Magazines, Writing

29/03/2014

Carroll/Fletcher: art beyond medium

carroll06-web

Interview with Jonathon Carroll, director of the Carroll/Fletcher art gallery in London (excerpt)
ETC Media Issue #101, 2014

Nowadays, both emerging and established artists increasingly incorporate in their work the use of digital media, as well as references to our technologically-driven culture. Some galleries respond by supporting these artists without necessarily adopting the “new media art” label: regardless of the medium or content, everything is contemporary art. Co-founded by Jonathon Carroll and Steve Fletcher, Carroll / Fletcher is a contemporary art gallery that opened its 400sq/m architect designed space on Eastcastle Street in Central London in 2012. The gallery works with artists using a diverse range of media to explore contemporary socio-political, cultural, scientific and technological themes. New additions to its roaster of artists include Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme and Michael Najjar. As the gallery prepares its participation in upcoming art fairs ARCO, Madrid (February 19 – 23 2014) and Art Basel Hong Kong (May 15 – 18 2014), Jonathan Carroll reflects on the current activities of the gallery and his perspective on the art market.

Carroll/Fletcher is a young gallery that nevertheless already stands out for its innovative approach to contemporary art. How did the gallery come to be?

I have a background in Economics. I had been working as a financial trader for thirteen years at CSFB and Nomura. I hadn’t been given the opportunity to be exposed to art as I grew up, but my career in finance and the travel schedule it required provided me with that opening. My international travel meant that my early experiences of art was through visiting museums which soon led me to exploring galleries and as a consequence I started collecting in the early / mid 1990s. Looking back, this narrowly focused perspective led me almost inevitably to start collecting what I would refer to as traditional media. Having decided to end my career in finance I moved to New York. It was here that I was exposed to new, younger galleries, and I met artists who had a used media and/or had a focus that resonated with me. Specifically, In 2002 I visited a solo exhibition of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at bitforms, and that was the first time I engaged with artworks that used non traditional formats or media. These representations in no way appeared alien to my (perhaps ignorant) art sensibility: it made perfect sense to me and naturally felt like the art of today. I started investigating more about this type of art that was taking advantage of, or investigating the expanding boundaries that new technologies were making visible and viable, and ultimately I began collecting it. Through my collecting I developed strong relationships with a number of artists. I considered establishing a foundation to support such artistic practices but ultimately realised it made more sense to commit completely and open a gallery. As risky as it seems in the current environment, particularly given the multi media nature of the work of many of the gallery artists which (at least for now) make the difficult job of engaging with collectors even more difficult, I continue to believe passionately about the gallery’s vision.

The gallery represents several artists whose work involves technology and digital culture. Would you say, then, that the gallery promotes “new media art”?

No, I don’t like labels, and specifically “new media” tends to cause people to make assumptions based on preconceived ideas about the nature of this work and can often even prevent some people from looking at the artworks. It is nonsense. When you talk about painting, sculpture or photography, these are generally clearly defined terms but when you say “new media” then to me it is of itself meaningless and indefinable… I’m bound to ask: where would you draw the lines? I tell my artists: “do not use the word new media artist, you’re simply an artist.” Perhaps a decade ago such artists thought it was necessary, it had value. But I don’t agree: great artworks can hold their own irrespective of the format or medium.

Fortunately, the newer generation of artists are much less conscious of the notion of narrow categorisations –such that they don’t want to be seen as new media artists because this potentially devalues their work in the wider contemporary art world and the market. If they are seen as conceptual artists who use certain media, which is actually the same thing, they shed any label and their work gets the focus as appropriate for what it is rather than primarily for the medium that they use.

Read the rest of the interview in ETC Media Issue #101.carroll06-web

Entrevista a Jonathon Carroll, director de la galería de arte Carroll/Fletcher en Londres (inglés; extracto)
ETC Media #101, 2014

Nowadays, both emerging and established artists increasingly incorporate in their work the use of digital media, as well as references to our technologically-driven culture. Some galleries respond by supporting these artists without necessarily adopting the “new media art” label: regardless of the medium or content, everything is contemporary art. Co-founded by Jonathon Carroll and Steve Fletcher, Carroll / Fletcher is a contemporary art gallery that opened its 400sq/m architect designed space on Eastcastle Street in Central London in 2012. The gallery works with artists using a diverse range of media to explore contemporary socio-political, cultural, scientific and technological themes. New additions to its roaster of artists include Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme and Michael Najjar. As the gallery prepares its participation in upcoming art fairs ARCO, Madrid (February 19 – 23 2014) and Art Basel Hong Kong (May 15 – 18 2014), Jonathan Carroll reflects on the current activities of the gallery and his perspective on the art market.

Carroll/Fletcher is a young gallery that nevertheless already stands out for its innovative approach to contemporary art. How did the gallery come to be?

