Kate Bryan. Fair Director, Art15
Which exhibition or event are you most looking forward to in 2015?
I’m not jaded: I still love going to the Venice Biennale — indeed, I used to live there, so it remains a real highlight. I’m particularly looking to the Japanese Pavilion, and my imagination has really been ignited having been part of it.
The curator, Hitoshi Nakano, selected the artist Chiharu Shiota, who sent out an open call to the entire world asking for keys that people didn’t want — or even that they did want. I sent one of my door keys to Japan and, eventually, all of these keys are going to be turned into the artwork. It will be great to see people arrive, look at the keys and find their key — or claim that they can find their key in it — this juvenile moment of the art world coming together, key hunting.
But I think the key is a particularly potent metaphor, and I think in the hands of an artist like Shiota — who’s got a nice reductive form — it will be very interesting.
What do you predict will be the most significant development or biggest talking point in art in the year ahead, and why?
It’s hard to say, but I think one talking point will be changes in the senior figures at the heads of museums. The National Portrait Gallery has recently announced its new director, and there are changes afoot in institutions in the US as well. It will be interesting to see how quickly the institutions announce new directions — and I hope more women will be in those jobs as well.
Trend-wise I think 2015 will — hopefully — be the start of a pivotal moment in the digital art age. By this, I don’t mean how things can be advertised or marketed online, but how art can manifest itself online, and be made for an online audience.
For the first time, the commission at Art15 is an online work, made as part of the project #IRL (In Real Life). It’s by two artists — Sara Lundy and Emilie Gervais — who have created a work that has some physical manifestations, but which also exists online. That’s something that’s very new, and that is going to become increasingly prevalent in art. It’s still very embryonic, but I’m intrigued to see where it takes us.
I think 2015 will be the start of a pivotal moment in the digital art age
Which artist most excites you right now, and why?
I’m going to say the older generation of women artists, because there are such good shows in 2015. There’s Marlene Dumas, in her early 60s, who will be exhibited at Tate Modern — though she looks like an emerging artist compared to Etel Adnan. At 89, Adnan has just found her public: she is going to be showing at Paris’s Galerie Lelong, and was signed to White Cube a few years ago.
Finding major international recognition even later in life is Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, who was born in 1924, and is to be the subject of an exhibition at the Guggenheim New York in March. She’s fascinating: she was exiled from Tehran for 26 years, and was only able to return in 2004. I think it’s a reason to go to New York — to see that kind of artistic endeavour, and that perspective on enormous social, cultural and political upheaval.
To summarise: women who are deservedly finding an audience at big institutions.
Tell us about the project that you are working on/showcasing in 2015.
I am the new director of Art15, which I lead into its third year. It’s a very pivotal year for the fair: we’re cementing our position as an entirely new offering in the fair calendar. We’re not an enormous event: we have about 150 galleries, but represent 40 countries across these — we’ve got exhibits from every corner of the globe, and not just the usual cities.
As director, I’ve made sure there are a lot of curatorial interventions. Kathleen Soriano is curating exhibition that will explore what artistic freedom means — something that feels incredibly appropriate after the devastating events in Paris. And of course, this idea of freedom will be entirely different in Korea, than it would be in Kenya, or Rio. As a global city, London is the perfect place to have that conversation.
We’re also incredibly proud to once again be hosting the Global Private Museum Summit, which brings together private museum owners. These are people changing the landscape of museums in the 21st century — the Fricks and Guggenheims of our time. We’re bringing them into dialogue with one another and offering an unprecedented forum for dialogue and exchange. This unique group have enormous spending power and they are a significant component of Art15.