leeds is a native New Yorker, libra, southpaw and a dad.

Your career has been defined by reinvention, as you have continually found ways to create crossover in music, fashion, lifestyle, and now photography with your portrait book with Rizzoli. What is the fundamental thread between your projects?

Throughout my life, I have been exposed to a lot of amazing subcultures. It’s what I consider a kaleidoscope of influences that myself and my co-workers share.

I grew up in New York in the 1970s and was a teenager here in the 80s. My father, in addition to being a major art collector, was in the music business and took me to shows when I was a kid. He managed Blondie, so my first show/backstage memory was when they opened up for Iggy Pop at the Palladium back when it was a concert venue. As soon as I was old enough, I started going to CBGBs and got into the NYC hardcore scene. It was the wild west in NYC at the time, so from a very young age, I could easily go out to clubs, drink, stay out all night and get into all sorts of interesting and eye-opening experiences. I was also getting into graffiti (I was a toy) but was able to meet other writers at CBGBs and by hanging out in Central Park and Washington Square Park. Then I discovered hip-hop and that really became a major influence in my world.

I began expanding my horizons after high school, which is when I moved out of NYC – first to Boston and then San Francisco for college. After college I worked at Def Jam, which was incredible in terms of gaining experience and making connections that shaped my whole career. Afterwards, I had the amazing opportunity to travel the world as a tour manager. I started with punk and heavy metal bands and later for Kelis, N.E.R.D, and Pharrell.

Through NYC, music, and graffiti, I met a lot of the people who have continued to be the amazing creative forces who taught and influenced my life.


Phillip’s great-grandfather (right in photo) shot by Man Ray, 1926

Can you tell us more about what to expect from your portrait series?

My portrait series is just an amazing, completely unplanned, organic opportunity that I am truly fortunate to stumble into. I have always been into photography, but for whatever reason, it was a hobby and not something I was ever trying to pursue as a profession. I have a bunch of cameras – a Twin Lens Reflex, a Polaroid SX-70, and a bunch of Polaroid land cameras. I would travel with them and shoot for my own personal enjoyment. I loved the instant gratification of the polaroids and the fact that the photograph would be 1-of-1.

In 2004, I went to an opening for Steidl/Edition 7L‘s release of Warhol: Red Books, which was an exhibit of Andy Warhol’s Polaroid portraits in conjunction with the release of the set of books. At the end of the exhibition was Andy’s camera, a Polaroid Big Shot, which is one of the more unusual looking cameras you will ever see. I went home, hopped on eBay bought one, and I started shooting friends who would come to my house.

In the mid-2000s, I started working for Billionaire Boys Club and I kept the Big Shot at the showroom and started taking photos of all the celebrity visitors. I shot Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, Andre Leon Talley, Tyler the Creator, and DMC (from Run DMC) there. Again, I was just doing this for me, I had zero aspirations for the photos beyond having them for myself. Snoop was actually the first person to ask why I didn’t have a book deal, to which I replied that he should be my book agent. Several years later in 2013, through Mark McNairy, I met Ian Luna from Rizzoli and we started talking about doing something and that is when I really starting thinking about the photos as more than just something for me. At that point I started being more proactive and would take my camera to the subjects instead of only shooting who came to my office.

Phillip Leeds-SnoopDogg

"Snoop Big Shot" by Phillip Leeds


"Andre Leon Talley Big Shot" by Phillip Leeds

The aesthetic that Billionaire Boys Club created really defined the era of streetwear fashion. What were your inspirations during that time?

Most of that aesthetic really stemmed from minds of Pharrell, Nigo, and SK8THG. We were inspired by vintage Americana, outer space, and cartoons. Every idea I had, I passed to SK8THG, who turned it into the magic.


Jeff Koons Puppy (1982 Dried Flowers) and Ruffy, Phillip Leeds Puppy (2006)

You have a collection that includes pieces from Barry McGee, KAWS, and Jeff Koons. What was the first piece?

Wow, that’s tough. I guess it would be pieces my father gave me as a teenager, which were photographs by Andre Kertesz and O. Winston Link, as well as a Peter Max print of Mick Jagger. Subsequently, I was lucky enough to write graffiti with Barry McGee, KAWS, and ESPO. I ended up acquiring pieces of theirs just from being around them.

The largest work I have is actually a piece of Barry’s that I found. He had painted a huge blood red mural on the plywood construction wall for the site where Yerba Buena Center of the Arts was being built in San Francisco. When the construction finished, all of the panels from the mural were put in the trash. We salvaged a few of them and I somehow managed to get them from San Francisco to NYC.


Barry McGee, 1993, pencil and gesso on paper housed in wood and metal letter press print tray

In addition to your photography book, you’re also now a Partner at Agency for Higher. Can you elaborate on your role there?

I was at Billionaire Boys Club for a long time and felt like I wanted to work on something where I had ownership. For some time, I had followed the rise of medical marijuana and the debate around it. I have been a cannabis enthusiast since I was 13, and have always been pro-legalization. I read an article in Forbes about the type of businesses that would grow and benefit around the emerging cannabis industry and the number one industry was marketing and branding. Then a light bulb went off in my head. I realized I was built for this. It was my Silicon Valley! So, I set my course towards making it happen. I started talking to some peers in the marketing world and then ran into my long time friend “Hawaii” Mike Salman. We had similar interests and goals so we decided to partner up and start Agency For Higher.

Follow Phillip on Instagram.

Scott Friedman

Scott Friedman is an art collector & private jeweler based in New York.

How did you become interested in contemporary art?

I was always intrigued by fine art. I remember my grandmother showing me artist books as a kid. I would look through them for hours, studying everything from Picasso to Warhol. I may have not understood what I was looking at, but I knew I enjoyed it. Now in my adult years, I’ve come to appreciate that special time as it shaped my interest in collecting contemporary art today.

What do you read and pay attention to in order to stay current in the art world? Who are your art world influences?

I start my day with a quick read through of the Observer, Artnet and Artsy news. I find that these publications keep me informed on what is going on in the art world on a daily basis. I enjoy studying art market trends and paying very close attention to the auctions. I find that this keeps me ahead of the curve when it comes to collecting. I find the most influence comes from other collectors who give me feedback on my collecting decisions. Also, I’ve been fortunate to work with great art advisors and gallerists who have provided me with insight and guidance in order to build a meaningful collection.


Angela Bulloch show at Mary Boone Gallery

How did you begin collecting art? Is there anything you would change about the current art market?

I would call myself a ‘born collector’ in that I have a gene which finds passion in acquiring objects. From a very young age I’ve had collections which included coins, old keys, matchbox cars and vintage Absolut Vodka ads. I see how my love of building collections has evolved into my focus of collecting contemporary art today. I find the current art market as exciting as ever. With record breaking sales, young artist’s secondary markets soaring and museums expanding, there is no shortage of excitement. If I could change one thing, it would be to have things slow down a bit. The art world seems like it is speeding 100 mph. As a young collector it kind of makes your head spin.


Kasper Sonne, "TXC77", 2014

When you discover an artist you want to collect how do you make contact with them?

I find the best way to gain access to the artists I want to collect is to go through their galleries or representatives. This helps both the artist establish themselves and also supports the gallery. As a collector you should build relationships for the long run. I believe in the artists who I collect and want them to have long lasting careers, which in today’s market is attainable by being part of a strong gallery program.


Chris Succo "Tattoo Yourself Wherever You Like #3", 2013

Does your collection have a particular theme or interest?

My eye tends to move toward processed based painting. My collection features young emerging artists who employ a lot of texture in their practice. I am trying to tell a story with my collection, so at the moment I am focusing on themes of love, excess and nostalgia. An art collection is very personal and should reflect the collector as much as the time they live in.

How do you use social media as an art consumer? What does Instagram expose about the art market?

I find that social media is a great tool for discovering new art and also gauging how certain artists are gaining momentum within the art world. I look to see who is posting about whom and what gallery shows are most posted about. Instagram is one of my favorite networks. I keep busy maintaining both my personal profile @sfriedz and my art profile@rare_concept where I like to share my art world experiences.

Henry Relph


Works by Lucien Smith, Wes Lang, Nick Darmstaedter, Aurel Schmidt, Brent Wadden and Mark Flood in Henry's collection.

Henry Relph is an international DJ and an art collector based in London.

How does traveling the world as a DJ affect your relationship with contemporary art?

I am very lucky to have traveled the world for work and I always try to drop into shows or museums in the cities that I visit along the way. Sometimes it’s a short layover so I see what I can on the fly. I will always remember spotting an Os Gêmeos street mural in Mumbai from the inside of my cab. New York is my favorite city to visit specifically to see art. The level and variety of content is just incomparable to any other city: one day you’re at blue chip galleries in Chelsea, the next visiting studios in Bushwick. Not to mention the vast network of collectors and artists to meet up with in between.

What was the first piece in your collection? How has your approach to collecting changed over the years?

I think the first serious work in my collection was a gouache on paper by Jo Jackson. It was a commission and the start of my journey into the art world. Jo is part of the Mission School movement and also wife to Chris Johanson. Over time, I’ve definitely learned to be more patient when it comes to building a collection. Generally, I think my approach to collecting has stayed pretty consistent: do your research, trust your gut and above all else, only buy what you love.


Jo Jackson, "Untitled" 2009, gouache on paper (32 x 43 in)

How has collecting fostered unique relationships and experiences in your life?

For me art is a universal language and collecting is a lifelong commitment. Through collecting I’ve met fantastic people, had unforgettable experiences and formed wonderful relationships along the way. As much as I love to visit an artist’s studio, it’s just as exciting to visit other collectors’ homes. There’s a sense of anxiousness before arriving. You’re wondering what they’re going to have and what you’re going to want to take away with you! I’ll never forget the experience of a private tour of the home of collector Dakis Joannou. I was so excited by it all that I don’t think I said anything for the first 30 minutes.


Henry Relph

What are your favorite resources to find out about what’s happening in the art world?

You mean apart from ART YO? : ) Instagram is my go-to source. It’s exposed me to more content than ever before and lets me subscribe to what’s happening right now in the art world. More uniquely, you get to see art from many different perspectives – from curators, collectors, galleries and the artists themselves. It’s as close as you can get without actually flying in to see the art in person. I’d have to say IG definitely helps me make better decisions about which pieces to buy.

I’m also a big fan of the good old fashioned face-to-face meet and greets. Art dinners and openings are a great way of forging relationships and catching up with people. I also try and visit as many studios as possible, because I find that spending time with an artist in the place they work can really help you to understand their thought process.


Eddie Martinez, "Untitled" 2014, oil, enamel, spray paint, tarp transfer, collaged R+F wrapper on canvas (40 x 30 in)

Are there any upcoming shows you’re excited about?

Yes! So many to mention. Some that I am particularly excited about are Katherine Bernhardt at Venus Over Manhattan in NYC, Alex Becerra at Levy.Delval, Neil Raitt at Nicelle Beauchene, Michael Rey at Office Baroque, Torey Thornton at Stuart Shave/Modern Art and Eddie Martinez‘s first show with Mitchell-Innes & Nash.

Follow Henry on Instagram and at www.henryrelph.com. Photos by Issy Croker.

Adarsha Benjamin and Eli Consilvio


Artist/curator Adarsha Benjamin and art advisor Eli Consilvio founded MAMA Gallery in Los Angeles in 2014.

Can you talk about the beginnings of MAMA Gallery? Since the opening in 2014, what has evolved?

We are still in the beginnings of MAMA. It has definitely been a roller coaster ride. We are learning how to enjoy it all. So much has evolved in such a short time and everything feels like it is coming together. From relationships to exhibitions, the pieces feel like they are falling into place a bit easier than they were early on.