I have a background in Economics. I had been working as a financial trader for thirteen years at CSFB and Nomura. I hadn’t been given the opportunity to be exposed to art as I grew up, but my career in finance and the travel schedule it required provided me with that opening. My international travel meant that my early experiences of art was through visiting museums which soon led me to exploring galleries and as a consequence I started collecting in the early / mid 1990s. Looking back, this narrowly focused perspective led me almost inevitably to start collecting what I would refer to as traditional media. Having decided to end my career in finance I moved to New York. It was here that I was exposed to new, younger galleries, and I met artists who had a used media and/or had a focus that resonated with me. Specifically, In 2002 I visited a solo exhibition of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at bitforms, and that was the first time I engaged with artworks that used non traditional formats or media. These representations in no way appeared alien to my (perhaps ignorant) art sensibility: it made perfect sense to me and naturally felt like the art of today. I started investigating more about this type of art that was taking advantage of, or investigating the expanding boundaries that new technologies were making visible and viable, and ultimately I began collecting it. Through my collecting I developed strong relationships with a number of artists. I considered establishing a foundation to support such artistic practices but ultimately realised it made more sense to commit completely and open a gallery. As risky as it seems in the current environment, particularly given the multi media nature of the work of many of the gallery artists which (at least for now) make the difficult job of engaging with collectors even more difficult, I continue to believe passionately about the gallery’s vision.

The gallery represents several artists whose work involves technology and digital culture. Would you say, then, that the gallery promotes “new media art”?

No, I don’t like labels, and specifically “new media” tends to cause people to make assumptions based on preconceived ideas about the nature of this work and can often even prevent some people from looking at the artworks. It is nonsense. When you talk about painting, sculpture or photography, these are generally clearly defined terms but when you say “new media” then to me it is of itself meaningless and indefinable… I’m bound to ask: where would you draw the lines? I tell my artists: “do not use the word new media artist, you’re simply an artist.” Perhaps a decade ago such artists thought it was necessary, it had value. But I don’t agree: great artworks can hold their own irrespective of the format or medium.

Fortunately, the newer generation of artists are much less conscious of the notion of narrow categorisations –such that they don’t want to be seen as new media artists because this potentially devalues their work in the wider contemporary art world and the market. If they are seen as conceptual artists who use certain media, which is actually the same thing, they shed any label and their work gets the focus as appropriate for what it is rather than primarily for the medium that they use.

Lea el resto de la entrevista en ETC Media Issue #101.carroll06-web

Entrevista amb Jonathon Carroll, director de la galeria d’art Carroll/Fletcher a Londres (anglès; extracte)
ETC Media #101, 2014

Nowadays, both emerging and established artists increasingly incorporate in their work the use of digital media, as well as references to our technologically-driven culture. Some galleries respond by supporting these artists without necessarily adopting the “new media art” label: regardless of the medium or content, everything is contemporary art. Co-founded by Jonathon Carroll and Steve Fletcher, Carroll / Fletcher is a contemporary art gallery that opened its 400sq/m architect designed space on Eastcastle Street in Central London in 2012. The gallery works with artists using a diverse range of media to explore contemporary socio-political, cultural, scientific and technological themes. New additions to its roaster of artists include Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme and Michael Najjar. As the gallery prepares its participation in upcoming art fairs ARCO, Madrid (February 19 – 23 2014) and Art Basel Hong Kong (May 15 – 18 2014), Jonathan Carroll reflects on the current activities of the gallery and his perspective on the art market.

Carroll/Fletcher is a young gallery that nevertheless already stands out for its innovative approach to contemporary art. How did the gallery come to be?

I have a background in Economics. I had been working as a financial trader for thirteen years at CSFB and Nomura. I hadn’t been given the opportunity to be exposed to art as I grew up, but my career in finance and the travel schedule it required provided me with that opening. My international travel meant that my early experiences of art was through visiting museums which soon led me to exploring galleries and as a consequence I started collecting in the early / mid 1990s. Looking back, this narrowly focused perspective led me almost inevitably to start collecting what I would refer to as traditional media. Having decided to end my career in finance I moved to New York. It was here that I was exposed to new, younger galleries, and I met artists who had a used media and/or had a focus that resonated with me. Specifically, In 2002 I visited a solo exhibition of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at bitforms, and that was the first time I engaged with artworks that used non traditional formats or media. These representations in no way appeared alien to my (perhaps ignorant) art sensibility: it made perfect sense to me and naturally felt like the art of today. I started investigating more about this type of art that was taking advantage of, or investigating the expanding boundaries that new technologies were making visible and viable, and ultimately I began collecting it. Through my collecting I developed strong relationships with a number of artists. I considered establishing a foundation to support such artistic practices but ultimately realised it made more sense to commit completely and open a gallery. As risky as it seems in the current environment, particularly given the multi media nature of the work of many of the gallery artists which (at least for now) make the difficult job of engaging with collectors even more difficult, I continue to believe passionately about the gallery’s vision.

The gallery represents several artists whose work involves technology and digital culture. Would you say, then, that the gallery promotes “new media art”?

No, I don’t like labels, and specifically “new media” tends to cause people to make assumptions based on preconceived ideas about the nature of this work and can often even prevent some people from looking at the artworks. It is nonsense. When you talk about painting, sculpture or photography, these are generally clearly defined terms but when you say “new media” then to me it is of itself meaningless and indefinable… I’m bound to ask: where would you draw the lines? I tell my artists: “do not use the word new media artist, you’re simply an artist.” Perhaps a decade ago such artists thought it was necessary, it had value. But I don’t agree: great artworks can hold their own irrespective of the format or medium.

Fortunately, the newer generation of artists are much less conscious of the notion of narrow categorisations –such that they don’t want to be seen as new media artists because this potentially devalues their work in the wider contemporary art world and the market. If they are seen as conceptual artists who use certain media, which is actually the same thing, they shed any label and their work gets the focus as appropriate for what it is rather than primarily for the medium that they use.

Llegiu la resta de l’entrevista a ETC Media Issue #101.