Olivia: The intergenerational aspect of the gallery gives us a breadth of knowledge. It’s really inspiring for us to make connections between older artists and emerging artists. And for some of the younger artists we work with, it allows them to make new associations, to see themselves and their practice within a timespan that’s longer than the five or ten years that they’ve been working.
Independent: The intergenerational emphasis in the gallery is also very present in what you’re planning for Independent in March: you’ll be exhibiting works by Anne Libby (b. 1987), Peter Nagy (b. 1959), Don Dudley (b. 1930), and Steven Parrino (b. 1958). How did you decide to put these artists together?
Olivia: Independent will actually be our first art fair, and we really wanted it to reflect who we are as a gallery. So we definitely wanted to have the intergenerational bent to our booth. We had mounted a show in the spring of 2017 with work by Anne, Peter, and Barry Le Va, and we saw a really amazing connection between Anne and Peter’s work. And then we did a solo show with Don in September.
Chris: I think of it as really evolving out of our Libby/Nagy/Le Va show. It’s also a real New York presentation: Don was a Minimalist painter active in the 1970s, Peter was a major figure in the New York art world in the 80s and 90s. He also had a gallery in the East Village, Nature Morte, which represented Steven Parrino and launched his career. Peter is based in New Delhi now, but I think of him as a New York artist. And now we’re also introducing Anne, who is representing a younger generation of artists working in New York. And their work all fits quite well together in terms of thinking about the legacy of minimalism. It’s hardly a history of minimalism, but these artists have all in some way been inspired by that language.
Olivia: All of the artists are doing a lot with a really concise language, and a restrained palette. There’s also a common thread of seriality and modularity.
Independent: What has the experience of starting a new gallery been like? Have there been challenges?
Olivia: When I think back to this time period, early 2016, when we were first opening the gallery, and what our hopes and dreams were, I feel like we’ve not only been able to uphold our integrity and fulfill the goals that we set, but surpass them. The challenges have been to take our own time and not feel the need to conform to a model of how a gallery operates. For instance, things like doing art fairs, or having a roster of represented artists: these were things we always planned on, but we wanted to do it on our own schedule. And now, two years in, we’re at a point where we can really experience the rewards of doing things at the pace that felt right for us.
Independent: Chris and David, you two are both practicing artists—Chris just opened a solo show at Lyles & King. How do you think that affects your approach to being gallerists?
Chris: David and I have both had a lot of experience working with galleries as artists, and in some cases, that’s given us a sense of how we don’t want to do things: we’re aware of what’s unpleasant from the artist’s perspective. And galleries don’t always take that into consideration.
Olivia: There’s a lot of empathy and understanding of the process of how things happen in the studio.
Chris: We bring an artist’s flexibility, too. We put a premium on flexibility and creativity.
David: We also feel really gratified when we sell work and can give artists the money they deserve. That’s one of the most satisfying components of running the gallery.
Olivia: Helping the artists we work with gain public recognition is the most exciting part. We want to support and draw attention to the work we really believe in—and when we’re able to get other people to believe in it too, and to put their money behind it and want to live with it, that’s the best thing we can ever ask for.