I read that you considered opening an online gallery instead of a physical space. What did you like about that idea? Why did you decide against it?

MAMA was actually created from an idea of a single exhibition. We both had the initial desire to be as nomadic as possible. The idea was to create exhibitions that would travel the world. We liked the idea that we could be everywhere and not be strapped to a brick and mortar building. There was never the goal to solely be online and sell work, we are very physical people but some of us (Adarsha) are also very nomadic. We enjoy creating and expressing ideas and we enjoy doing that through exhibiting works by artists we love being around. There is no better thing to do. Having a brick and mortar building that we call MAMA is just the beginning. We still intend to travel exhibitions, both physically and virtually.


How did you meet Cole Sternberg? What sort of projects have you worked on together?

EC: I met Cole Sternberg seven years ago the day I moved into the National Biscuit Company building where he was living. Cole and I have been working on projects of some nature ever since we met, including a performance at a private residence during Miami Basel, a film in the Hamptons during a residency and his exhibition at Paris Photo.


Adarsha, can you tell us about your print publication, AUTRE? How has that developed over time?

About 7 years ago I started a publication with my friend Oliver Kupper, called Audio Video Disco and we only put out one issue. Oliver started Pas Un Autre (the online version) and from there we started putting out the print publication together. It’s really a labor of love, as both Oliver and I are analog purists who love film, records, typewriters, newspapers… And not in an ironic “we got them at Urban Outfitters” kind of way. We both were raised in the 90′s, the era before the Internet. I learned to take photos on film, I wrote all my first poems on typewriters, as did Oliver, and we loved magazines and New York Times on Sunday mornings. So, a print publication is something that speaks very close to our heart. I’ve shot all the covers and they have all been on film, and we will continue to put them out… as irregularly as we can.


Can you give us a sneak peak into something you’re both working on or planning at the moment?

We are currently working on a sound performance with Jonathan Bepler as well as a gallery expansion. We are also planning a very exciting fall show with Adam Tullie, Luckey Remington, Chris Vasell and Devendra Banhart.


Do you live with art? If so, by which artists?

EC: I live very much surrounded by art at all times. Hanging at home now is (of course) Cole Sternberg, Garry Winogrand who my father printed for, Henry Wessel Jr., Bert Rodriguez, Peter Beard, Phil Frost, Louis Faurer, James Georgopoulos, Melvin Sokolsky, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and my father Thomas Consilvio.

AB: Art is for sure everywhere. Some of favorite pieces in my house are by Lola Rose Thompson, Adam Tullie, Cole Sternberg, James Georgopoulos and Jena Malone. I also have a lot of amazing drawings by my 2 year old daughter, those are obviously the best.


Walter Robinson


Walter Robinson photographed by Peter Bellamy in 1984

Walter Robinson is a painter who has exhibited his work at Metro Pictures, Haunch of Venison and other galleries. He is an art critic who was founding editor of Artnet Magazine (1996-2012), and who also served as a contributor to Art in America (1980-1996). During 1973-77 he co-published and co-edited Art-Rite magazine. Shop Robinson’s print on Exhibition A here.

You are known first and foremost as a painter, as well as the former editor-in-chief of the online platform Artnet for 16 years. Can you describe your experience of having a role on ‘both sides’ of the art world?

For years my stock answer to this question was that critics get to talk about everything, while artists talk about one thing only — themselves. Now that I have the privilege to go to my studio every day, I wonder why I spent so many hours in front of a computer. Being an artist is simply more fun. It’s true that writing IS thinking — the ideas come into being as a part of the process of producing a text. Art-making is also thinking, but of a more amorphous kind. I’m not sure how to define it — is it more meditative, or less structured, or somehow unhinged from language?


Walter Robinson, "Soup" 2015, acrylic on canvas (16 x 20 in)

How has your style of painting evolved throughout your life? What influences may have contributed to your style?

Origin stories should be simple, and mine begins with pulp paperback covers from the ’40s and ’50s.  I wanted to be able to paint like that. So the style was sexy, commercial, no longer fashionable, illustrative — anything but “avant-garde.”

Theoretically, the style should simply be denotative; it shouldn’t really matter too much how the thing is done. I think David Salle has a very good denotative style; so do Alex Katz and Elizabeth Peyton. But really, all I’m trying to do is make a picture that looks good. My dream finesse starts with Sargent and Manet, and stretches to David Park and Julian Opie.


Walter Robinson, "Thug Cash" 2015, acrylic on paper (12 x 9 in)

You attended the Whitney Independent Study Program with your peers Edit deAk and Joshua Cohn in the early ’70s. Did your journal Art-Rite grow from your theoretical and critical study there? How do you think programs like this have evolved since then?

In 1973, the three of us dared the Whitney ISP to admit art critics (instead of artists and museum interns exclusively) and we launched the magazine there as our project. If it was about theory in those days, I didn’t notice it, though Lawrence Weiner did come in once as a visiting artist and school us thoroughly on the Socratic method. Now, a scant 42 years later, among the three founders of Art-Rite magazine, I’m the only one still in the art world. Is that a good survival rate?

I don’t teach, but it seems to me that contemporary art education is more rationalized, institutionalized and instrumentalized than ever before — “avant-garde” is a degree you get in graduate school. The ultimate goal is to make a place for your self; in that regard, school works like it always did.

I joke that art school should be banned, but I’m biased: I took some studio art classes as electives in college, but didn’t attend art school. I taught myself to paint from a “how-to” book by Jan de Ruth, and just started hanging out and doing stuff.


Walter Robinson, "Random Harvest", 2015, acrylic on paper (12 x 9 in)

Can you talk about your involvement in the history of Printed Matter and Colab? What are your thoughts on the dissemination of art writing and artist books today? What do you read?

Like all non-professional readers in the digital era, I click on links from Facebook, Twitter and all the email art newsletters I’ve signed up for. As for literary and genre fiction, I listen to audiobooks almost exclusively. When I want to write something, I like to go to the Watson Library at the Met to study up. Last week I was all over their Yoko Ono catalogues working up a review of the MoMA show.

As for Colab and Printed Matter, those were slightly different artists’ initiatives that were part of the art world’s 1970′s growth spurt. Printed Matter was launched after Sol LeWitt began selling enough art to find use for a tax write off, and has become an institution.

It began when Sol, Lucy Lippard and Pat Steir had this idea to publish artists’ books, which were all the rage back then. My 2 cents was to suggest that what the business really needed was a distributor, not just another press. Then I had a stupid argument with Sol and quit Printed Matter just as it was getting going. Sol was the nicest guy; everyone loved him. So I had a fight with him.

Collaborative Projects turned out to be more transitory. It was a high-minded scheme hatched by a gang of artists– including some veterans of the ISP– to band together and go after some of the government funding that had been earmarked for institutions like PS1 and the New Museum. We did pretty well –we organized “The Real Estate Show” and The Times Square Show in 1980, founded ABC No Rio and helped fund Fashion Moda in the Bronx, ran a long-running public-access cable TV show and opened the New Cinema on St. Mark’s Place, among many other projects.

My personal accomplishment as president was to take $5,000 of our 1982 funding and rent a five-bedroom house at the beach for three months. We called it the Summer Art Institute. It proved to be a great membership incentive.


Walter Robinson, "Kool", 2015, acrylic on paper (12 x 9 in)

On Instagram you sometimes post art prices and auction results. Is this a tendency carrying over from Artnet, commentary on the rising ‘value’ of art, or simply observation?

My old boss at Artnet, Hans Neuendorf, would say, “Everyone wants to know the prices!” He was an art dealer and a digital visionary, the guy who invented the computerized, illustrated auction-price database that all the art-market players use today. I like to include prices because, well, I like to know everything.

Art prices are interesting for a lot of reasons. They’re a measure of value that is separate from esthetics, history and other yardsticks, but somehow tied to them. Prices are arbitrary, but have their own rationale. Most of all, I like the notion that money has no identity until art gives it one. We wouldn’t know what $58.4 million looks like if it weren’t for Jeff Koons’ “Orange Balloon Dog.”

Can you tell us what you are working on right now?

It’s summer, I’ve got a lot of paintings of people in swimwear to make.


Walter Robinson, "H&M Summer Sun with Harem Pants" 2015, acrylic on paper (9 x 12 in)

Jay Gorney


Jay Gorney is an independent advisor, curator and current advisor to the estate of Sarah Charlesworth. Upcoming projects include shows of Deborah Remington at Wallspace and Roger Brown at Maccarone.

Did you have a formative experience that influenced you to become an art advisor and curator?

I have been interested in contemporary art for a long time. I studied art history at Oberlin College with Ellen Johnson and I was in the Whitney Museum Independent study program in 1972, which was one of its first years in existence. When I graduated from Oberlin, I started working in galleries right away. In fact, I was an intern at Leo Castelli when I was a junior in college.

I love art and have always been inspired by it. As my interests change and shift over the years, artists continually surprise me. I feel a great satisfaction in working with an artist for a long time. For instance, I worked with James Welling, Martha Rosler, Sarah Charlesworth, Barbara Bloom and Jessica Stockholder for twenty years at Jay Gorney Modern Art and Gorney Bravin + Lee. More recently, I worked with Chris Martin at Mitchell-Innes & Nash for at least seven years. When you work with an artist for a long period of time it can become very meaningful.

CHRIS MARTIN Homage to Alfred + Bill #5 1982 - 1995 Oil and felt on canvas 18 x 12 inches

Can you tell us about when you owned your own gallery and the progression of your career?

Jay Gorney Modern Art opened in the East Village in 1985. I moved the gallery to SoHo in 1987, and later started a partnership with John Lee and Karin Bravin to create Gorney Bravin and Lee in 2000, based in Chelsea. It seemed like a logical progression in the early 2000s. For many reasons, we decided to close the gallery, and at that point I became interested in working with Lucy Mitchell-Innes and David Nash, so I joined their team as Director of Contemporary Art in 2005. At that time the art world was definitely changing, and some of the things we are feeling now we were beginning to feel then. One began to sense the rise of very large galleries, and drastic change in price structure, which mirrors the economy at large. I think that right now, more money goes to fewer and fewer galleries and sadly to fewer and fewer artists. As a paradigm, it’s a much less interesting.

Do you have any particular memories of your gallery in the East Village or SoHo that you’d like to share?

One example that stands out to me was a mixed-media exhibition we did with Barbara Bloom, “The Reign of Narcissism.” That show turned the entire gallery into a 19th century museum and eventually went to the collection of MOCA in Los Angeles. Another show that stands out was the one featuring Haim Steinbach’s rustic wall, Adirondack Tableau. There are some small group shows that I am very proud of, like Peter Halley’s painting paired with Ettore Sottsass’s furniture and ceramics, Jessica Stockholder’s sculptures with Joan Snyder’s paintings in the early 90’s. Martha Rosler’s first installation of airport photographs , also in the early 90s, was also memorable.

I am very proud of the fact that we sold some major works to museums. Working with curators is very different from working with collectors; it involves the logistics of acquisitions committees, and can be very satisfying but takes a great deal of patience and time.

Installation view, Peter Halley and Ettore Sottsass at Jay Gorney Modern Art

Having had these varied professional experiences, is there any particular insight you’d like to share?

It all comes back to the old cliché: show work you really love and believe in. Of course, one can’t turn a blind eye to the market. However, if you’re being directed by the market, you’re in trouble. You must be directed by your own vision.

Right now the art world has gotten so large that it permits the possibility of doing a lot of things without a bricks and mortar space. I thought very carefully about whether it would be a good idea to open a gallery at this time and, while it is still a possibility for the future, there are a lot of opportunities to organize exhibitions, work with other galleries, and do challenging things without my own space.

