Into the Eye of the Art Storm

March 2nd, 2020

What is your educational background? I studied History (I have a masters from Sorbonne University in Paris). I started working as a writer and wrote a book which is some kind of ode to tears and crying. But also write articles for magazines, very often about culture and art. For example I am the NYC correspondent of Gazette Drouot, the magazine of the French auction house Drouot.

Portrait of Marie Salome Peyronnel

How did you get into art curating? I got into curating through Spring break actually! I moved to NYC at the end of 2014. A few month later, in March 2015, curator Marc Azoulay exhibited a piece I created trading handwritten words with the audience at SPRING/BREAK. The theme of this 2015 show was transaction” and I was very into the idea that we don’t take time to really write anymore, we mostly type. So this performative piece created a collection of words written by different people visiting the booth. It was really beautiful to see what words people chose to write and how handwriting differs from one person to another; it says so much about who we are (my grandma is a graphologist and I’ve always been obsessed with the fact that handwriting gives an insight into who we are). 

What do you have in store for SPRING/BREAK this year? I am showing Jessica Frances Grégoire Lancaster. I like how she has a very concise and distinct world. She is an incredible painter and mirror maker, with a background in darkroom photography. She works with glass and silver which are remnants of her former photographic practice; silver serving as the foundation of analog photographs, the root of nearly all images made before the dawn of the digital age.

Art by Jessica Frances Grégoire Lancaster

Speaking of the digital age, with news of digital fairs, electronic viewing rooms, and artificial intelligence art, where do you see the future of creative industry headed? We could discuss this for hours! Buying can happen online and it does, but nothing will replace the experience of viewing the art, and sometimes even living the art. I think the audience is more eager than ever to have those real world experiences.

What else are you excited to see at Spring Break? The first year I encountered the work of Rachel Rossin, which I really appreciate. The second year, I had a crush on the work of Israeli artist Know Hope and I just saw his solo show at Gordon Gallery in Tel Aviv. It blew my mind. So simple, yet very beautiful and moving. An interesting voice for sure! And Spring Break is also the best way to meet other independent curators or more established actors of the art world. Actually almost every job I’ve had in NYC happened through an encounter at Spring Break. I’ve worked for artist Maripol as studio director and for gallerists Catinca Tabacaru and Yossi Milo, whom I also met all at the fair! So let’s see what this new editions brings 🙂

Installation view of Stalking the Trace, 2019, by Rachel Rossin

What story do you like to tell through your curation? I love to help emerging artists find a way to tell their own story… In general I notice that I am very interested in artistic practices that blur the line with other fields. I like how Sophia Narrett is trained as a painter and makes embroidery, or how Siri Thorson is a florist but makes fascinating still life Polaroids; and how Radouan Zeghidour’s illegal exploration of the city’s undergrounds is infusing his studio practice…I like to hunt for new stories to be told, and new practices to be promoted. 

How do you cultivate relationships between artists and buyers? I like to build a strong relationship with the artists I am showing, which takes time and devotion. I am not a gallery and don’t want to ever compete with galleries but I value growing with those artists and the trust bond that we have often puts me in a special place to make amazing sales for them, and to put together some shows with them from time to time. I think my many collaborations with this “small roster” of very special artists has attracted many curious collectors that are in for the deep stories; who love to bet on young talents and who trust my instinct and eye. I don’t need to work with thousands of artists or collectors, just with the right ones, that are in for the same reasons as me.

Polaroid by Siri Thorson