Interview with Salon Curator Claudia Rech
January 30, 2019
ALAC chats with Claudia Rech on all this "The Academy"
ALAC’s 2019 edition will present an inaugural "Salon" section, offering a new way for galleries and the public to participate in the fair. The exhibition, "The Academy," will be curated by Berlin-based art historian, curator, and former gallerist of Gillmeier Rech, Claudia Rech. We asked her a few questions before the exhibition begins.
ALAC: Is there a theme for your exhibition?
Claudia Rech: I try to avoid curating works into a single, reductive theme. My shows are more about creating a context where reflection is encouraged. I like to let the formal qualities of art be the bridge that leads the viewer into the specific subjects and ideas of the artist. I don’t feel comfortable creating shows with an explicit theme because it can reduce the complex practices and histories of the artists into a singular message, overshadowing the nuance of their practice.
ALAC: What was your inspiration for the title "the Academy"?
CR: I got inspired by the classical idea of the academy. When I studied art history in Venice, I went often to the Gallerie dell’Accademia, and the idea to recreate a contemporary academy really resonated with me. I always felt so happy when visiting the Accademia, and so inspired. I hope I can inspire other people, too.
ALAC: We noticed the exhibition has a European focus with a mix of up-and-coming LA galleries. Can you talk about making these international connections?
CR: I always liked to work with somewhat "unknown" or upcoming artists. The gallery I ran with Verena Gillmeier had a strong focus on the upcoming. For me, bringing something new, meaning European galleries to LA, or to work with upcoming LA galleries, just falls in line with my interest for the "new."
ALAC: You were an ALAC exhibitor in 2016 with GilmerRech, how does it feel to be back as a curator?
CR: Being back as a curator is great! It is a new way to be at a fair, to see the fair from another angle.
ALAC: Can you about Ann Marie Karlberg’s performative element?
CR: When I was selecting the artists and galleries, I realized I had many great paintings, but was missing something that was activating the space. I wanted to have a performative element, and Marie’s matched it. Her institutional critique piece represents exactly the spirit I wanted to have in the section: a reflection not just on the beauty of art and its power to move you, but also a reflection on its negative sides. One should approach art with this energy and love, but also never forget that with the beauty is always a dark side.