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A. Moret - Writer and Art Critic

Jane Glassman- For Your Art (January 2009)

A. Moret interviews Jane Glassman, curator of “In Bed Together" currently at Royal/T in Culver City, CA on November 21, 2009.   Mrs. Glassman is the founder of ARTeam LA, an artist, collector, journalist, advisor, dealer, and gallerist.  This interview took place at Royal/T, the day after the opening. A. Moret:  When I was thinking of the title “In Bed Together” I was reminded of a conversation I had with a colleague at MOCA.  When I first started writing about art, he looked me in the eye and said, “the art world is incestuous,” and it never got out of my head.   The more work I do, the more I realize just how right he is.  It’s wild to be in the same room Peter Frank and Bettina Korek have both recommended art because I have written for them either in the past or present.  I even know Miriam Wosk, so I feel that it’s all coming full circle.

Jane Glassman:  Well the initial title was “Full Circle.” On my first proposal I called it “Full Circle” because I saw it as full circle.  I can’t say that I ever used the word “incestuous,” but it certainly fits and kind of midway through we all thought that with the title “Full Circle” people weren’t really going to get it.

AM:  I understand that, because it could relate to several different facets of the show- the evolution of bodies of work, your work as a curator…

JG:  Right.  So I came up with a couple of titles and we ended up choosing “In Bed Together” and at first I must say I wasn’t quite comfortable with.  I was like “In Bed Together?’ It kind of felt weird for me to say it the first couple of times.  They really liked the title so I thought ‘ok I’m going to get comfortable with it,’ and now that the show is up, it makes total sense and everyone loves the title.

AM:  And it really works too because the works are coming out of a personal collection.  Even with the Marilyn Minter piece is the only one that she has in her own house.  So you are accessing that intimate arena of art collecting. I’m really interested in what prompted this project.  You wanted people in the art world to submit their recommendations for a piece to be in this space.  Tell me about how the show came to be.

JG:  I had a conversation with Susan Hancock earlier this year and I love her idea of joining a store with an art space and a café.  I think it’s a concept that is a natural.  She’s had three shows so far. Each time she invited a curator to curate work out of her own collection and she said to me ‘would you like to curate a show?’ and I went ‘well I have an idea, let me write it down for you.  If you like it, I’ll expand the proposal and we’ll just go from there.’ And that really is how the idea was born.  I adore my friends and colleagues in the art world.  Each relationship is so important to me and helps me be my best person, so I wanted to go to some of them and invite them into the show to propose a work of art that was meaningful to them that either they owned themselves, borrowed from an artist, or borrowed from a gallery.

AM:  What I love too about this dining experience, as I happen to sit down right in front of Bettina’s selection.  It’s a more intimidate way of viewing the art because it provides a story about the relationship.

JG:  Speaking to the intimacy factor, another component to the show is that I asked each person who was submitting a work of art to write a very brief, 50 words or less text about their connection to the piece that they submitted.  Each one is very unique and different.  And I think that as a component to the show that if people are really interested, they will help you find a little bit more about each work of art instead of your initial reaction of just looking at it.

AM:  What I really like about the inclusion of the text is that is provides the narrative and creates the connection of course, but also creates a running narrative of all the works and what they all have in common.  I know the show just went up, but are you seeing any common threads in the text or any of the themes that the pieces share?

JG:  Not so much yet with the works.  I tried to work that out as best as I could as a curator laying the show out.  I tried to think about balance and what goes together, what’s meaningful together, what can be enjoyed in the different areas of Royal/T as they’re all used very differently.  Trying to intersperse the smaller pieces with the larger pieces.  I particularly think that the more intimate work, the fact that she has this area here to sit and enjoy right next to you is a very special way of viewing works.  Look at that girl sitting next to Sterling’s sculpture.  I mean who would ever think that you could have that experience of being that close to something that powerful and being able to experience it and being able to look over at it and see and see all the details of his graffiti scratched on it.  It may be something that you might notice in a museum show, but you wouldn’t have a chance to visit with it in the same kind of way for that period of time, so I love especially the sitting area.

AM:  Was this glass partition that extends into the dining area fabricated for the show?

JG: I think it was Sue’s vision from the beginning to have a space where she could showcase art and she worked with the architect Kulapat Yantrasast. she envisioned this kind of space from the beginning and also it’s a protective.  This is a public space; these are valuable works of art, treasures to the people that own them.

AM:  I think I would have apprehension of showing my collection in a group show.

JG:  And not everyone has had the experience of lending to a show before and that was a whole process onto its own.  I knew insurance would be an issue but I wasn’t quite sure how that worked.  It’s like I found myself in the position of being a registrar, doing all of the different jobs that come with curating a show is quite a feet.  And certainly more than I ever thought it would be when this was in the idea phase.

AM:  Where there any people who wanted to participate but simply did not feel comfortable lending their work?

