Monday, November 4, 2013

Art is a tool of always questioning the norms around us

Kayla Glasser

Contributing Editor at 

What is your job at Gagosian?

I was fortunate enough to be able to intern at Gagosian gallery for a few months in London. It was a real opportunity for me to be immersed in the commercial art world. Previously, I had been working at smaller galleries and public funded galleries, that I was ready to make a change and see another side of the art world. At Gagosian, my main task and why I was hired was to create the library system at the gallery. This entailed cataloguing and data entry. What was so great about this project was it was a solo project and I learned a lot about the artists represented at the gallery as well as myself and how a large gallery is so successful. It was a great accomplishment that I am proud of because I really felt like I had made a difference in such a large place. It might seem small project but at the end of the day, organization is key to running a successful gallery and this is what I had learned. There is so much going on in terms of setting up openings and exhibitions, preparing for fairs and auctions, that it is the little things that need to be perfect in order to for a gallery to run smoothly.

Tell me something about your training and your influences.

I had graduated university at Queens University in Kingston, Canada, with a bachelor in history and art history. Initially, I was under the impression that I would have liked to get involved somehow in politics, seeing as to how I had a great interest in Middle Eastern history and politics. I wanted to make a difference and especially with the Arab Spring commencing at that time, a lot was going on in terms of political change around the world. However, another aspect or influence that led me to the direction of going into art is passion for art. I was raised in museums and art galleries, and my fondest memories are of my uncles and aunts visiting Toronto and taking me around to explore museums such as the AGO ( Art gallery of Ontario) and the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) as a young girl. So my love of art and love of history and politics collided when I first saw Felix Gonzolaz-Torres piece Untitled (Portrait of Ross in LA). This installation, a commentary on the aids awareness in the United States around the 1980’s and 1990’s demonstrated to me that art can have a such a powerful effect on political change and bringing awareness to our society. I was well versed in art history, but I had very little knowledge about the Contemporary Art scene. It was after seeing Felix Gonzolaz-Torres piece that I had decided to move to London and obtain my Masters in Contemporary art at Sotheby’s Art Institute. There, I expanded my knowledge of art production today and how to better interpret and understand art. Art is such a powerful tool, and I think that at the moment it is not as accessible to the public as it should be. It is a very exclusive market and it has so much power for change that this is one of my main interests into going into the art market. To say I want to change the world is a very large task and I cannot say this, however what I will say is that I want to make people aware of the society around us, and what better way to do then making art accessible to the greater masses.

What direction do you expect your work to take in the future?

I think as, I have said before, that I have a great interest in politics and social awareness, that the direction I am now looking to take is to infiltrate the public sector of the art world. I want to make art accessible to the public and really allow art to be apart of everyone’s everyday life. Art can have a great impact on social and political change. As of now, I feel as though art has such a stigma surrounding it. It is for the wealthy, filled with lavish excesses. However this is not the case. Art is a tool of always questioning the norms around us, trying to find new ways of seeing life or finding alternatives. Take the American-Iranian artist Michael Rakowitz or Swiss born artist Olaf Breuning or the current show at Gagosian gallery The Show is Over. They are taking subjects such as American relations with Middle Eastern Countries, Western perceptions of the cultural Other and well known debate in the art world of the death of painting, and creating something physical and tangible for people to see and allowing us to rethink these ideas and the way the world is. So ultimately the direction I want to take is creating a world where people are always immersed in art, because without art there can be no change (and what a dull place would we be living in).