1. Rental has recently changed it platform, and moved away from a space that imported other cities’ rosters, to one that executes one-off shows of artists. How did that change occur?
When I closed my Los Angeles gallery last year, I did not want to end the relationships that I had formed with the artists I represented. The Rental model was an exciting experience, but there was no room for commitments to artists.
2. You were an artist before. How did you move to being a dealer?
I was an artist; I went to school at The San Francisco Art institute for it and had a studio to make it. I thought of myself as a somewhat Jewish expressionist, keeping in the figurative tradition such as Soutine and Kitaj.
I was offered a show with Black Dragon Society in Los Angeles. I wanted the show to incorporate more than just the paintings I was working on. So I put together an exhibition of my paintings , prints I had done produced and printed for other artists , and ephemera I had collected over the years, and the many artists books I had published with other artists. With the help of some friends, I built a speak-easy, where I would tend bar and have musician friends play.
I thought of the exhibition as a retrospective. That was all I ever really needed from being an artist, just that one show. So from that moment I began becoming more interested in other people’s art and what my role in that process could be.
3. How did you open your first gallery in Los Angeles?
I opened the first Rental Gallery in Chinatown Los Angeles with [gallerist] Dan Hug. I was running a printshop called Pruess Press. We thought opening a gallery that represented other dealers was something unique and could broaden a dialogue in Los Angeles. It seemed important for the artists to have dealers from outside of LA coming by their studio, having drinks at Hop Louie, our local bar.
4. Why did you move to New York?
I’m from the Pico Robertson area in Los Angeles, which some people call Shtettl. In its four block radius, you could find Mordy the Kosher butcher, Motel the tailer and Goldie the matchmaker. I moved to New York for love. My dear friend, the Colonge-based writer Mark von Schlegell, said that one should only pick up and move for love, and I listened.
5. Could you compare your gallery with other LES galleries?
We have more in common than not. It’s nice to be in a neighborhood with other galleries of my generation. We all make the same mistakes at times, because we are all on the same learning curve. But what makes it so nice is we are all growing together, and the support system we all extend to one another.
6. You showed a group of very young artists in the Still House show, many of them originally from Los Angeles and some of them not graduated yet from college. What kind of considerations you made showing such young people? What was the reaction to that show?
The Still House Group artists all have so much energy, and so many things they want to accomplish. I was attracted to the idea that they were so young, and an even younger generation than myself. They respected and saw artists I show like Brendan Fowler and Matthew Chambers s their elders. I liked having those dynamics around the space. To be able to participate in the development of this group of artists will be important.
RENTAL GALLERY IS LOCATES AT 120 EAST BROADWAY, SIXTH FLOOR, NEW YORK.