Hello, art lovers!
ArtBinder’s Gallery Profile series is back, this time featuring Lower East Side rockstar yours mine & ours. In case you’d forgotten, we’re using the summer downtime to catch up with some of our favorite emerging galleries in New York and get their perspective on the ever-changing art world. For our latest installment, we connected with yours mine & ours co-owner Courtney Childress. As a former director at Life on Mars in Brooklyn and On Stellar Rays (since closed) in the Lower East Side, Courtney has seen her fair share of the New York gallery scene. So read on to hear Courtney’s thoughts on the inspiration to be found in the bath, the importance of humor, and what, exactly, Fox News has to do with art.
AB: What role do you see small galleries having as opposed to the giants (Gagosian, Pace, etc)?
CC: We just closed two solo shows, one with Cameron Welch and one with Esther Ruiz, both of which were their first solo exhibitions in the city! Being a small gallery allows us to exhibit work that may not have an existing market and introduce less established artists to the New York art world.
AB: What are some challenges and rewards of being a small space?
CC: Our biggest challenge is getting large paintings into our basement space! The first show in the gallery was a project by Nicole Wittenberg called The Yellow Kiss. We highlighted one huge painting upstairs and several small studies on paper in the basement space. In order to simply get the large canvas out of her Chinatown studio and into the gallery, we had to un-stretch it and then re-stretch it on-site.
As for rewards, there are so many, but my favorite part of having a small space is the deep engagement we have with the people that come visit. I will drop pretty much anything to talk to someone about art.
AB: How have shifts in the art market/gallery space affected artists’ trajectories?
CC: The art world was in a long period of expansion, more galleries, larger spaces, more artists, larger works… I see that we are on the precipice of a major shift in the market and the mode of operations for gallerists and artists alike. I cannot speak for everyone, but for yours mine & ours, we will continue to focus on doing projects that we believe in and that are conceptually rigorous while never losing a sense of humor. As for artists specifically, they should pay less attention to the market and what galleries are showing and make the work that they are compelled to make.
AB: How does curating interact with making?
CC: Working with artists has always been part of my life, I can see their indirect and direct influence in my own work, and vice-versa. I think being an artist also provides me with a point of connection with other makers and an understanding of materials that is unique. yours mine & ours is all about working closely with artists that have a unique vision and that requires a lot of creative thinking from both sides.
AB: There’s a lot we have to culturally process right now (political disasters, natural disasters, human rights disasters). What role do you see emerging artists as having in the dialogue? Does this affect decisions you make as a gallery owner?
CC: Since the election, I have been asking artist friends how they think they will be affected by the major upheaval (to put it lightly.) I think time will tell. We put together our summer show – The Roger Ailes Memorial Show: Fair and Balanced and invited 17 artists to give us work that in some way dealt with free speech, censorship, women’s issues, race issues, queer issues, and basically everything that Fox News completely ruined up for the last 20 years. Our press release for the show was an amazing op-ed from the New York Times by Monica Lewinsky about him and how he helped destroy her life.
AB: When you’re feeling stuck, where do you turn for inspiration?
CC: Whenever I am having trouble writing a press release or coming up with a concept for a show, I will typically pick up a book, watch a movie, or go for a bike ride. When all else fails I take a bath, a little navel gazing, that is 100% guaranteed to spark thought.
Thanks, Courtney — we totally support you in a little navel gazing and a lot of political commentary. Want to learn more about yours mine & ours or ArtBinder? Know of a great small gallery that deserves the spotlight? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find us on our social media accounts.
Keep an eye out for future gallery profiles!