SARAH CHARLESWORTH Untitled (Voyeur) 1995 Cibachrome print with mahogany frame

Can you talk about working with Sarah Charlesworth’s estate and your involvement with the upcoming New Museum show?

I am currently the special advisor to the Sarah Charlesworth estate. I worked with Sarah at Jay Gorney Modern Art and Gorney Bravin and Lee. After Sarah passed away, the estate reached out to me. It seemed like a great opportunity to work with art that I love and know well, and to help the estate after Sarah’s death. We were very happy to work with Michele Maccarone last year to create a fantastic show: Objects of Desire: 1983-1988. We are really looking forward to the New Museum show opening June 24th, curated by Massimiliano Gioni and Margot Norton. It’s a selected survey including work from the Stills series, Objects of Desire and the Renaissance series, among others. Not every series is represented in the show, but certain themes about light and the nature of photography shine through.

SARAH CHARLESWORTH Still Life with Camera 1995 Cibachrome prints with mahogany frames Diptych, 51 x 81 inches

What do you hope that people take away from the show?

I hope people will take away a renewed interest in Sarah Charlesworth’s work and that their understanding of her work will deepen. I think Sarah has always been seen as a “Pictures Generation” artist, but she was very much a conceptual artist as well as an artist who worked with pictures. Sarah made photographs that were more than just images; the object quality of Sarah’s photographs is very important as well as the imagery presented in the photograph.

DEBORAH REMINGTON Adelphi Series #13 1967 Pencil and crayon on paper 24 x 18 inches

Can you talk about the upcoming shows you’ve organized independently?

I am working on an exhibition of paintings and drawings made by Deborah Remington from 1963 through 1983, to open at Wallspace Gallery on June 26th. I knew Deborah and was interested in her idiosyncratic work when I was very young in the late 70’s. I subsequently had a wonderful studio visit with her in 2008. She died in 2010 and it left me with a sense of how much I really liked her work. Her work is underappreciated and I hope that this show at Wallspace will be really interesting for today’s viewer.

ROGER BROWN Virtual Still Like #6: Return to Russia Oil on canvas, mixed media 37 1/2 x 37 1/2 x 8 inches

I’m also organizing an exhibition at Maccarone of work by Roger Brown, one of the Chicago Imagists, who is better known by viewers. Shortly before his death in 1997 he made his Virtual Still Life works, which are sculptural paintings with shelves that display ceramics from his collection. They’re dramatic, absolutely engaging, and act as dioramas, or stage sets.

ROGER BROWN Virtual Still Life #8: Vases with a View 1995 Oil on canvas and mixed media 25 x 25 x 7 inches

Can you tell us a little bit about your personal art collection and what your strategy is as an advisor?

I collect with my partner, who is also a gallerist. Sometimes our tastes are divergent and that makes it very exciting. We have a lot of photographs by artists of the pictures generation–works by James Welling, Louise Lawler, Sarah Charlesworth. A few younger artists we’ve collected have included Anicka Yi, Joe Bradley, Michael E. Smith, Charles Mayton and Virginia Overton. I’m also an avid collector of self-taught and outsider artists’ work. We own two Judith Scott pieces, one of which we lent to the Brooklyn Museum show recently. I’ve always been very interested in collections that tell you something about the collectors themselves. Hopefully, my own collection shows that my interests are very diverse.


MICHAEL E. SMITH Untitled, 2010 Coleman cooler, enamel 14 1/4 x 13 1/4 x 24 1/4 inches

I not only collect myself, but also I work as an advisor to collectors. It can be very satisfying to help someone form a great collection. You try to give the best advice you can, find the best examples of an artist’s work and help them secure those works (which these days can be difficult on your own). You want people to think carefully about the nature of their collection and to purchase works that complement and explicate other works in their collection. I try to create concentrations within a collection. Collecting art which will stand the test of time is ultimately fulfilling.


JUDITH SCOTT Untitled, 2005 Fiber and found objects 11 1/2 x 17 x 14 1/2 inches

Nicole Russo


Nicole Russo is the owner and director of Chapter NY.

How did you become involved with contemporary art and open Chapter NY?

When I moved to New York City I worked a few odd jobs and then decided to see what the contemporary art world was like. I ended up interning for Jack Tilton, who then hired me. After working closely with the gallery’s artists on their exhibitions–both gallery and institutional–I realized how much I enjoy working with living artists because of the direct relationships that can be developed. If I’m doing my job right I’m helping artists make their art for the long run.

After working for several years with Tilton I moved on and became the Director of Leo Koenig, and then Mitchell-Innes & Nash. I learned from each gallery’s different approach and realized that I wanted to open my own. While I was at Mitchell-Innes & Nash the old Bureau space (now located on Norfolk St) was offered to me, so I opened Chapter as a weekend-only project. After balancing the responsibilities of both roles I decided to focus solely on Chapter NY in order develop the program. I’ve been open full-time since January and I’m carefully building my stable of artists.


Patrick Berran Installation view at Chapter NY

How did you come to meet Patrick Berran or get to know his work?

Patrick and I have known each other for years—so long that I don’t even remember where we met! I’ve been lucky enough to have seen his progression as an artist over time. It was exciting when he began to use transfer and silk-screens within the paintings, as he’s able to capture his own energy through that process.  When I opened Chapter it made total sense to start working together.


Patrick Berran, "Untitled", 2015

What is your takeaway from NADA New York last week? Patrick was mentioned in The New York Times review, right?

We did get a nice mention in Roberta Smith’s review, which obviously felt great! NADA was great exposure for the gallery and for Patrick. I met a lot of new people and saw those I’ve know for years and whom I’ve worked with in my prior positions. It gave me a chance to re-establish those relationships in this relatively new stage of my career.


"With & Width" installation view at Chapter NY

Can you tell us about the Math Bass, Lauren Davis Fisher, & Gordon Hall show, With & Width, at Chapter NY earlier this year?

I first learned about Math’s work in 2010 when she was included in a Ridykeulous exhibition at Leo Koenig. I really started following her work after I saw the 2012 Made in LA exhibition at the Hammer. Math was one of the first artists I reached out to when I opened Chapter. Math wanted to do a three-person show with Gordon and Lauren, as they had all been talking and collaborating for years. I loved that show and how they each took advantage of Chapter’s small scale and architectural quirks. I really enjoyed getting to know Lauren and Gordon, who are both exciting artists in their own right.


Cara Benedetto "Come Early and Often' installation view at Chapter NY

What’s next at Chapter NY?

Next up is a solo show with Mira Dancy, opening May 28th. In the Fall we’ll have solo shows with Rob Halverson and Milano Chow, both of whom are LA artists. I’m thrilled to be presenting their first solo shows in New York!


Sam Anderson, "Dog Head", 2013

Do you live with artwork? Any words of wisdom for a new collector?

I’m lucky to live with a lot of art, including works by Patrick Berran, Keltie Ferris, Sam Anderson, Andrea Merkx, Nicole Eisenman, William Pope. L, Julia Rommel… too many to list! It’s a cliché to say ‘Buy what you love’, but I really believe it. When you are a new collector you need to realize that you’re going to be living with the work. When you love it, it really does enhance your life.

James Cope


James Cope is a curator of contemporary art and runs the gallery AND NOW in Dallas, Texas.

How did you get into contemporary art? Was there a formative experience which shaped your interest or your eye?

Growing up in England, I skateboarded a lot and was greatly informed by American skateboard culture and British counterculture. While living in Edinburgh, Scotland I started to put on small exhibitions of my friends’ work, and it grew from there. I didn’t want to get a “normal job,” so the art world seemed like a natural place for me to be.

Jeff Zilm installation AND NOW 2014

Jeff Zilm installation at AND NOW in 2014

You were the associate curator at the Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas and also the director of sales at Marlborough Chelsea for a couple of years. How did those experiences differ?

My time at the Goss-Michael Foundation versus my time at Marlborough Chelsea was like night and day. At the former, I was a curator and exhibition maker, and at the latter, my role was as a salesman. Besides confirming my love for curating, my time in both the non-profit and commercial worlds has allowed me to create a program at AND NOW that incorporates the best of both.

Elizabeth Jaeger installation at AND NOW in 2015

Elizabeth Jaeger installation at AND NOW in 2015

You’ve worked with artists Damien Hirst, Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe, Kadar Brock, Jim Lambie, Ryan Foerster, Rose Marcus, Peter Sutherland, and many others. How do you determine who you want to work with and how you want to present their work?

First and foremost, the work has to be visually compelling and contain conceptual content. I also have to like the artist as person and form a solid rapport, preferably over a significant amount of time, since what I do is so personal.

Can you tell us about the “Video Days” exhibition you put together a couple years ago with Larry Clark and Spike Jonze?

It was a video and film show that I had wanted to do for some time, but commercial galleries weren’t interested because video and film are so difficult to sell. Southern Methodist University (SMU) approached me about curating a show and it seemed like the perfect time – shortly after I had landed back in Dallas. The show featured artists Larry Clark, Florian Drexel, Spike Jonze, Nicolas Provost, Christopher Samuels, and Ryan Wolfe. The title, Video Days, is the name of Spike Jonze’s skateboard video. Unfortunately, there was almost no response; the show wasn’t promoted, and even the film professors at the university weren’t aware of the show. Maybe it was to do with the content of Larry Clark’s film, Kids.

Eli Ping at AND NOW during NADA Miami 2014

Eli Ping at AND NOW during NADA Miami 2014

How did your current gallery, AND NOW, develop? What prompted your return to Dallas?

I wanted to get back to organizing exhibitions on my terms and not have to focus only on making sales. I had originally planned to open a space in New York, but it wasn’t financially possible, especially for the way that I wanted to run a space – from a curatorial perspective. My wife is from Dallas and that was a huge reason for coming back, and I have support here from local collectors and museums.

Dan Colen installation at AND NOW in 2015

Dan Colen installation at AND NOW in 2015

You opened Dan Colen’s show during the Dallas Art Fair a couple weeks ago. Can you tell us about that? How do you see the Dallas art scene developing over the next year (or how do you think it should)?

Dan came to the gallery last year to see the Daniel Turner exhibition. We started talking, and he asked if I would be interested in doing a show. We spent the better part of a year working on ideas and formulizing the show.

As far as the Dallas art scene goes, it is exploding right now. Between happenings like Dallas art fair week, collectors from other cities starting to take notice, and new galleries and artists popping up, there is a lot going on. I think directing focus to the education of contemporary art and art history among the new collector class is vital to the continued cultural growth of the Dallas art scene.

What other projects or exhibitions are on the horizon for you?

The next show at the gallery will be Ethan Cook. I am also organizing a show in Brussels that will open next year.

Do you live with any art? If so, can you tell us about how you came by those works of art?

My wife and I have a small collection, which is mostly comprised of artists who have become close friends, some of whom have shown at the gallery.

Jeff Zilm, "Blind Husbands", 2015

Jeff Zilm, "Blind Husbands", 2015

Elena Soboleva


As a contemporary art Specialist at Artsy, Elena Soboleva works with collectors, manages art fair sales, and develops curatorial programming. Follow: @elenasoboleva

As a Specialist at Artsy, you’re exposed to a vast amount of artwork. How does it feel to turn around an article like 9 Emerging Artists You Should Buy at Art Brussels? How do you decide who is relevant or what your preferences are under the public eye?

Sharing my opinion is a process of understanding my own taste. By having to distill ideas and commit to them, it forces me to take a stand and resist the transience of the art world. My decisions are based on my own instincts and intuition while determining how the works fit into a larger art historical narrative. The artists are often young so there is limited writing on their practice. Their vision and personality are key.

