Beyond the Pond - Silke Lindner
UP-AND-COMING is an interview series of KUBAPARIS highlighting exciting players in the art scene with a focus on emerging artists and institutions. It consists of various smaller series concentrating on geographic locations that we believe have great potential when it comes to art and aesthetics or are currently doing an interesting shift. “Beyond the Pond” is one of those sequences examining the upcoming art scene in the Melting Pot of New York. It presents different artists and young galleries who try to make it there – and obviously succeed. The first episode features German gallerist Silke Lindner and her new space in Tribeca. How and why she started her adventure in NYC and which plans she´s got for the future you can read in the following…
CH Hey Silke, great to meet you. You recently opened a gallery in NYC, what a major step. Is it really like they say: if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere?
SL Nice to meet you too! I’m not sure if the saying can be applied much to galleries as a lot of what makes a gallery successful (in my opinion) are local relationships with artists, collectors, curators, writers, etc. Every city operates differently so I don’t think because you can make it here you can necessarily make it anywhere.
CH What led you to finally start your own gallery business?
SL The main motivation was and has been to give a platform to the artists I believe in and to support their careers. I’ve always loved sharing with others what I am excited about and having a designated space to do just that is the best thing I can imagine spending my time with.
CH Do you feel it is especially hard (or maybe the opposite - an advantage) to be a woman in this business?
SL Neither. The majority of collectors, artists and colleagues that I’ve been dealing with since opening the gallery are actually women and that feels pretty great.
CH There are quite some German gallery owners in NYC. Do you share a kind of community?
SL Not really. Maybe there is some kind of community that I don’t know of but I read somewhere, I forget where, that Germans tend to stay to themselves and not seek each other out when they’re outside of Germany. That seems pretty accurate.
CH How do galleries in NYC work with each other in general? Cooperation or Competition? What's the driving force here?
SL A bit of both, one doesn’t exclude the other. I feel like there’s great cooperation among younger galleries and that’s the main sentiment I’m getting. But naturally there’s also competition when there are as many galleries as there are in New York.
CH Tell us some more about your program. What are you aiming to focus on, what's your approach?
SL The program is focused on international emerging artists and besides that I don’t want to narrow it down to any stance or direction. I really just want to show what I like and I think it’s more interesting to see connecting elements among artists's practices as I go along instead of using them as prerequisites for the program.
CH When it comes to gallery business or the art business in general - who are your role models?
SL There are a lot of galleries whose programs I admire, JTT, Queer Thoughts and Gordon Robichaux, to name a few, but I wouldn’t say I have a role model per se.
CH What were your main obstacles to overcome when opening your gallery? Was it particularly hard to do that in NYC if you compare it to the European - or more precisely - the German gallery scene, or do you see mainly advantages?
SL Rent, wages and living costs are much higher here than in Germany so there’s a lot more pressure to sell. At the same time I don’t want to compromise the program so figuring out the right balance has been the biggest obstacle.
CH Speaking of curation - is it something that is driven mostly by intuition and personal taste or is it also kind of a gamble where you "bet" on artists to grow big? How do you reconcile the need of making money with the wish to only show artists you truly admire personally - even though they might not be good sellers yet?
SL Intuition and personal taste for sure - no betting. In order to keep the gallery going and growing though it’s important to find the right balance between work that is accessible to people more instantly and work that needs more time. Especially when it’s mediums that are not painting, people usually need more time before they’re ready to commit to something. So I think getting the pace right is important.
CH I am sure, some of our readers are going to visit NYC and your space soon. Do you have any tips for their trip to NYC? Where to go to see as much great art as possible, where to get the best lunch/dinner, and what's maybe a real insider tip?
SL For art, the Dream House in TriBeCa, a permanent installation by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. For dinner Lovely Day in Nolita or The Ear Inn in Soho.