Illustration: Self-portrait for GHG#2, 2011 by Joakim
This week, we are thrilled to join forces with Guest House Gallery. Established in 2009 in Paris and London, GHG organizes one-night art shows, introducing emerging artists in unusual places. This time they set up shop at Gleason’s Gym in Dumbo and feature a boxing match! The after show party will be at Le Bain this Friday night, with two of the most innovative DJs from Paris: Joakim (of Tigersushi) and Etienne Tron (of Radioclit fame). Pauline Lévêque and Marine de Bouchony, the curators of GHG, tell us about their own way of promoting art.
How did you come up with the idea of doing your art show in a boxing gym?
We look for inaccessible venues, which are private or closed to the public. Places with a day-to-day life of their own, and also an aura. Places where we can play between reality and fiction. They’re a hook for getting a feel for the city and getting a fresh angle on how we see, perceive and imagine it. Lots of famous boxers have trained at Gleason’s Gym, and Scorsese filmed Raging Bull there. It’s a sweaty place, with lots of photos and traces of the regulars, who have nothing to do with art at all. We also had a good feeling with the manager, Bruce Silverglade. Besides, we like the challenge of dealing with the imperatives of these visually laden places.
What was the common link of the artists you curated on this show?
They’re just artists whose work we really like. The only question we ask throughout the selection and the creation process is “would we like that in our house? would we be interested in buying it?” And of course, they’re artists we believe in: we think – or sense – that they’re going to progress and that their works will gain value on the international market. In order to create a dynamic, and because we want GHG to be a place for seeking new forms and exploring unusual techniques, we take care to invite artists who have already attained some recognition alongside young talents who have barely left school.
Lastly, the artists we work with are also quite simply folks we get on well with!
You did the same exhibition in Paris a few weeks ago. What were the highlights?
Actually, we have been surprised by its success : blossoming girls and boys, young artists meeting young collectors, guests queuing outside the secret Hotel Particulier Montmartre, 50 pieces sold out, 84 bottles of precious champagne… What we had in mind was simply happening, all in a very good spirit. God bless GHG.
Both the DJs and producers Joakim and Etienne have been involved in the show. Does music play an important role in GHG?
We both share the same passion for music but who doesn’t? For each edition, we edit a compilation with tracks treasured by the artists.
But here it’s more about the talent of Etienne and Joakim.
We’ve had a love affair with Secousse (Etienne Tron + Aurélien Laffon) since 2009. They’re promoting, producing and commissioning ghetto artists from all around the world whether they are musicians, painters or photographers. Guest House Gallery’s first edition settled in their premises at Le Comptoir Général in Paris. For this second edition we let them present two African “public” painters who work on demand.
We are also in love with Joakim’s music. And he’s a very inspiring character. We knew that he had designed some of his own cd sleeves and had the idea of pushing that thing further. We offered him an opportunity to create his first serie and are proud to know that he liked the experience… It may be the beginning of something for him.
What’s next with GHG? Will you come back in New York soon?
It would be great to come back to NYC but before that we would love to keep on traveling, discovering new artists in Tanger, collectors from Moscow, and why not musicians in Mexico City.
We work on keeping Guest House Gallery a fun and fresh project. And maybe in a few months time, we’ll realize that GHG is getting somewhere and we have to think about it not only as a side project but as the main one!