Elena Soboleva with work by Lucas Jardin

What are your first impressions of the Art Brussels contemporary art fair? Can you describe your typical day at the fair?

Art Brussels is known as a high quality fair that is great for discovering new talent. Belgium boasts the highest number of art collectors per capita and major galleries like Gladstone and Almine Rech have outposts there. It’s certainly no coincidence the Independent Show is opening an edition there in Spring 2016.

For this year’s fair, I will be curating the #ArtsyTakeover, a project series in which Artsy invites contemporary artists to reimagine onsite spaces at art fairs. The installation will pair Betty Tompkins and Lucas Jardin, two artists whose work I greatly admire. Though from different generations and places (New York and Brussels, respectively), they both create paintings which address themes of appropriation, censorship, and how images induce desire.

Betty Tompkins’ Studio

Besides the fair, which exhibitions are worth visiting in Brussels at the moment?

There is so much great art here! Tonight I am excited about Sofia Leiby‘s European solo debut with Levy.Delval and Alex Perweiler’s (of The Still House Group) opening at Galerie Rodolphe Janssen. Other great exhibitions opening include Sterling Ruby at Xavier Hufkens, Chris Succo at Almine Rech Gallery, and Pierre Bismuth at JAN MOT. Institutionally there is a Gareth Moore exhibition at La Loge (a great experimental art space) and the CAB Art Center has a current exhibition which presents works by artists in and from Chicago–including a huge new Tony Lewis piece and a William Pope L. video.

Tony Lewis at CAB

In the age of the Internet, art is increasingly purchased online. Where do you think that the future of art consumption is headed?

It’s a timely question: just this week the 2015 Hiscox Online Art Trade Report announced that the value of the online art market has risen from $1.57 billion in 2013 to an estimated $2.64 billion in 2014. Online viewing won’t replace seeing art in real life–that’s not the point. Instead, the online market opens up a world for new collectors to learn and discover art. In general, our experience of art is expanding online and offline.

Elena Soboleva as the subject for a Daniel Heidkamp painting

What artists should we be paying more attention to? How do you keep yourself informed?

Many of the artists I’m excited about now are friends of mine, or are people I’ve discovered through Instagram and mutual friends. I am really into Nick Farhi who just had a show at United Artists, Ltd. and Jessica Sanders who has a solo booth with KANSAS at Art Brussels. I have been a big fan of Daniel Heidkamp for a while, though he’s hardly under the radar now. There is also Letha Wilson, Lucas Blalock and Kate Steciw who are all doing awesome things. Chloe Wise is a riot.  I am also very intrigued by the conceptual practices of Elaine Cameron Weir and Carlos Reyes.

Nick Farhi paintings

Do you live with any artwork? If you could add anything to your collection regardless of price, what would you choose?

My collection is still in the very early stages, but I have small pieces by Justin Adian and Larry Clark. I have a couple works by younger artists including Lucas Jardin, the #ArtsyTakeover artist and “one to watch”, and Krista Smith, who just finished her MFA at NYAA. I have fun editioned pieces including a Korakrit photo and the first Exhibition A print that Richard Phillips did, which is a favorite. As for the future, I’d love to own works from the artists who surround me and maybe a Laure Prouvost video and Richard Prince Nurse painting if I get lucky!

David Hollander


David Hollander is Co-Director of CineMarfa. He is a filmmaker, writer, and collector from Los Angeles, California. Along with partner Jennifer Lane, he has produced films for artists including Mathias Poledna, Stephen Prina, and Justin Lowe and Jonah Freeman.

You just announced your line-up for CineMarfa 2015. What was the inspiration for making this year’s focus science fiction?

We see our programming at the CineMarfa film festival not as separate individual programs, but as one continuous program that unfolds over time and expands rhizomatically. An evolving dialogue about the nature of cinema.
So often we revisit certain ideas that we have established earlier in the conversation. Science Fiction, something we know and love dearly, has been explored in material we have previously screened, like Peter Watkins “Punishment Park”, or the films of Jordan Belson.


Painting by Mark Flood and new age objects by David Hollander

CineMarfa focuses on films made by visual artists rather than studios. What do you find unique about the artist-made film?

My partner Jennifer Lane and I have been producing artist-made films for the past 15 years. Part of the initial impetus for doing the festival was to screen in a single channel context films like the ones we produce, which rarely get seen outside of the museum or gallery context.


Collages and a monoprint by Jennifer Lane, with a collection of 19th-20th Century aboriginal digging sticks on the floor

When did you meet Dustin Pevey? Do you own any of his work?

I’ve known Dustin since he moved to Marfa. We do own one beautiful painting of his. He is one of the brightest stars on the Marfa horizon.


A painting by Dustin Pevey

Do you collect anything else?

In addition to collecting art, I do collect 16mm prints of artist-made films, with an emphasis on dada, surrealist, and visual music, and records. I also collect oceanic and aboriginal art, from Papua New Guinea and Australia.


16 mm films in David's collection including some of his collection of ethnographic film, image courtesy Vincent Dillio and Chris Wallace for T Magazine on nytimes.com


Photograph by Ana Medieta

What other projects are you working on at the moment?

The most recent project: Producing (and shooting) Mika Rottenberg‘s new film, which will be included in the 2015 Venice Biennale. I am also working on a book which surveys alternative spirituality in the US from the 60s to the 80s and is essentially a discography of new age music, so I am always listening to that stuff, which runs a gamut from mellow to strange.


An early 20th century Gope board from Papua, aboriginal items from Western Australia circa 1960, and a painting by Jeff Elrod


Drawing by Cameron, ca. 1970s

What’s the art scene like in Marfa? There’s been a lot of hype lately.

Marfa has always attracted creative people. I don’t think its over-hyped – Marfa is as great as people hear it is. Obviously Judd was the groundbreaker but the scene now is more diverse…there are many different types of art and artists, and that’s a good thing.

Nicelle Beauchene


Nicelle Beauchene runs Nicelle Beauchene Gallery in New York City and is the president of the New Art Dealers Alliance.

You had worked in Chelsea galleries for several years before opening your namesake space in 2008. In what ways did your prior experiences inform your new space, and what did you want to do differently?

My first experiences in the New York art world were shaped through my tenure at Marianne Boesky Gallery. At Boesky I learned about the importance of building strong foundations for young artists, strategizing, while at the same time taking risks for them. I continue to incorporate these ideals into my own workings with artists, and feel grateful to have had the experience at Boesky.


Louise Despont, "The Host", 2012

How do you go about choosing the artists you represent? What are you looking for when compiling a solo show?

For me, it’s really important that the artists we show and work with have their own unique vernacular or vocabulary that comes through in their practice. In a market where there is a lot of aesthetic cross over, and so many artists are making work which looks similar and is influenced by each other, it is more rewarding to be working with someone that retains a specific vision/vocabulary within their work. Also in terms of our program at large, it’s important to me to keep it as dynamic as possible, for example, not showing too much of one medium or type of work.


Alexander Tovborg, "Bocca Baciata LXXI", 2014

What’s it like sharing a space with Jack Hanley? Am I right that sometimes the galleries switch floors? Is it a sort of collaboration or are the galleries completely separate entities?

Sharing the building with Jack has been a very collaborative experience for us— we are completely separate galleries, however we switch exhibition spaces and offices every month. There are definitely more pros to the switching than cons, as essentially we’re able to offer artists a choice in exhibition space. So instead of our artists making works specific to the architecture of one space they are able to choose the gallery space that makes more sense in terms of what they will be showing.


Installation view of "A Friend is Only A Human Body" at Nicelle Beauchene

You are also the president of the New Art Dealers Association. Can you tell us about the work you do at NADA? How has the organization evolved over the years?

With the rest of the NADA board, I oversee the various fairs that we put on as well as the different levels of membership that we have. Throughout the past five years, the organization has really broadened internationally with collaborations such as Art Cologne/NADA Cologne as well as expanded membership. Both the Miami fair as well as the NY fair have become more international as well in the past few years, which has certainly been a strong focus for the current board.

This was the sixth year of NADA Miami, right? What should we expect from the fourth edition of NADA NY this May?

This was actually the 11th year of NADA Miami, the first year was 2003 when the fair took place in a vacant space off of Lincoln Road near the Convention Center. The fair then moved to the Ice Palace, and again to the Deauville Hotel, where we’ve been now for six years. The move to the Deauville was a game changer for the fair. For NADA NY 2015, you’ll see us at Basketball City again with a lot of new, international exhibitors and the continuation of our project booths, which has been an important addition to both our Miami and New York fairs.


A drawing from Nicelle's collection of American Indian ledger drawings

Describe your personal collection for us.

My husband (artist Kent Henricksen) and I have been collecting together for almost 15 years. Before making the move to NYC we lived and worked in San Francisco and bought mostly young Bay Area artists- Barry McGee, Margaret Kilgallen, Chris Johanson, etc. We still have all of these works in our collection, and have since expanded it to include a lot of our NYC artist friends as well as artists within the gallery’s program. We also have a great collection of American Indian ledger drawings, mostly from the Plains Indians which we’ve been collecting for about 10 years now.

RJ Supa


"Iron Man" by RJ Supa a part of the 2014 Summer Performance Series

RJ Supa co-owns Louis B. James Gallery with David Fierman in New York City.

How did you become interested in contemporary art?

During my film class the first semester of college, my professor showed an image of Robert Venturi’s Guild House and told us that it was specifically designed to be ugly to fit in with the neighborhood. This was the first post-modern building in the mid-’60s. I was taken by how a concept could manifest itself physically. A few years after that I went to see Sensation at the Brooklyn Museum and my mind was blown. I remember walking through Damien Hirst’s formaldehyde animals and Tracy Emin’s bed and Jake and Dinos Chapman and Jenny Saville and being in awe, all the while David Bowie narrated the experience. It was incredibly transformative. It took me out of my head and into another space.


RJ Supa performing "Iron Man" at chashama

When did you decide to open Louis B. James on the Lower East Side? Has the space or the work shown evolve over the years?

We opened LBJ almost four years ago after co-curating shows around the city. It just made sense in terms of a natural progression to open a more formal space. I think that our program has become more formalized during this time. Perhaps because of that I want to take more risks programmatically. I want to incorporate more performance and installation and do things outside of the four white walls of the gallery. If we’re a fair model now I want to evolve with that and make the best booths, the most interesting booths. It’s an evolutionary, very slow process.


Diff’rent Strokes: Small Paintings and Intimate Performances, 2013

What about the vibe of the area?

I think I’ve grown and evolved since opening the space so I imagine that effects the outcome of the shows, the artists we work with, how we work… The area has changed but that’s been the constant. I think we’ve developed a decent reputation and more and more people find us. I guess that’s how I think of the area changing.


Off White Desert installation view: Nora Griffin, Ann Greene Kelly, Matthew Kirk, 2014

What projects are on the horizon for Louis B. James?

We have a great artist, John Miserendino at the ADAA for the Henry Street Settlement. A really stunning work. I’m curating – with Erin Goldberger – a booth at Spring/Break. Two new shows opening: Nikki Katiskas and Mariah Garnett and then after, this spectacular show by Jeremy Couillard, a virtual reality, out-of-body experience. Incredible! NADA New York, more shows, more fairs.


Erin Goldberger and RJ Supa at Material Art Fair

Why did you decide to participate in the Spring Break Art Show?

Erin and I have been friends since NADA Miami Beach in 2011 and we do studio visits together and hang out and know lots of artists and are artists and our friends are artists and we just came up with an idea and started talking about artists, probably at Beverly’s. Then it just happened organically. It’s a great opportunity to work with our friends, non-gallery artists and just another outlet for ideas, manifesting thoughts.


