As a onetime protégé to art collector Jeffery Deitch, Kathy Grayson has the pulse of America’s rising artists. With the burgeoning New York art community just one trap of an iPhone away, Grayson was able to embark on curating ‘Portrait of a Generation’ for her Bowery based gallery. Bringing together 150 artists, pairing them up and asking them to produce new pieces based on their respective partners, is no mean feat. Ending with a vast array of mediums’ from drawing and sculpture through to animated GIFS it was hyped as the city’s most artistic yearbook. Now, transferring to the Swedish Gallery Steinsland Berliner it will be interesting to see whether the impact of the work is affected by location. Talking to Dazed Digital Grayson offered her insight on the matter.
It’s a really personal exhibition, not a professional one, if you know what I mean, so it will be cool to share something personal with another country
Dazed Digital: What was the genesis for this exhibition?
Kathy Grayson: I love shows that give image to a community, especially when artists make work that is about their life, it is relevant to see them in some way, not photographed for Interview mag but see them as they really look, and this show allowed us to see artists as they are seen by another member of their community. It’s a way for the community to choose how they are seen.
DD: Why did you pair the artists up?
Kathy Grayson: I paired up artists based on who would generate the most interesting works. Brothers or sisters were paired up, friends, boyfriends and girlfriends, or totally random people that may not have even known each other
DD: Of the artist pairings, which had the most unexpected results?
Kathy Grayson: I thought the Slater Bradley Ben Brock pairing was the funniest because Ben is Slaters "muse" that starts in all his artworks and Slater uses him as a doppelganger, a guy who stands in for Slater. Their portraits of each other brought out some of the tension in that relationship to say the least! I also loved the Jeanette Hayes Fab Five Freddy pairing because they didn't know each other before I stuck them together and now they are great friends.
DD: Considering this exhibition has previously been shown in New York, how do you think reactions will differ in Stockholm?
Kathy Grayson: In NYC we see each other every day and night and maybe in Stockholm it will be more interesting because they are artists the Swedes may not have heard about or seen their artwork, and they don't get to see these people on the street every day. It’s a really personal exhibition, not a professional one, if you know what I mean, so it will be cool to share something personal with another country.
DD: New York has long been a breeding ground for timely art (from the Abstract Expressionists to the Ryan McGinley) - why do you think this is?
Kathy Grayson: New York is still where everyone comes to "make it" and so it is this constantly refreshed huge talent pot, add to that the intensity of the city and the nightlife and the energy and you get this explosion of talent at a really fast pace. You don't have to be a "New Yorker" to be part of the "New York scene" because the scene makes up so many people that live all over the place.
Gallery Steinsland Berliner, Portrait of a Generation, Opening Friday October 19, 2012, Bondegatan 70, 11633, Stockholm