Interview by Lauren Downing
Photos by Aurelie Graillot
Susan Inglett taught me a thing or two in our brief talk. First and foremost, I need to extricate the term gallerina from my vocabulary immediately. Secondly, despite what the movies have taught us about the New York gallery scene (another phrase I’m considering axing from my lexicon), it is not all “cut throats,” white walls and “the next big thing.” Rather, Inglett’s philosophy seems to be to let the artwork guide her while infusing a little bit of her light-handed gallery-owner panache into the presentation. In the end, it became evident to me that Susan Inglett is a woman who cares deeply about art, but takes all of the gallery hype with a grain of salt; in this alchemy of passion and deadpan assertiveness, Inglett has found her niche. Oh, and of course, all of her success is not found without a smack of Monty Python…of course. Read on to see what I mean.
What’s your AMMO?
Susan Inglett: It is easy to be motivated when you do what you love every day with people you respect and admire. It also helps if that enterprise is a trifle esoteric.
How did you find your calling?
I came across a book in the University library about Leo Castelli, it sounded good to me.
How did you find success in the cut-throat New York gallery scene?
I would never say I’ve found success in the cut-throat New York Gallery scene, unless I wanted my throat cut.
How have you come to set your gallery apart from the competition?
My artists set the Gallery apart, each makes genuine work driven by a personal vision rather than a trend. Their efforts make the Gallery truly singular.
Being that you’re at the center of it all, how do you envision the future of the art world? What’s the future of art in our post- post- (post-?) modern climate?
It is clear that Art has only grown in importance as it becomes more accessible to more people across the globe. Art has the ability to expand the mind and transport the spirit. The need for that experience has only multiplied as our World becomes more complex and multivalent.
Do you have any suggestions for aspiring gallerinas?
Yes, don’t call yourself a gallerina.
Can you recall one of your favorite or proudest moments working in your gallery? Perhaps a chance encounter or a particularly special show?
There have been so many, but then I’m easy. Every time someone tells me they have been following my program I feel a certain thrill. I think one of the more significant shows I have done was curated by my husband, David Platzker, “Lynda Benglis / Robert Morris : 1973-1974”. Not only was the show widely discussed and reviewed, but an acknowledged homage was included in the current reinstallation of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art.
How do you envision your legacy?
“I’m not dead yet” –Monty Python
If you could curate your dream show, including any artworks and any artists—dead or alive—what, in a few words, would it include?
I would like to live with a show of Henry Fuseli, headed for a life in the church he took a right turn and became a painter. The work is replete with all of the drama, mannerisms and supernatural effects that one would expect from a member of the clergy. And that’s a good thing.
The Susan Inglett Gallery is located at 522 West 24th Street. For more information and current exhibitions go to www.inglettgallery.com.