Jeremy Couillard, My Time In the Cult of Melting Ancestors

What’s concept behind the booth?

The concept is Green, for monetary and environmental reasons and also for the color. It’s apparently the least salable color of art. I think Erin had the original idea and then we expanded it, collapsed it, made it perfect. I love working in non-traditional spaces. I think it’s a real challenge to activate space in a meaningful way. I believe in experiences and I want the viewing of art to be engaging. Death to passivity! So I think getting to do a show like this allows for a freedom, for an experimentation.

Kaya Yusi


Kaya Yusi runs Sunday, an exhibition space in Los Angeles.

Tell us about Sunday. What inspired you to start an exhibition space right after finishing your BFA?

Our focus was to have a comfortable environment for young artists to show work and keep the conversation and community alive post-grad. In December 2013, my friend Ada Rajkovic, who I have been collaborating with and living with since we were paired as roommates in the dorms at CalArts, found the space in east Hollywood. It was a sad, old office space on the second story of a commercial building. We saw the space and immediately signed the lease.  Along with Ryan McGuffin and Teryn Brown we ripped up all the carpets, finished the floors, added a kitchen and a shower, tore some walls down, put some walls up and threw some art on them. We had our first show in April 2014–a group show with about 40 artists called No New Friends. Since then we’ve had endless amounts of events. Our last show was a pop up Greek restaurant.


Kaya Yusi getting ready for Yung Jake's Furniture show

What do you think is unique about artist-run spaces?

The fact that we have to live with the show that’s up means we really have to like looking at it. My favorite professor at CalArts always said, “the best art is art that you would be willing to hang over your couch”. We started the space so that our peers could continue to show work after graduating but also to show art that we actually like. I think 90% of the time I go to art shows I leave feeling totally unaffected and depressed.  If the place that we love to see art and music doesn’t already exist, we have to create it.


Sofia Arreguin, My Pet Project

Sofia Arreguin‘s show “My Pet Project” opened at Sunday last November. When did you first meet Sofia? What draws you to her work?

I met Sofia at CalArts when she was curating the group show for the 40th anniversary of Woman House. It was an all female group show that turned out beautifully. She had just moved in to a studio down the street from Sunday and works for Ryan Trecartin. Sofia’s rad and super inspiring and lovely. Her show dealt with the idea of humans projecting their feelings onto animals. One piece in the show was a video of an interview with someone who got a pet snake because it’s supposed to help with lack of sex drive.


Sofia Arreguin, My Pet Project

Do you live with any artwork?

I have two Terry Richardson photos hanging above my bed and the rest of my walls are covered in things that I’ve collected over the years.

What’s coming up for Sunday this year?

Albert Samreth has an art show called Spirit on March 21st and Alexander Uhrich has a photo show called Roadkill on March 26th.


Sofia Arreguin, My Pet Project

Edward Givis


Edward Givis (@givis) is a Graphic Designer out of Southern California.

How do you see graphic design as a part of (or separated from) contemporary art?

This could be answered in so many ways. Graphic design without a doubt draws inspiration from contemporary art. It’s the job of the graphic artist much of the time to “make it feel like…” or “give it a look that resembles…”. It’s the nature of the game. Contemporary art sets many of those visual standards, and they move very rapidly. As a designer you need to adapt and figure out a way to blend these visual standards while selling a product and integrating your personal style.


Brad Phillips at Louis B James

Art is becoming more and more accessible online and through social media, most notably through Instagram. How do you use social media to keep up with what’s going on in the art world? Who do you find to be the most innovative Instagrammers?

What I personally love is the connection aspect. Being a transplant in Southern California from NYC, I miss the communication and involvement aspect of going to openings or visiting a studio. Instagram can’t completely replace that experience but it definitely helps to fill the hole. The way some artists’ posts bring you into their studio and their process of working is very voyeuristic. Many artists announce their prints or books going on sale through social media. As a younger collector with limited funds, engaging in conversation and writing directly can definitely help facilitate being able to afford originals. I’m certain that would not be as easy or even possible without social medias help in my case.

As for Instagrams, @willnyc without a doubt, I’m constantly on his feed. I also follow someone many people don’t love so much, and the Sith-Lord himself @stefansimchowitz. I’ve really enjoyed following @chicojefferson over the last year, his feed really brings you into his studio. @LIZNY3, @elenasoboleva and @mollygottschalk are awesome, and I follow @brad__phillips and @jesse_a_edwards for art and entertainment. I really like how @halfgallery and @harpersbooks use their feeds. There’s too many, and you always end up finding more.


Genieve Figgis, "The Swing after Fragonard", 2014.

You’ve collected several Exhibition A editions, including Kasper Sonne, Genieve Figgis, and Matthew Chambers. Who else would you like to see Exhibition A do an edition with?

Arnold Daniel, Todd Bienvenu, Brad Phillips, David Benjamin Sherry, Mark Delong, Paul Insect, Jim Mangan, Daniel Johnston, Torey Thornton, Michael Staniak, Cleon Peterson, Caramel Bobby, Marilyn Minter, Josh Jefferson, Robert Heinecken, James Ulmer, Raymond Pettibon and a brownie sized small edition by Justin Adian.


Matthew Chambers, "A Silent Rueful Toast", 2014.

You’re based in the Los Angeles area. What are your favorite spots to check out new work?

OHWOW, Steve Turner Contemporary and Cherry and Martin show great artists. I’m still relatively new out here so I’m still getting to know the lay of the land. I find a lot of new work on the Internet and Instagram honestly– when it comes to new work you often see a piece or the process long before a gallery opening. It’s also a lot easier to find new or undiscovered talent that way as well… look at Genieve Figgis who Richard Prince found on Twitter and was recently one of Artsy’s ’15 artist to watch in 2015′.


Torey Thornton at OHWOW gallery

If you could add anything to your collection, regardless of price, what would it be?

I think I’d be more than content with a Cy Twombly painting, the complete works of Dieter Roth and a Bill Traylor drawing. Those would work for me…

Rus Yusupov


Rus Yusupov is a designer and entrepreneur based in NYC. He’s best known as the Co-founder and Creative Director of Vine, a mobile service that enables its users to create and share short looping videos. His passion for the arts is grounded in his education at LaGuardia Arts High School and the School of Visual Arts, from which he holds a BFA in Graphic Design. As a designer, he’s always been passionate about the creative process, and finding ways to improve it for both himself and others.

How did you first become interested in art? Didn’t you study at SVA?

Indeed I did. The world of art is great because you make up your own rules. I was born in the USSR, a place where you had to follow someone else’s prescribed system.


Sophie Calle, North Pole / Pôle nord, 2009

How did you begin collecting art, and what frames your approach as a collector?

Each individual piece makes some kind of statement, and I hope the collection as a whole is able to do the same. I’m not interested in building a collection of video art from the 80s or political work from a specific region – to me that’s just indexing. Ultimately I try to pick individual pieces that tell a larger story when seen together. I’m interested in space themes, beach culture, tech, hyperrealism, appropriation, forgery, and the inherent concept of value.


Picasso (fake), Figures by the Sea (The Kiss), unknown

How did you find out about Michael Kagan’s work? What draws you to it?

Space travel is about thinking big, not playing by earthly rules. Astronauts are escapists – and I respect that. I’m still waiting for Elon Musk to work out the kinks in SpaceX, so until then, I vacation in Michael’s paintings.


Michael Kagan, Contact Light, 2014

What’s your favorite piece in your collection?

I recently got some great pieces by Richard Prince, Robert Longo, Sturtevant, Thomas Demand, Carole Feuerman, and Richard Mosse. That said, I think the point of having a collection is not to have one favorite piece. If I found one, I would just keep that and get rid of everything else – where’s the fun in that? For example, I have a few Picasso fakes, and love the bad ones as much as the good ones. There’s a great quote from Bruce Chatwin’s book Utz: “The collector’s enemy is the museum curator. Ideally, museums should be looted every fifty years, and their collections returned to circulation.” Museums protect art from meaningful critique, because you’ve already been told to think highly of it. I collect to find out how to feel on my own.


Carole Feuerman, Miniature Serena (Yellow Swarovski Cap), 2014

Do you follow any video artists? Or do you view that as a separate form of expression?

I follow 670 people on Vine. Seriously though, I do look a lot at how the post-internet artists are using online video, but my interest goes all the way back to people like Nam June Paik and Pipilotti Rist.

Favorite quote to live by?

“If nobody quotes you, quote yourself.”


Adam Mysock, Powerless Without, 2014

Richard Kern


Photo of Richard Kern by Olivier Zahm.

Richard Kern is a photographer, filmmaker, and regular contributor to Vice and Purple. His work has been exhibited at MOMA, The Whitney Museum and in more than 50 solo shows around the world. Kern lives and works in New York City and collects Duncan Hannah’s work.

Both your work and Duncan Hannah‘s work functions as a sort of time capsule, documenting the world around you (but in very different ways). What draws you to Hannah’s work?

I like that Duncan paints cars, ships, airplanes, women, etc. in a reverential way–the way men look at and think about these things. The first painting I got from Duncan was of a ship run aground next to some cliffs. I was really excited to have a painting of a boat on my wall. I now have more paintings by him: a Penguin book cover, Tarzan and Jane riding an elephant, a train coming out of a tunnel and numerous women. I need to get a car or airplane.


Duncan Hannah, "Art in England", 2008.

What other artwork do you collect?

I like to trade with people I know or hang out with, so over the years I’ve collected paintings by Rita Ackermann, Dan Colen, Walter Robinson, Lucy McKenzie, Bjarne Melgaard, Dan McCarthy, Dana Schutz, Leo Fitzpatrick and a bunch of other people. I’ve got lots of photos, drawings and prints too.


Duncan Hannah, "Chanbrol", 2011.

Do you collect anything besides art?

My old gallery in Paris (Jousse Seguin) had a lot to do with making Jean Prouvé collectable. After my first show there in 1996, I traded for a bunch of Prouvé furniture. Over the years I’ve sold some of it, but I still have a few tables. I was collecting mid-century stuff and watches in the 90′s but quit around the time I had a kid.


Jean Prouve, "Metropole No. 305 Chair", circa 1950.

You’ve lived in the same East Village apartment for almost 27 years, I’m sure you’ve watched the neighborhood change drastically. How has the art scene in New York shifted for you since the late 80′s?

Yes. I like that art is creeping back into the Lower East Side now. I also like how NYC has three distinct art areas to visit for day trips–Chelsea, LES and Uptown. It’s funny how SoHo isn’t really on the charts these days, ’cause it was the main deal when I moved here in the late 70′s.


Richard Kern, "Lung With Lizard", 2012.

What are your thoughts on contemporary portraiture within the current state of photography now?

My thoughts are all over the place. About art in general I will say there is a lot of crap out there now. Tons. More than there’s ever been. And I’m probably contributing to it.

Any upcoming books, projects or films on the horizon?

My book New York Girls is being reissued by Taschen as a “director’s cut” for it’s 20th anniversary next year. It will contain outtakes from the original sessions. I also have a show at Cabinet in London that opens Feb. 12, 2015.

Andrew Black


Andrew Black is the Press Liason at Petzel Gallery.

Petzel represents a stable of prolific artists such as Wade Guyton, Adam McEwen, Sean Landers, and Dana Schutz. What have been some of your favorite exhibitions during your time at Petzel?

Given how closely I work with all of our artists, picking a favorite exhibition at the gallery would be nearly impossible. Each of our artists represents an important place in the narrative of art history and it has been a privilege to work with each to help amplify their message in the press.

