When you get your own solo show at New York’s chic downtown gallery, Salon 94 Bowery, you know you’ve reached a new level of acclaim. And when your work is collected by some of the biggest music and movie stars on the planet - the world will know it too.
The artist is Yukultji Napangati and her exhibition – which will run until March – is stunning New York collectors who have never seen anything like it before.
I was lucky enough to attend the opening and mingle with the well-heeled crowd. The energy and excitement in the room was palpable and the enthusiasm for Yukultji’s work was obvious – 5 of the major works had sold prior to the opening.
The next day, just over the bridge, a client and I opened Twenty Aboriginal Paintings - a private exhibition and survey of key Indigenous artworks from his collection – which included several impressive masterworks by Yukultji. And when the lady of the moment showed up with her daughter to tell her story - from coming out of the desert in the 80s to experiencing her first car ride (and the world moving so fast all around her), the intimate gathering of 30-40 people were in a state of quiet awe.
It was a magical and captivating moment.
My client and I had a clear goal in putting together this New York exhibition – to make Australian Indigenous art more internationally recognised and help create a broader audience for it to thrive.
We brought together a strong, cohesive group of desert artworks from his collection, including major works by Makinti, George Tjungurrayi, Warlimpirrnga and Bill Whiskey, hung them in his state of the art viewing facility, and invited a select group of his influential art world contacts to enjoy them in a relaxed, intimate and non-commercial setting.
We wanted to blow their minds. And it worked.
My experience in New York has got me incredibly motivated and enthusiastic about the year (and years) ahead.
Watching seasoned collectors and leading art world authorities experience Indigenous art up close for the first time, completely out of their comfort zone, and seeing their thirst to know more about the artists, the work and their culture – has strengthened my resolve to make some changes in the way I do things.
It’s time, once again, to take things up a notch. Here’s what I’m going to do:
Starting from June this year I will hold 3 annual exhibitions of the most exceptional work available on the market:
- June will continue to be held at William Mora Galleries in Melbourne;
- September in Sydney (venue to be announced in due course);
- March (starting in 2020) I will hold an annual exhibition in New York.
Each of the 3 exhibitions will be accompanied by a beautiful printed catalogue with supporting content that aims to help educate new audiences and support the maturing market.
I know this goes against the tide – printed catalogues are a huge expense and galleries and auction houses are increasingly moving online for this very reason. But I believe this is to the detriment of the industry and market long term.
Exhibitions and auctions are transient but catalogues become important historical resources that endure well beyond our short time in this larger picture. Creating something to hold on to and infusing it with content that will give the collector a deeper understanding will support and give back to the market.
In line with my shift away from the online market space, I will also no longer be offering quarterly online listings.
Instead I’ll be continuing to meet your needs between exhibitions concentrating on Private Treaty sales. By doing this I can focus purely on bringing you truly exceptional pieces, in terms of quality, offering them privately or reserving them prior to one of the forthcoming exhibitions.
To help me achieve all this, I look forward to working more closely with marketing manager Charlotte Stanes, who will be joining me in a permanent role. Many of you know I have been working alongside Charlotte since we were at Sotheby’s and she’s also been in the background of my solo venture since the beginning.
Charlotte has an ability to generate a clear and concise message through multiple forms of media and marketing tools and I warmly welcome her on board.
And as this young market continues to grow and take shape, we will be ready to evolve with it - so watch this space.
If you are looking for something particular or have an Indigenous artwork you’d like to sell, contact me for confidential and obligation-free advice.