welcome to collectors mind

This is a forum for sharing knowledge, gaining insights and shaping opinions. We will not sit on the fence here or play favorites. The language of art has changed in a blink of a year– today there are market makers, power brokers, savvy investors, flippers, fakes and fund managers. Collectors are nearly extinct. Why? Because collectors can see and COLLECTORS MIND. So together, let’s take a small step to make today’s buyers into tomorrow’s collectors. The future of art depends on it!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

MisTake on Art

The article by Johny ML titled Art, Ideology and Galleries in issue 2 of Take on Art Magazine grossly misrepresents the ethos of GALLERY MASKARA to the readers of Take. Ordinarily I would have chosen not to respond to such rash and baseless remarks but JML has trivialized our efforts as a gallery thus far and raised questions about our motive, intent and funding. Not to mention the alleged misguidance to curators, collectors and artists.

It is amply clear that in forming his errant opinion, JML has not bothered to speak either to me or to any of the artists we represent to clarify his position.

Had he spared a few minutes and made a simple phone call to T. VENKANNA or SHINE SHIVAN - two of the artists we represent, he would have known that before they got an opportunity to show at our gallery they were totally marginalized by the market for years together and were ‘left to suffer alone’. Ignored by collectors looking for signatures and snubbed by galleries for being almost too radical and therefore unsellable.

Since our association with T. Venkanna, he has found both critical and commercial success in India and abroad. Works that were languishing in his studio for years together can today be found in the prestigious Saatchi collection, Burger collection, Swagemakers collection and dozens more across the globe. Furthermore, he has his first European solo show coming up in Turin this November with Monica De Cardenas , one of the most respected Italian galleries who represents the like of Alex Katz, Andrea Sala and Thomas Struth. T. Venkanna’s roots were firm even before I met him but now he has wings and can fly a great distance on his own. This is what I work towards and wish for every artist in our program. What more can I ask for or do?

Shine Shivan who showed with the gallery earlier this year had one of the most explosive and talked about first solo shows in recent memory. His works too found resonance and sold to seasoned French and Dutch collectors including few Indian buyers with responsive eyes. The show wowed visiting curators of the Centre Pompidou and inspired many fellow artists.

In her blog veteran artist Rekha Rodwittiya wrote and I quote: “Shine Shivan at Mascara (The Warehouse Gallery at third Pasta Lane), was the high point for me of this trip. His exhibition titled Sperm Weaver is amongst the most accomplished shows I have seen in quite a while in India. For anyone who desires to view art that is truthful to it's intentions, then make a trip to this show please. And for all the art students out there, struggling and grappling with trying to realise conceptual ideas and most times being trivial and cliched; I urge you to make a study trip to view this exhibition. Come from ever corner of the country you are tucked away in if you must, because this show will teach you something valuable that no article in these so called Art magazines we publish in India, can ever give you.”

Following the show, Shine’s single channel video titled ‘Sperm Weaver’ travelled to the Loop Gallery in Seoul and onwards to Tate Modern. I can go on and on about successes of these and other artists in our family but I think this will suffice in debunking the myth that artists who show with our gallery are in any way being ‘misguided’ or are ‘left to suffer alone,’ as surmised by JML.

Since I personally take all curatorial decisions at the gallery, JML need not worry about the plight of other curators who may be subjected towards a ‘no win situation.’ There is no substance to such a statement and all the curators I know and work with are independent, intelligent and I am sure can adequately protect their own interests.

The writer is also completely ignorant about the commercial aspects of the gallery and trivializes the viability of such an endeavor. I would like to inform him and anyone else who cares to listen that we employ no ‘funding techniques.’ We are a private gallery like all our peers and do not enjoy any subsidies or government/institutional funding. As a consequence we rely exclusively on collector patronage. The writer is oblivious to the personal sacrifices made to further our belief in the regenerative magic of art, how we have stood by new and radical voices in the face of market resistance. The funds that support these shows are not quite as ‘obscure’ as JML would have his readers believe. In fact every last penny from my personal savings has gone to supporting our artists and our program. We recognize that the market needs time to accept the new and the unfamiliar but still we persist. By reducing our efforts to a ‘fad’ he attempts to negate the goodwill we enjoy with our collectors and the community at large.

I will end by restating that the role of a gallery is not simply to cater to an existing market but to create new markets. My job as Curatorial Director is not simply to sell what is easy or fashionable but also to propose what is not easy to understand or consume. It is a great responsibility and one that we take with utmost pride and seriousness.

If anyone has any doubts about the gallery or questions about its mission, purpose, program, viability, existence or anything at all please email me at abhay@gallerymaskara and I will personally respond to you - Abhay Maskara.

Our Way…

Our way is to take leaps into the unknown. To seek out artists who are not afraid to push the creative boundaries. Our way is to work as a family with full faith in each other, with love and with full support.

Our way is to respect existing relationships and choose the path of collaboration. Our way is to learn from elders and grow with peers. Our way is to give 100% and work together as a team.

Our way is to leave no stone unturned in mounting every show with rigor and professionalism. Our way is to treat artists with equality and help them realize their true potential.

Our way is to respect the critics whose opinions are shaped by experience and based on facts. Our way is to stand tall in the face of misrepresentation and rubbish heresy and conjecture.

Our way is to enhance the joys of collecting by challenging the paradigm and introducing the new. Our way is to honor every commitment made and to be consistent and fair. Our way is to be an ambassador for all art all over the world.

Through art we make life a better place to live. This is the way of Gallery Maskara. This is our way!