In terms of our artists’ shows outside of the gallery, I think the standout of 2014 for me was the Maria Lassnig retrospective at MoMA PS1.  Sadly Maria passed away soon after the show’s opening in March, however it had always been her dream to show at MoMA, so in many ways this was a happy and very well deserved ending to a long and dedicated career.  Above all, Maria’s perseverance will hopefully inspire other artists to continue plugging away regardless of immediate critical or market validation.  If you’re on to something in the end you will be noticed.


Park McArthur, "Untitled", 2014.

What skills are required as Press Liason?

First and foremost, having great material to work with is crucial – and working with Petzel’s incredible stable of artists gives me plenty of material. In terms of personal skills, working in PR your most valuable assets are your relationships and contacts in the press and your ability to craft a compelling pitch.  This means understanding which details about an upcoming show or an artist’s broader practice will resonate with a particular publication or writer.  Something which might be a great fit for Art Forum might not necessarily be of interest to T Magazine.  Knowing your audience and being able to tweak your pitch accordingly is important!   In regards to being a PR professional working in the art world, or specifically with artists, it’s a huge advantage and I would argue even necessary to have some meaningful background and/or understanding of art history.


Anicka Yi, "Fever and Spear", 2014.

Sean Landers’ North American Mammals was on view at Petzel through December 20th, and was reviewed in publications such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. How did the public respond to this exhibition in particular?

During the show I stumbled across a very cute Instagram of a young child lying on the floor of the gallery staring up in wonderment at Sean’s 40 foot wide painting of Moby Dick.   I love this photo because it shows the huge range of people who were able to connect with and enjoy this show.  The seemingly playful, tartan covered animals and the exquisitely executed library and tree paintings pulled visitors into a bewildering and beautiful fantasy world.  At the same time beneath this very lush, visual presentation, for knowledgeable collectors and critics, Sean’s practice offers a very strong conceptual backbone.  In addition to being a formal reference to Magritte’s Vache Period, the tartan motif is rife with other meaning and there is an almost poetic continuity to way the Tree, Library and Animal paintings all tie back to dominant themes in Sean’s practice.


Sean Landers 'North American Mammals' at Petzel Gallery.

How do you keep up with what’s going on in the contemporary art world? What are some of your favorite publications?

I find the best way to keep up with what’s going in is to attend as many gallery and museum shows as possible.  Beyond that, the Internet and social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram are incredibly helpful when you can’t see a show in person.  Of course I also do a lot of reading, both art focused and lifestyle publications that cover art.  It’s very difficult to pick favorites because all of them have their own unique point of view and editorial objectives.  With that caveat I would say Exhibition A is certainly required reading!


Margaret Lee, "Cucumber Phone", 2012.

Do you live with art?

I couldn’t live without it! I tend to collect more conceptual work from artists of my generation like Anicka Yi, Carissa Rodriguez, Merlin Carpenter, Margaret Lee, Israel Lund and Park McArthur among others. I also have a killer Joyce Pensato Batman which I recently installed. Her show with us in February is going to be spectacular. Stay tuned!


Joyce Pensato, "Prince of Gold", 2013.

Paul Bright


Paul Bright owns Bright Lyons, a modern curiosity shop located in downtown Brooklyn.

When did you start collecting contemporary art?

I started collecting art as a teenager in high school. At the time, most of my friends were either illustrators, comic book artists or graffiti artists and I tried to buy their work whenever I could (we’re talking about twenty dollar drawings here). By the late 90’s / early 2000’s I was getting into stuff like Raymond Pettibon, Larry Clark and some of the “Mission School” Artists. I guess the first thing I was really proud of was a pair of paintings by Margaret Kilgallen.


What are some of your favorite pieces in your home?

I have a beautiful painting of a gum ball machine by Eddie Martinez at home, and I have some great work by Andrew Jeffrey Wright– you’d be crazy not to work with him immediately.

What artists would you like to see Exhibition A work with?

Do you guys know Dave Hardy? He’s pretty rad. Actually you know what would be cool, remember that little metal sculpture edition that Karma did with Sam Falls? Y’all should do something like that with Dave Hardy.

An Eero Saarinen Womb settee from Knoll inside Bright Lyons.

Tell us a bit about Bright Lyons. How do you decide what to buy and sell? How do you determine the value?

The shop is somewhat unique in the New York antiques world as it sells almost exclusively Knoll and Herman Miller furniture. It’s pretty much just the original versions of what you would see somewhere like Design Within Reach. Most of the pieces I sell are pretty iconic and have been bought and sold on the secondary market for decades so there is an established market value.

Where do you find the collectibles and furniture that you sell? Is there a specific place you can always count on for interesting objects?

For about ten years before I opened the store, I traveled around the country as a picker looking for things. In that time I met a lot of other dealers and pickers, especially in the midwest, who I still keep in touch with. Other than that, you can find things anywhere from Craigslist to Sothebys.

Inside Bright Lyons.

Any advice for collectors (of fine art or furniture) just starting out?

Buy slowly and diligently. Don’t be afraid of asking for long installment plans. Most galleries are cool with this. Also, if you’re an artist or have some sort of tradable skill, try and barter when you can.

Steve Turner


Steve Turner owns and directs his eponymous gallery in Los Angeles.

What do you find unique about showing work in Los Angeles? How does the contemporary art world in LA differ from the scene in New York?

The Los Angeles contemporary art scene has numerous micro-systems. It’s like the weather in San Francisco. It varies from block to block, gallery to gallery. Success can be elusive. There are far more artists than there are galleries, and not enough collectors for the galleries. As such, each gallery must develop a strategy to attract collectors to support its program. Mine was to develop a strong international program that would appeal to both local and international audiences. With artists Pablo Rasgado (Mexico City); Camilo Restrepo (Medellín); Michael Staniak (Melbourne); Jonas Lund (Amsterdam); Rafaël Rozendaal (New York); Deborah Grant (New York) and Yung Jake (Los Angeles), I have done that. It really has more to do with the artists, and what I do outside Los Angeles, than it does with the local scene.


Michael Staniak, 'Image DNA', Installation view.

You’re opening a new space in Hollywood, right? How did your upcoming group show, Space Program, come about?

Our new space is in a refurbished 1920s warehouse building with 15 foot ceilings. It is just west of the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Highland Ave. Our closest neighbor is Regen Projects, and LAXART is opening one block away on the same day that we are—January 10th. Space Program came about as I brainstormed with my staff about the nine artists we were showing (those mentioned above plus Luis Hidalgo (Cuernavaca) and Maria Anwander (Berlin). I wanted to highlight our unusual space (we also have a roof deck that abuts a huge white wall (30 x 80 feet) where we will project videos) and I wanted to show a range of artists from our program. The title summed up my objectives perfectly. The show will introduce our new space and it will give greater meaning to the program that we have carefully developed over the last seven years.


Steve Turner booth at UNTITLED.

How was your experience this year in Miami at UNTITLED compared to other years? What is your favorite part about participating in art fairs?

We did very well at UNTITLED in Miami. We showed works by five artists (Yung Jake, Staniak, Rozendaal, Lund and Hidalgo) and we sold multiple works by each artist and also sold works by other artists in our program. Our experience was comparable to that of other years when we introduced Parker Ito in 2012 and Petra Cortright and Camilo Restrepo in 2013.


Yung Jake, 'New', Installation view.

How did you come to represent Yung Jake? What do you look for when procuring new artists?

I met Yung Jake in May 2013 and I liked him instantly. I had a very good studio visit with him and first thought I would wait a while to see how his practice developed before I offered him an exhibition. Six months later I did a second visit and since I was even more impressed with this meeting, I decided to offer him not one, not two, but three opportunities in 2014. He had a project room show; a main-room show; and then, a solo booth presentation at Art Berlin Contemporary (ABC). All three presentations were different. All three were great. All three were successful.

In finding artists, I look for rare talent; extreme commitment; good character; and general compatibility with me and my staff.


Yung Jake, 'Drawings', Installation view.

What do you have planned for 2015?

Our first solo exhibition in the new space will introduce a new artist to Los Angeles and to our program—Hannah Perry (London). She just arrived in Los Angeles where she will live and work for the next six weeks, both for her show here and her solo project at Art Brussels in April. We also have solo shows planned for Jonas Lund, Pablo Rasgado, Michael Staniak, Camilo Restrepo and Yung Jake, all of whom will also be prominently featured in art fairs in Europe and in Latin America. Two newcomers deserve special mention. Ivan Comas (Buenos Aires) is a brilliant young conceptual painter who will have a solo show with us in June, and a solo booth at a European art fair in September. We are also providing him a studio in Los Angeles for three months starting in mid-January. In October, William Pope L. will have a solo show inspired by the legacy of Joe Gans, an African American world champion boxer who fought and won the longest bout in modern boxing history—42 rounds in Goldfield, Nevada in 1906.


Rafael Rozendaal, 'Almost Nothing Hardly Anything', Installation view.

What trends in collecting should people pay attention to (or avoid)?

I don’t recommend following trends. The best collectors use their eyes, not their ears.

Jessica Silverman


Photo courtesy Margo Mortiz

Jessica Silverman owns and directs her eponymous gallery in San Francisco, CA.

What drew you to Shannon Finley’s work? How did you meet and decide to represent him?

During my undergraduate days at Otis College, I worked on Michael Ovitz’s art collection. I would often give tours of the art in his office. One visitor was a dealer who worked for a European Gallery and later opened his own space in Berlin. He represented Shannon Finley and told me to check him out. I was immediately entranced by the kaleidoscopic nature of his work and the poetry of his geometric forms. In 2010 I offered him an exhibition after seeing images of his paintings online.  When the work arrived, I knew we had made the right decision, and we have represented him ever since.

Amikam Toren, Of The Times and Other Historic Works, installation view, 2013

Your gallery is known for discovering emergent artists. How do you find new talent?

I don’t define emerging by age but by where the artist is in his or her career – their degree of exposure. The gallery’s roster includes artists that range in age from their twenties to their seventies. In November 2013, we presented Amikam Toren’s first solo show in America. He is a British-Israeli artist in his late sixties. We also presented a solo booth of Toren’s work at Frieze New York in May 2014. Since then, there has been tremendous response to his practice. In April 2015, we will present an exciting solo exhibition by the godfather of the Vancouver art scene, Ian Wallace. Other contemporary artists we show are Hugh Scott-Douglas, Dashiell Manley, Hayal Pozanti and Ruairiadh O’Connell, who were all born in the 1980s.

Hugh Scott-Douglas, Untitled, dye sublimation on linen, 2014

Who are some other artists that we should keep an eye on?

Alongside the gallery program, I also curate shows at fused space, an exhibition space at Yves Behar’s fuseproject, which allows me to invite artists that we do not represent to participate in group or solo exhibitions. Upcoming shows include some great artists to keep an eye on: Lucie Stahl, Cooper Jacoby, Erica Mahinay, Egan Frantz and many more!

Tammy Rae Carland, Live from somewhere, installation view, 2014

How is the San Francisco art scene different from the New York art scene?

San Francisco has a rich history of philanthropy and a lot of support for its museums and arts institutions. Unlike New York, San Francisco also has a lot of new collectors who come from the venture capital and technology sectors.

In 2015, the new Berkeley Art Museum will open and in 2016 the new SFMOMA will open, a museum that will be nearly as large as MOMA, New York. Amidst the rent increases, we are still seeing many thriving artist-run and project spaces including: Et Al, Will Brown, Kadist and Kira Koula.

Jose Leon Cerillo, Ejemplo Inestable 15, steel and enamel, 2014

Can you tell us about your current show with Sean Raspet and upcoming projects?

