Cultured Magazine

Fall 2015

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In this digitally driven age, those preserving the legacy of books usually have a few more gray whiskers than recent Yale graduate Lucas Zwirner. While Zwirner—indeed the son of art megalith David Zwirner—is still fresh from the collegiate cradle, he's developed a very clear vision for his new career path at his father's eponymous gallery. "College doesn't give you much grit, it gives you lots of other things though," says the 24-year-old, who studied philosophy and comparative literature (both French and German). "I take the work of the imagination very seriously." Returning to New York after graduating, Zwirner initially taught at the Success Academy in Harlem, to do "something else that wasn't about me," but found himself seeking to engage more seriously with imagination. All the while, Zwirner had been stirring projects at his father's gallery, though it has taken almost a year for the leap to a full-time employee to become a reality. "I never felt art was my vocation," he says. "My interest in literature and philosophy was a way of exploring the more serious side of art, exploring where other people are coming from and thinking." His time spent shooting BB guns with Jason Rhodes and following around Raymond Pettibon with a pad and pen became research for the books he would publish on them. This month, Zwirner officially joins the gallery's newly minted publishing arm, which became an independent entity last year spearheaded by Artbook veteran Todd Bradway, and which plans to release monographs this fall on painter Kerry James Marshall and Internet- inspired sculptor and video artist Jordan Wolfson. "It's never simple joining a family business. Unfortunately, nepotism goes in all sorts of directions," says the tall blonde, who looks like a digital composite of his German father and New Yorker mother (the handbag designer, Monica Zwirner). "There's a real warmth to our business—both at the gallery and the publishing house—that places an emphasis on the artists above all," explains Zwirner. While publishing may not have been a fated vocation for Zwirner, rumors swirled that when he interned at the New York Review of Books the young gun was not just a natural but a standout talent. "It feels really right. It could turn into a beautiful, life-long pursuit," he says. Switching gears to a business in which he admits to being "a neophyte," Zwirner has "no shame asking tons of questions," which in turn has led him to consider new ways to answer the sorts of questions that weigh down the oft-cited lumbering (if not wounded) publishing industry. "Artists have important ideas that should be accessible to people," he keenly observes. "Definitely one of the things I'm thinking about is how we produce writing and thinking that doesn't sacrifice anything in terms of rigor or reference, and which becomes rich for a lot of people." 102 CULTURED WORKS ON PAPER Expectation runs high when your last name is Zwirner. Julie Baumgardner meets the progeny who is making a name for himself at David Zwirner's recently formed publishing division. PHOTO BY ANDREAS LASZLO KONRATH Lucas Zwirner, at right, with Raymond Pettibon, preparing for the exhibition and book of the same title, To Wit.

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