JG:  Ahh.. Not really.  Not really.  I mean certain people that I invited into the show found that they were too busy or overwhelmed when it came down to it and I was extremely flexible.  I didn’t run after anyone.  I invited people.  If they wanted to come on board I was excited to have them.  If they weren’t I didn’t take it personally and so I only wanted people to participate if they wanted to participate and if they were enthusiastic about the idea.  I think some people didn’t really understand totally in the beginning what I had in mind, but they kind of went it, kind of in the same way that Sue Hancock.  She loved the idea, went with her really good intuition and gut instincts, I admire her for that and I think she’s pleased.

AM:  I’m sure.  This is the first full day it’s up?  It’ great to see people waiting for their lunch and reading the text.

JG:  That’s the wall, that’s the concept, in alphabetical order from the submitters and I told everyone from the beginning that they would get equal billing with the artist that they submit and as you could see we did the wall all alphabetical order and nobody knows whose the artist, whose the submitter.

AM:  Your role in the art world extending far beyond curating.  Peter Frank is a writer, editor, and collector.  Bettina is a collector, writer, all around giver, and all I really think it speaks to the multi-faceted roles allowed in the art world.  Critics can be collectors, artists can be writers, writers can be collectors, and anything goes.  I wonder if that’s the comment that’s being made about the contemporary art world.

JG:  That is definitely a comment that I wanted to make about this 21st century around world where everyone’s role is supportive and dependent on everyone else’s.  And there are a lot of people that do wear a lot of hats like you say, and it’s not just like the old days where the museum and the curator were up on a pedestal.  Today where many people go to art advisors to help them with their acquisitions as they do to a museum curator, so I do think that we’re seeing this change evolve and I feel so lucky and proud to be a part of it just like you are.

AM:  I think this also speaks to your point that no longer is the curators up on the pedestal because the art space is changing dramatically.  It doesn’t even have to be a formal gallery per se, it could be wherever the art is and that’s the major difference.  There are no limits as to where it can be presented.

JG:  And like you said each space calls for different things.  When I started looking at this space, I saw different kinds of opportunities and reached out for that and created opportunities for those things to happen.

(We head toward the entrance of the space and view the pieces by Miriam Wosk and Pae White).

JG:  When she (Pae White) came in she had first told me that they get hung at eye level and I went ‘oh no, you can’t put anything in front of Miriam’s piece, because I can’t move that,’ that was already up on the wall.  And she said ‘why don’t I hang it…’ and I went ‘perfect.’ Look how incredible it is, it just all came together and everyone was so nice and so flexible and so cooperative and in such good spirits.

AM:  Was Pae White just one of the one artists who came in to install their pieces?

JG: Yes, several artists came in to install their pieces and she was one of them and it was a thrill for me to meet her.  And of course Miriam, I’m such a huge fan and Edward Goldman who is a friend of hers also submitted the work.  It’s just glittering.

JG: I reached out to Jennifer Nocon because she’s one of my favorite artists and the fact that she works with felt, she also does really beautiful drawings but I really love her felt sculptures.  I saw it first at Art Base Miami Beach a couple of years ago and I was like ‘Jennifer, can you leant me a piece for the show?’ and I showed Peter an image of this work and he said ‘oh I love it,’ and he wrote a little thing.  I checked with her first and said ‘this is what he wrote, are you comfortable with this?’ and she said ‘I think it’s cute.’  She’s a really good sport.

AM:  The placement of the work is also great; by virtue of the space you have a near 360-degree view of the piece. AM:  What I really love is how you thought about the piece in relation to the space and how the works interact with each other.  The Marilyn Minter piece is wild and it’s delicate, especially after seeing Green Pink Caviar.

JG:  And we have a little Mark Ryden there and it’s one of MOCA’s fundraising projects.   You can’t not have the museums not be a part of this!

AM:  I recognize this image from the email blast. Marinna Kappos’ Ronni an iteration of Manet’s “Olympia.”

JG:  Eric Shiner who is the Milton Fine Curator of Art at the Andy Warhol Museum is a friend of the artist.  The artist had just moved to New York and said ‘but I do have this piece in LA that my sister has that I painted.’ This wedding portrait that she painted for her sister as a wedding gift, and there’s the artist peeking out and they’re twins.  And of course when that image came in and we thought about what spoke to the show…

AM:  And literally spoke to the title!

JG:  And these were the place mates at the Murakami Gala for MOCA a couple of years ago and he was very excited about Bruce Samuels whose on the Board of Trustees at the Santa Monica Museum and also heads up a very important advisor at the council at Cedars Sinai, he’s a doctor was well at the hospital.  So Bruce put in this Murakami print and I said ‘great, I’d love to show the newest,’ I think everyone will be interested because Murakami images are all over.  So I went up to his house and saw these and I ‘went how about these too?’ and he said ‘oh no, they’re just place mates,’ and I said ‘you know what? I’m exited to see them, and if I’m excited to see them other people will be excited to see them too!’