Sean Raspet’s current solo exhibition Residuals has a fragrance formulation of the gallery in the form of a “scratch n’ sniff” that has been sprayed onto our gallery walls. Visitors have been able to scratch the walls to release the scent. During the show, as scents are released, Raspet will use equipment to capture the smells which he will transform into a cleaning product. This cleaning product will eventually be used to clean the “scratch n’ sniff” off of the walls at the end of the show. It is a groundbreaking show for the artist and takes his work to a new and exciting place.

Our upcoming show with Dashiell Manley is titled “Time seems sometimes to stop” and focuses on the daily and meditative practice of reading a newspaper. With a new series of paintings, Manley focuses on the front page as both a significant marker of time as well as an iconographic symbol of information exchange.

Hugh Scott-Douglas, Untitled, dye sublimation on linen, 2014

Do you recommend getting an MFA in Curatorial Practice? How did this affect your process?

With most education, you get out of it what you put into it. I really took advantage of the access that my Curatorial Practice MA gave me at the California College of the Arts (CCA). I met great curators and have stayed in touch with many of them. I opened the gallery while still working on my MA at CCA and found that I really benefited from the dialogue I had with teachers and visiting curators, who helped me understand how to develop my programming during the first year.

Strauss Bourque-Lafrance, Babe, just do it, plexiglas, polyethylene mesh and spray enamel, 2013

Do you live with art? What artists are in your personal collection?

Yes! My girlfriend, Sarah Thornton, and I love to live with art. Right now we have many amazing works in our house by artists such as Hugh Scott-Douglas, Lorna Simpson, Julian Hoeber, Strauss Bourque-Lafrance, John Baldessari, Lucie Stahl, Francesca Woodman, and many more.

If you could acquire any work of art in the world for your own personal collection, what would it be?

A couple of artists I always want to collect are R.H. Quaytman and Gabriel Orozco. Recently at Art Basel Miami Beach, a few things I saw and wanted were a sculpture by Simon Denny, a painting by Jaya Howey and a lot of works by David Hammons.

Allegra LaViola and Meredith Rosen


Allegra LaViola and Meredith Rosen founded Sargent’s Daughters in November of 2013.

Tell us a little about Sargent’s Daughters, which borrows its name from John Singer Sargent. How was his practice an inspiration for the space? Didn’t you have an all female exhibition this summer?

The gallery opened in November 2013 and Sargent was an inspiration for a number of reasons. He was a traditionalist who could not help but be innovative, which was appealing as we are working with contemporary artists, but still interested in the historical and formal qualities of art. Also of importance to us was the dialogue between different generations of artists– historically and contemporaneously.

We did have a 40 woman exhibition this summer entitled “Sargent’s Daughters”, in which we asked the artists to contribute a work that was, in some way, inspired by Sargent. We were curious about the influence of someone so well known for his paintings of women– and how that translates to female artists today.


Jesse Mockrin's painting from "Sargent's Daughters"

You focus on artists whose work combines qualities of tradition and cutting edge. What do you find interesting about exhibiting traditional techniques in a time when the art world is very focused on the Internet and new technology? Who are some new or emerging artists who are taking an interesting approach to classical technique?

What is most of interest to us is the quality of work– not necessarily being about traditional techniques. Someone like Petra Cortright or Cory Archangel (both of whom work in new technology) are fascinating because there is the common art historical thread that weaves through their work. An artist making very traditional, but dull, oil paintings would not be of interest simply by virtue of his technique. I am also not sure the art world is actually that focused on new technology– people still love paintings!

There is an abundance of emerging artists who are approaching classical techniques in their own ways. Jesse Mockrin, Jordan Casteel, Brad Jones (an ongoing collaboration by Brandi Twilley and Jennifer Rubell) are artists whose works have captivated us recently.


Brad Jones (an ongoing collaboration by Brandi Twilley and Jennifer Rubell): Diptychs

Your current exhibition, Brad Jones (an ongoing collaboration by Brandi Twilley and Jennifer Rubell): Diptychs, is both a performance and an exhibition of traditional portraiture. Who is “Brad Jones” and what drew you the project?

Brad Jones is the name of an ongoing collaboration between Brandi Twilley and Jennifer Rubell, initiated in April 2013. The artists meet three times a week for two hours at a time to engage in live portrait painting sessions in which Twilley always paints and Rubell always poses. As a conceptual frame around their portrait practice, they named the collaboration “Brad Jones,” conceived as the quintessential great American (male) painter.

What drew us to the project was both the paintings themselves, which are beautifully done, and the concept of the project. We are used to looking at nude women painted by men. The women are often anonymous and, even when they are famous, are eclipsed by the man who paints them. What if the sitter were just as active a participant as the painter? What if she also had ownership of the body of work that is, literally, her own body? Brad Jones both asks and answers these questions- and that was of deep importance to us as active participants in the art world.


Brad Jones (an ongoing collaboration by Brandi Twilley and Jennifer Rubell): Diptychs

Rolando Jimenez and Ednita Colon

Rolando Jimenez and Ednita Colon founded the Jimenez – Colon Collection in Puerto Rico, which contains 850 works of art by 250 different artists.

What draws you to contemporary art today?

In terms of art trends now, we are fascinated by process-driven work and abstract minimalism. Over the last five years, we have shifted our interests from primarily aesthetic to a more conceptual standpoint. For us, the experience of being surrounded by art should provoke thought and emotion. Of course, since contemporary art has proved to be a sound investment in recent years, collecting presents us with the opportunity to enhance our cultural and financial legacy. Having our daughters grow and be involved in our collecting ‘adventure’ has proved to be a powerful force in how we approach the ever-changing world as a family unit.


"Self Portrait (Venus, Venus, Verdi)" by The Bruce High Quality Foundation

What was the first work of art you purchased?

In 2006, we started our collection mostly with Puerto Rican art. Our first piece was from Olga Albizu, considered among the most important women of American Abstract Expressionism and probably the movement’s most outstanding representative from Puerto Rico. By 2011, we shifted our focus towards international contemporary art, namely, figurative works. The first legitimate work in our international collection was a large work by Romanian artist Mircea Suciu, titled The Good Catholic. We added Julie Heffernan shortly thereafter, along with Ruby Neri and some of the artists featured in Phaidon’s Vitamin P2 book.  In retrospect, we’ve had a rather intense experience over the last 45 months!


"Untitled - Portrait of Din" by Mickalene Thomas

Is it important for the works you’ve purchased to have been exhibited before? Do you loan your works to exhibitions?

We do our best to collect contemporary works that are representative of an artist’s style.  We also like to collect artists in depth when we feel moved by their conceptual approach. That being said, the exhibition curriculum and documentation of a specific work definitely creates added value.  That alone can tilt the balance when presented with a tough choice between two works.

We’ve had several works acquired for museum exhibitions.  Our Mickalene Thomas works were shown at the Brooklyn Museum and in Santa Monica. Two of our Ruby Neri sculptural works were shown in Los Angeles at different museum exhibitions before coming home to Puerto Rico.  Similar opportunities happened with Allison Schulnik and a few others.  We are certainly open to loaning our works and are hopeful that the future will bring more inquiries from institutional exhibitions as our collection grows and matures.


"deredemisloreulpii" by Kadar Brock

How did you learn about Exhibition A and decide to purchase Kasper Sonne, Eddie Martinez, and Chris Succo prints (and more)? Do you add them to your collection?

We learned about Exhibition A while researching Art Basel Miami Beach and NADA Miami Beach 2011.  You presented a Nate Lowman print in your NADA 2011 booth.  That was a great introduction and I knew right away that Exhibition A meant serious business and would continue to present our art community with very collectible editions from top artists.  There have been varied reasons for us to move forward and collect your editions.  We love Kasper Sonne and Chris Succo, who are both emerging forces in process driven abstraction.  We have always experienced a very positive vibe towards Eddie Martinez and his work.  It’s also very likely that the Bruce High Quality Foundation represents our favorite collective in the whole world.  There will always be a very valid reason for us to indulge…

We officially add a good portion of the acquired Exhibition A editions to our collection, but some have been presented as great gifts to a group of friends that we have initiated in this contemporary art collecting adventure.  These special works have certainly triggered their curiosity and have enriched several aspects of our group experience.


"F (Gee Vaucher)" by David Ostrowski

What artists would you like to see create an edition with Exhibition A?

David Ostrowski, Christian Rosa, Wyatt Kahn, Angel Otero, Israel Lund, Dean Levin, Jonas Wood.  There is a long list…but I am sure you have most of them in mind.


"Sammy's Camera" by Nick Darmstaedter

Which artist’s work are you pursuing for your collection currently?

We have recently added work by Christian Rosa, Nick Darmstaedter, Lucien Smith, David Ostrowski and Alex Hubbard, among others.  We are now after Wyatt Kahn and Jonas Wood.  We are also always on the lookout for Andy Warhol Polaroids and 8 x 10 format photographs to add to our collection.  We have been very active in collecting those Polaroids since 2011.

Natalia Sacasa

Natalia Sacasa is a Senior Director at Luhring Augustine.

How did you originally become interested in contemporary art, and how did you get involved in art professionally?

I have always been a creative person. I was a ballet dancer in my teens and then became a visual artist, and I love to cook and craft. I attended Carnegie Mellon’s School of Art and earned a BFA; after art school I moved to New York and got a job as the receptionist at Luhring Augustine. I was made aware of the position through one of my best friends, the artist Matt Keegan, who was vacating it, and the director Claudia Altman-Siegel, who’s sister had also attended CMU. This is emblematic of how small and familial the art world was at the time–I’ve been with Luhring Augustine since 1999 and have been a witness to this amazing transformation! There has been an incredible expansion of the art world. I think the internet has a great deal to do with this…its more like an art universe now.

A painting by B Thom Stevenson

The artists who you show at Luring Augustine usually have pretty developed careers. Who are some younger or emerging artists you are following and why?

I recently have been looking at a lot of younger artist’s work through the internet, and of course, Instagram…. #Bushwick led me to the work of B. Thom Stevenson. His work owes a lot to the visual language of advertising, graphic design and the nostalgia for the printed object itself. He is also a painter who brings a broad range of symbols together for visual interpretation. His work has a sharp graphic quality, and I also want to unpack and churn it over in my head.

I became fascinated with photography early in my career. I never studied it formally, I learned through my work and became obsessed with it. I began to wonder about and seek out ways the medium was being used differently, beyond the traditional classifications of landscape and portraiture. My friend, the remarkably debonair Olivier Renaud Clement, introduced me to the work of Barbara Kasten, and that opened a set of floodgates for me. And though Kasten has been making her photographs since the 80′s, her work is only just now getting the recognition it deserves. Photographers like Kasten and Sarah Charlesworth have had a significant impact on artists of my generation who are using the medium; through their work I came to appreciate and collect the works of Eileen Quinlan, Sara VanDerBeek, and Liz Deschenes.

Mural in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

What has been your experience of Bushwick since the gallery opened its exhibition space there in 2012? How has your gallery used that space as part of its program?

It happened that my husband Enrique and I moved to Bushwick around the same time that the gallery bought the building and decided to make part of it exhibition space, so I’ve had a multifaceted experience of the neighborhood. My co-worker Donovan Barrow recommended Lawrence and Roland look for space in the area for storage. The building was large enough to accommodate an ample gallery/viewing room and the space was designed so that we could have the option to be open to the public. At first we didn’t think we would have a year-round program, but our projects were getting such good public reception we kept inviting artists to do exhibitions there.

