ART IN CONVERSATION
By Francesca Rimi
Francesca Rimi: Firstly, congratulations. The opening was exceptional. As your inaugural exhibition, was it what you initially envisioned or did it change throughout the process?
Andi Potamkin: Thank you! We are pretty thrilled with how the first exhibition turned out. The concept certainly evolved, both in the process of mounting the first show and in conceiving the gallery itself. Steve and I bounce ideas off each other constantly and continue to develop new ideas for how we want to present art works. We are a concept space, a gallery-meets-boutique is rare, so we are committed to staying malleable while continuing to evolve.
Heraclitus (a Greek philosopher whose work I studied in college) said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” I believe that is true of life but also in business practice. We are a new type of gallery-business model, and have to be free to take risks, to throw things against the wall and see what sticks. We always want to keep the material relevant.
FR: Steve, I had a chance to speak with you at the opening and you said that Andi and yourself had created some initial goals? How did the two of you decide upon these goals and then obtain them?
AP: We are interested in encouraging clients and collectors to trust their own instincts. This is how we feel the best collections are formed—by formulating an individual point of view. We go through an extensive process of mounting exhibitions filled with treasures and then our goal is to let our clients come in and enjoy the act of discovery.
In addition, we want to champion talented artists. Here at Kasher|Potamkin we are interested more in the quality of the work than anything else. We are a gallery based on aesthetics, above all else.
FR: Kasher | Potamkin is a collaboration, not only between you two, but also with the artists. How did you proceed to assemble these creatives?
AP: With each show, we start with a theme – a specific energy or vibe we have in mind. This usually entails a color scheme as well. We want the gallery to feel like a collector’s home so we start with this rough skeleton of how we want the space to feel when someone is inside and then we start to piece it together, object-by-object.
So, we’ve got this idea of how we want the show to be and then we look into our artists’ bodies of work to pull pieces that fit. We present the theme to our artists and see what they come up with as well. It is very much so a dialog and collaborative environment. We locate works that interact positively and build vignettes from there. Piece-by-piece, it turns into this whole little world. It’s a lot of work, but astoundingly rewarding.
FR: How do you decide what pieces go into the gallery? Do you look for items that complement each other or do you find something that amazes you and then work them into the space?
AP: A little bit of both, I guess. Sometimes we will see a piece that just stops us in our tracks. This usually means it’s something we want to show and we figure out a way to work it in the show. Sometimes an incredible piece is the base and we will build the entirety of show around it.
Steve and I consistently bounce ideas off each other. We have different tastes and we come from different sides of the industry so our partnership lends a complexity to the shows we mount. It keeps our exhibits layered and prevents us from becoming stagnant.
We are very interested in creating a dialog between the works. We want to show art in conversation, as it would be within someone’s home. The way one puts works together can emphasize or deemphasize certain aspects of the piece. Once a piece is in dialog with other works, it starts to breathe.
FR: As art-dealers, you’ve seen a plethora of pieces. In the gallery I saw furniture, jewelry, sculptures, photography… have you been influenced at home by the artwork you promote?
AP: Yes, of course. The way Kasher|Potamkin is designed is very much a reflection of Steve and I. We give a great deal of thought to each work we put in the show. It takes a lot of willpower for me to not bring something home every day, but I do believe in the artists we work with at Kasher|Potamkin. I collect their work personally in addition to the pieces we display in the gallery.
FR: Walking through the gallery, I felt like I was walking through a fashion inspired dream; that might have been influenced by the coinciding Fashion Week, but does that touch on any overarching theme you have for the space?
AP: That’s great to hear! We definitely had Fashion Week in mind when we conceived the show. Fashion Week is my favorite holiday of the year. I think the overarching theme you are referencing is something that will show up in all our exhibitions and that is this sense of feminine empowerment.
About 80% of the artists in this show are women, however that is not the sole reason we chose them. We chose these particular works because we felt the strongest connection with them. It just so happens that many young women are creating great work right now. It’s an honor to be in a position to champion them.
FR: Having windows that display to the High Line leads to a lot of opportunities. I see that you have a video playing right now. Do you have any other plans for the future: performances, elaborate installations…?
AP: We are very open to performances and installations. Currently we are housing many events; book signings, pop-up shops, talks and interviews. We cherish our sense of play here and we will always be trying something new. Stay tuned.
Andi Potamkin is a gallerist and co-owner of the Kasher|Potamkin Gallery.
Written by Francesca Rimi
Photography by Clint Spaulding for PatrickMcMullan.com
Design by Francesca Rimi
Kasher/Potamkin Inaugural Exhibit and Celebration, September 4th, 2014, Photography by Clint Spaulding for PatrickMcMullan.com