Cultured Magazine

Summer 2014

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When Marianne Boesky opens Boesky East, a satellite gallery on the Lower East Side this summer, "don't expect a big white box with drama," she says from the elegantly austere Chelsea headquarters she commissioned in 2006. Boesky's taken a five-year lease on an 1,100-square-foot former beauty salon that will be "lightly" renovated. "It's gritty," she says, "and that's how I want it." Boesky will use the space to continue developing new artists and engaging with emerging curators and collectors. She also sees it as an atmosphere where established artists can "take a risk and not feel under the glare of 24th Street," and connoisseurs may find lower prices and "buy things without being overly analytical." There's a different energy in the new environs that Boesky describes as "an openness to new ideas and curiosity without expectation." Before officially opening, a two-part Pier Paolo Calzolari installation will be visible through the Clinton Street storefront windows, through July 4, while con- struction proceeds in back. "It's a frost work on a timer. In the morning it'll come on and freeze over, and at the end of the day it will melt." Boesky loved the idea of "having this mysterious, beautiful thing show up," as her introduction to the neighborhood. For many in the art world, Boesky needs no introduction. Over 18 years, she's helped launch the careers of art stars Rachel Feinstein, Takashi Murakami and Lisa Yuskavage—the latter two of whom she no longer represents. But, she notes, "I had other great artists, and those departures opened a window of possibility." They enabled her program to evolve. "We moved dramatically away from a hot, stylized, pop look and toward more personal, visceral aesthetics." Yet Boesky resists easy pigeonholing. "People say we're not a hip, young gallery, but we have artists who sell for $5,000. They say we're not a blue-chip gallery because we had a couple of blue-chip artists leave. I don't want to be ei- ther! I want to have an interesting arc in the program and a meaningful, fresh di- alogue." But it's not easy. Staying competitive with "behemoth galleries like Zwirner, Gagosian and Pace is very difficult," she adds. "Our challenge is to keep growing and evolving as creatively as we can and not just do what the big boys do. I'm not interested in opening in Mayfair. Even if I had the extra money, that's not where my head goes. I'd rather do something unexpected and more creative than following the pack. I admire all the people who are working their butts off in this business, but we all do it in our own way. I'm no less ambitious; I'm just trying to funnel it in a different direction." Meanwhile, Boesky's four-year-old Upper East Side outpost has one year left on its lease. "In my mind, it was a five-year project, but I'd hate to see it go," she hedges. "I have some ideas." 76 CULTURED HER NEXT MOVE Marianne Boesky Gallery expands with a new outpost downtown. BY TRACY ZWICK PORTRAIT BY JASON RODGERS

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