There was a well established community of artists and galleries in Bushwick before we opened and they were very welcoming to us. The first opening of Charles Atlas’s The Illusion of Democracy was packed! And unlike openings in Chelsea, people came and hung out rather than moving onto the next gallery, Bushwick has the feeling of community that I think we have lost in Chelsea. People spend time with the work there, so we have endeavored to make it worth their while. We have treated the space not as a “secondary space,” but as an equal counterpart to our Chelsea program. We’ve done an important historic exhibition, artists have shown new works, and we have also done screenings and overviews of earlier works by our filmmakers.

It feels like the development of the area is accelerating. There are dozens of new apartment buildings, bars, coffee shops and restaurants opening up between the Morgan and Dekalb stops on the L. The area also has a vivid display of outdoor murals–you can walk through the neighborhood and see so many different styles–from the traditional graffiti mural stylings to paintings and paper murals. I have been “collecting” murals too… I have a Facebook album going.

Part of Natalia’s mural “collection”

What projects are you focusing on or excited about this coming year either at LuA or other spaces?

I’m working with Jeff Elrod who will have an exhibition with Galerie Max Hetzler in Paris. To sum it up, I think his work is radical and he is making his best work right now. I am looking forward to that exhibition, and of course I’ll be in Paris–I love Paris! Janine Antoni is another artist I work with; she too is making some of the most compelling work of her career. She has been engaged with movement and dance as well as making sculpture; the symbiosis of which is profoundly poetic. This work will be exhibited in the spring ’15 at Anthony Meier Fine Art in San Francisco and at Luhring Augustine in New York; she is also working on a series of performance pieces for the Fabric Workshop. She received a grant to develop the work over the next two years with Anna Halprin and Stephen Petronio!


Eileen Quinlan photographs.

Art collecting advice no one else is giving?

I don’t think I’m alone in this assertion, but it doesn’t hurt to restate: buy what you love not what you think is a good investment. There are no “mistakes” if you buy art this way. Make an attempt to connect with the artist, make it meaningful and the value will be there.

Joshua Abelow


Joshua Abelow is an artist represented by James Fuentes Gallery.

You and MacGregor Harp were both in a show with Sadie Laska that just closed, right? When were you introduced to him or his work?

Yes, yes and Adrianne Rubenstein.  The four of us had paintings intermingling at David Petersen Gallery in Minneapolis last month.  I don’t remember the first time I saw MacGregor’s work, but the first time I heard his name probably had something to do with 247365.

Last winter, Emily Ludwig Shaffer and I curated a group show inspired by Twin Peaks at The Suzanne Geiss Company and we included a large wall painting by MacGregor.  One of the things I like about MacGregor’s work is that it is stylistically diverse. Yet, there is something soulful and thoughtful in all of it.


What Was The Question group show at David Peterson Gallery

How do you balance creating artwork, curating shows, and posting to ART BLOG ART BLOG? Is balance even the right word? I imagine it’s an integrated life.

Have you ever read Paul Feeley’s “Bennington Art Policy,” which was written in 1959?  It’s a list of twenty objectives.  The last one reads, “To emphasize the notion of the study of art as a way of leading to a way of life, not the study of art as the acquisition of a vocational technique leading to immediate success.”


A Becky Howland piece from Joshua's collection.

You’re pretty stringent about documenting and archiving your paintings. Why is this important to you? Do you see it as a separate component to the art-making? Do you encourage other artists to do this or is it more of a personal habit?

I do it out of necessity – the only way for me to keep track of my life and my work is to be organized.  My approach to art is, in a lot of ways, analytical.  I’m interested in the relationship between things.  How does painting relate to blogging for instance?  How does writing relate to photography?  How can a group of drawings change the interpretation of a group of paintings?  What is the difference between the documentation of an artwork and the original artwork?  How does the circulation of images and text on the Internet inform or alter meaning?  The blog is an extension of my interest in organization, documentation, daily ritual, and communication with an invisible, ever-present audience.  There are over 12,500 posts on the blog and each post marks a specific moment in time.  I’m interested in marking time in a variety of ways.


Joshua Abelow and Gene Beery's two person show at Bodega

I loved your book, Painter’s Journal. You also write poetry. How is the writing thought process different from visual art – say, a line drawing? Or is it?

Thank you.  I worked on Painter’s Journal, off and on, for about four years before it was published.  Although my style is simple, everything I write goes through several iterations before completion.  My drawings, on the other hand, are immediate and I never edit or revise.  Painting is a combination of the two.  All these activities occupy different parts of my brain, but they are interconnected.


Joshua Abelow and Gene Beery at Bodega.

Your show just opened with Gene Beery at Bodega in New York and also at Freddy in Baltimore.  Can you tell us a bit about these exhibitions?

I discovered Beery’s work about three years ago.  Since that time we have become friends and he has been actively contributing photographs, text, and paintings to my blog on a weekly or monthly basis.  We did some art trades, which lead to a conversation about a two-person show.  Rather than a straightforward painting exhibition, we thought it would be more interesting to do some collaborative works.  So, in addition to showing our paintings at Bodega, we made about 100 black and white photographs – I shot the photos in New York and then Gene added text in response to each image from his home in California.  Ten of these photographs are on view at Freddy in Baltimore.  The show in Baltimore presents photos of the show in New York – a Dada inspired gesture that is intended to be somewhat confusing.


Joshua Abelow and Gene Beery collaborative photograph.

Do you purchase and/or live with artwork? If so, what?

I’m the proud owner of two “Lung Cancer Ashtrays” by Becky Howland – wonderful ceramic pieces from 1984.  They were in a show with MacGregor and Robert Loughlin at Freddy a few weeks ago called Freddy’s Addiction.  I don’t hang much in my apartment – my entire art collection is at my mom’s house.  Some good stuff on the walls – Keith Mayerson, Eddie Martinez, Katherine Bernhardt, Tisch Abelow, Michael Berryhill, William Crawford, Gene Beery, Cheryl Donegan, MacGregor Harp, Van Hanos, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Nicholas Buffon, Ella Kruglyanskaya, Joe Bradley, among others.

Ethan Suplee


Ethan Suplee is an actor best known for his work in American History X, Blow, and Cold Mountain, among many other film and television roles. He is an avid art collector based in New York and Los Angeles.

How did you first become interested in contemporary art?

I’ve always been drawn to the idea that artists change the way we see the world. I’ve also had an affinity for history for as long as I can recall. It’s been the last ten or so years that I focused on work that’s being made now.


A piece by Kon Trubkovich.

When did you start collecting? Do you remember the first piece you bought?

I have works that I acquired back in the mid ’90s, but my clearest memories of purchasing art with the intention of collecting are from the early 2000s, when I bought work by JP Munro and Rob Thom from China Art Objects.


From Kika Karadi's OPM series.

When were you first introduced to Kika Karadi? What drew you to her work?
A friend named Mike Densen told me to check her out about a year ago. I was immediately taken with her haunting style.


Jeff Elrod

How do you stay engaged in what’s going on in the art world?

I try to go to as many openings and fairs as possible. In LA, I like OhWow, Steve Turner Contemporary, Roberts and Tilton, Anat Ebgi, Cherry and Martin, Night Gallery… There are a lot more galleries in NYC, too many to list. I read Art Forum and like Art Observed, I really enjoy Adam Lindemann’s op-ed pieces.


Isabel Yellin.

Who are you collecting right now? Which new artists should we look out for?

Right now I’m really excited by Torey Thornton, Ross Iannatti and Isabel Yellin.

Alberto Chehebar


Alberto Chehebar works in the textile distribution business and has been collecting art for over 25 years. Originally from Bogotá, Columbia, he recently moved to LA to explore the art scene.

How were you first introduced to Eddie Martinez’s work?

We had a studio visit, and it was love at first sight!


Pieces by Sam Moyer, Kyle Thurman, and Lucien Smith.

What was the first piece of art you purchased and why?

My first piece was a Keith Haring in 1989. I was studying in NYC and was exposed to his work all over the city. He was a huge influence and a true master. It’s still probably one the most important works in the collection.


A painting by KAWS.

What other artists are you collecting (or seeking to collect?)

I collect anything that moves me, from Cindy Sherman to KAWS, George Condo, and Jonas Wood. The spectrum has no limits. Recently it’s been women; Lucy Dodd and Petra Cortright, amongst others.


Chehebar's collection.

How do you keep up with current trends in contemporary art?

I do lots of studio visits and travel to fairs all over. Both are key. I love seeing the work in the studio and then seeing how it speaks in context to other work at fairs and galleries.


Pieces by Cory Arcangel and Robert Indiana.

Simon Franks


Simon Franks founded the Franks-Suss Art Collection with Robert Suss in 2001.

The Franks‐Suss Collection first focused primarily on Chinese artwork. How has the collection evolved since it was founded in 2001? What do you find unique about work being produced in countries that are undergoing social, economic, or political change?

When we started collecting in China, it was by far the most exciting country in terms of producing wonderful and original art, at prices that we could afford. China was at the vanguard of the emerging art scene, and also, as it happened, one of the catalysts for the creation of the Collection. As time went by, China became hot and as the prices of Chinese work rose and indeed our own resources grew, we widened the net and started looking for the other countries that were also not focussed on by the collecting world. It is hard to imagine now that in 2001 almost no Western collections had Chinese art works. What is so exciting about China and indeed most countries that are undergoing change be it social, economic or political is that it provides a catalyst for artists to say something to tell a story, to protest. From my perspective, some Western art from the most developed countries had become crass, shallow and lacking in any poignancy. That is not always the case obviously, but I still find countries like China, Angola, Zimbabwe or Brazil create exciting art.


Brad Kahlhamer, "Marianetta, Wife of Geronimo", 2013

There is some overlap in your collection with artists we’ve collaborated with: Brad Kahlhamer, Kon Trubkovich, Andisheh Avini, and now Kasper Sonne. How did you discover Kasper?

Part of the Collection’s raison d’être is the highlighting of exciting talent trying to do something different. The artists you mentioned are all doing that, including one of my absolute favourites, Brad Kahlhamer. In regard to Kasper, I cannot take credit for discovering him. It was actually Rob who started following Kasper’s work after an introduction and became a big fan very quickly.


Brad Kahlhamer, "Hair and Skin", 2013

Many artists you’ve collected go on to have long, vibrant careers. What’s the biggest success story you’ve seen over the past twelve years?

Yes I am very proud of this fact. I think our curators have been exceptional in finding artists that are committed and for the long term and have the X Factor, the Magic Dust that helps their work consistently evolve and stay on as the zeitgeist. To answer your question directly about the biggest success story, you would have to first define success for me. I suspect you mean in terms of value of the work having grown. In today’s world where art has become so commoditized and is treated as an investment product, rather than a work of beauty, this seems to be the most focused on. According to this metric, I would have to highlight Zeng Fanzhi. We first bought his work, of which we have many, in the low tens of thousands. As you know, today his work trades in the millions. Zeng is the real deal and on a comparative basis he is still not fully valued as an artist, by Western collectors.


You’ve said your collection is about a shared passion for art and those whom create it rather than investment. Can you expand on why you think this is important for the long term?

I cannot speak for Rob but when I started the Collection I knew nothing about art, but I have always had a passion for people who create art in all its forms whether it be poetry, writing, painting, film making or music. There is something beguiling about watching an artist at work, artists consumed by their passion and skill. But as the Collection has grown and the numbers become bigger and more meaningful, it is hard to not consider art in an investment sense. The media is so full of investment articles about art and a whole eco system has developed to monetize and commoditize art. We at the Collection really try to resist seeing art this way.  Ultimately we’d like the Collection to function as a global beacon which calls a wider community to engage with the arts and expands the engagement with the art and the artists we care about. That is our goal.


Yonamine, "Once You Go Black, You Never Go Back", 2013