Ashley Stark is Creative Director of STARK, the legendary family-run carpet and fabric company founded over 75 years ago. Guest contributor Tova Ossad discusses steering the family business into an exciting new chapter, striking a balance between motherhood and a busy work life, and renovating her beautiful Manhattan townhouse.
London Art Week (LAW) is a major biannual art event that showcases the best that the art market has to offer, from leading galleries and auction houses. This year, the event will take place online and in galleries from 2-6 July 2021. Guest interviewer Tova Ossad sits down with LAW's Director Amelia Higgins to discuss what visitors can expect from the event and how the pandemic has impacted the art industry. Previous to joining LAW in 2017, Amelia worked for Old Master dealer Johnny van Haeften.
Carolyn Miner has worked in some of the most prestigious institutions in the United States and in Europe, straddling the commercial and the academic so it would be accurate to conclude that she is not just interested in objects, she is obsessed. Her fixation manifests in her current roles as independent art advisor and editor-in-chief of Il Libro Magazine. Carolyn thinks in movements and relationships, always asking how one artwork is inspired by another, thereby creating the ever-important art historical chains of inspiration.
From flying across the world to view a painting for thirty minutes to bespoke crates for artworks that are often only used once, the art world has a notoriously terrible carbon footprint. Finally, in October 2020, the Gallery Climate Coalition was formed by a group of gallerists, journalists, fair organisers and others. With a mission to educate this sector and move towards a reduction of carbon emissions by 50% (in line with the Paris accords), the GCC is helpfully providing the tools and the expertise to the art world – and other industries - to achieve this goal.
Seeing one of Modernity’s stands at an art fair gives the perfect sense of the furniture gallery’s philosophy. Take, for example, the 2015 London edition of the Pavilion of Art and Design where they had a large stand with two separate seating areas divided by a beautiful dining table. Two of the three walls had small wooden slats placed close together in what looked like a striped effect. It was something completely out of the ordinary and actually made the furniture interact with the walls as opposed to merely existing within them. To Modernity, furniture pieces aren’t merely being treated as everyday objects, but as unique pieces of art.
Books, maps, and globes are all areas that generate emotion for any interested buyer and Daniel Crouch is keenly aware of these connections. He invests an incredible amount of time creating experiences for his clients that will invoke a reaction or recreate a memory. When his gallery exhibited at The European Fine Art Fair, Maastricht in 2019, they brought virtual reality glasses and every person felt the elation of jumping into a map of Amsterdam or Paris. It’s not a gimmick; it makes this world breathe before a viewer’s eyes, creating more excitement and evoking further thought. Daniel relishes the opportunity to bring this to viewers and either open those feelings or start making new ones.
If you can’t visit Patrick Heide at an art fair or in his space on London’s Church Street, then the best place to talk about his gallery is standing outside of a small corner coffee shop, sipping a hot drink. The gallery works extensively and intensely to promote its artists with exhibitions and art fairs all over Europe, so you can see that Patrick is used to talking about the artist’s and their medium, no matter the setting. Though he is measured and rational, it is obvious that he has true passion for his work. He cares deeply about the conversations these artworks, and specifically this medium, can instigate and consistently looks forward to inviting those exchanges.
With her background in history of art and a resume that includes Christie’s and now Nicholas Hall, it is very easy to talk to Yuan Fang about pictures. Visit the gallery’s booths at art fairs or one of their expertly curated exhibitions in New York and you will see that she is eloquent and observant. But it is much more fun to talk to her about the work that she does to bring Old Masters to new viewers. She creates projects, curates exhibitions, and works with international scholars to educate audiences on how they too can connect with images that may not be immediately familiar. Of course Yuan loves art, that goes without saying, but it’s easy to see that she also enjoys the spark of a viewer realising that they have learned something new.
William McLure moves comfortably between inventive interior designer and talented artist. He works on his own properties and constructs beautifully chic spaces that fit his extroverted personality with taste and sophistication. With his artwork, he operates with the very Renaissance-era concept of being commissioned to create, but you would be mistaken if you thought that this limited his creativity in any way. He achieves inspired imagination within the parameters of what his clients request and accomplishes an unwavering balance of structure, volume, and colour.
Walk into Peter Finer’s showroom at 38-39 Duke Street, or onto one of their stands at an art fair and his son, Redmond Finer, will be your guide, transporting you to a world of courts and ceremony, presentations of royal gifts, and weapons representing honour and prestige. His knowledge is so vast and his explanations are so detailed that you will see the history of the arms and armour unfold before you. He is an exceptional combination of passionate dealer mixed with master storyteller and transmits his enthusiasm with ease and fervour.
Trying to describe Flavio Gianassi in one paragraph is impossible, especially for someone like me who has worked closely with him for almost fourteen years. I have written draft after draft of this introduction and none of them capture his dynamic personality or his curious nature. So, here is my attempt: Flavio is sure to see every museum or gallery exhibition, every auction house preview, and every art fair because he is dedicated to absorbing as much visual detail as possible. He is tireless in his pursuit of engaging with every detail so that he can recall it from his sweeping memory. And whenever someone asks me, as many have over the years, ‘where does he get his energy from?’, my answer is simple: ‘he is committed to finding beauty in all that he sees and does’.
It is very difficult to engage in a conversation about contemporary British sculpture without examining Nick Hornby. With commissions all over the world and pieces that stand beside Barbara Hepworth and Auguste Rodin, it would be easy to understand if Nick were engrossed in the pretentious world that can capture a talented young artist. Instead, he is calm and speaks in a rhythm that is pensive and precise; because the truth is that he is interested in the experience of reflection and learning from his audience.
Anyone who meets Calvine Harvey will immediately notice that she has a staggering attention to detail; those who know her well would say that this passion is born out of an enthusiasm for telling a picture’s story. I have known her for over ten years and have watched her study the smallest features of an image, or chased the most insignificant facts about a painting’s history, because she believes that every factor will expand a painting’s horizon into the world of the viewer. She works very hard to translate the fascination of a scene or an artist into a language that any spectator can absorb. Whenever I am viewing a sale at Sotheby’s, whether in New York or London, I ask Calvine - who is justifiably busy - to explain at least one painting to me. She always makes it a magical experience.
If you ever have the pleasure of visiting Adrian Sassoon’s stand at an art fair, you will be transported into a celebration of artists and their treatment of materials. Whenever I have seen his displays, I notice that Adrian constantly handles his artist’s pieces. It’s not that he is overly tactile, but rather that he feels responsible for, and connected to, the mediums that his gallery represents. This translates to the gallery holding a reputation for their extremely high standard. He is also one of the few dealers who brings his artists to his art fair stands because he believes that the artist should be explaining their own craft. This all illustrates that Adrian has what is, in my opinion, a rare yet treasured quality in the art world: he likes to listen.
Tom Smith of Dovecote Antiques stands out as one of the youngest dealers in porcelain and silver, but it is his encyclopaedic knowledge that hypnotises any interested party. He can recall from memory entire catalogues of famous workshops whilst making any viewer appreciate even the smallest of details.