attn: lieutenant

gallery number-twos speak of their experiences

The brand and prestige of a gallery is usually attached to the names printed on the door. They speak of legacy and reputation. And yes, a gallerist does make a gallery—in public. But who are the people behind them? Those who make said galleries’ cogs turn smoothly—and perhaps even, at some point, hung the names on that door.

Here, we pay tribute to some of our favourite gallery directors and go-to people. The Number Twos, as we’d lovingly dubbed them, speak to berlin art journal about their work, their hobbies and the best and worst moments of being behind those famed gallery names.

Name:
Lisa Bosse

Gallery / Length of time in current position:
Blain|Southern, Managing Director, since February 2011

How did you end up in the art-world?
LB: Unfortunately, I was very drunk that night—I don’t remember.

Best and worst thing about being “behind the curtain”?
LB: Being Behind the Curtain

Do you work mostly with artists/collectors/press? Which do you prefer and why?
LB: I work with all of them—my whole job is about the diversity of people I meet and work with.

What have been the biggest changes in Berlin’s art scene over the past five years?
LB: Blain|Southern

If you aren’t originally from Berlin, what could your art scene teach the Berlin art scene? / If you are from Berlin, what could it teach the other art-capitals?
LB: Where I’m from, there is no art scene.

Four most interesting spaces/galleries/museums right now, (other than your own, of course)?
LB: Autocenter, Schinkel Pavillion, Kunstwerke, Jarla Partilager

If you had nothing to do with the art world, what would you do?
LB: Dog Ice Cream

Place in Berlin where you’re most creative/productive?
LB: At work

Do you also collect art in any form?
LB: I wish!

Figuration or Abstraction? / Cats or dogs?
LB: Definitely abstract dogs

Name:
Franziska von Hasselbach

Gallery / Length of time in current position:
Director since 2008, with the gallery since 2001.

How did you end up in the art-world?
FvH: It was a natural choice, I always knew I would work with art and, for me, the work in a gallery is the most immediate way of collaborating with artists.

Best and worst thing about being “behind the curtain”?
FvH: Every-day inspiration and the chance to meet great people in all fields–artists, curators, collectors, colleagues and others. You get to see the world. And being able to make trips just to see exhibitions of great artists, for example, is still the biggest luxury. I think I will never get used to this.

Do you work mostly with artists/collectors/press? Which do you prefer and why?
FvH: While all fields of work in a gallery are interesting and challenging, the work with the artists is certainly the most inspiring to me.

Berlin is disproportionately un-hierarchical in comparison to New York or London. Does that change your relationship with or function within the gallery and the Berlin art world at large?
FvH: The biggest advantage of Berlin might be that it is very open and the environment is not so stressful like in NY or London, simply because the city does not function that way. There is still always a lot of work, but for some reason, I have the feeling that I have more time for art and get to see a lot of it.

What have been the biggest changes in Berlin’s art scene over the past five years?
FvH: More and more galleries are moving to Berlin, Sprüth Magers being one of them. The gallery opened in Berlin in 2008. Generally, it is amazing how many visitors you get–both local and international. As I have only worked in Berlin for a little more than three years, I can only tell you that the amount of visitors and the visibility you get was probably one of the big changes for us, and a great one.

Art-related guilty pleasure/pet peeve?
FvH: Could not think of anything particular. I probably do not go to see enough shows, never as much as I want to. But I am sure most people feel like this.

If you aren’t originally from Berlin, what could your art scene teach the Berlin art scene? / If you are from Berlin, what could it teach the other art-capitals?
FvH: Coming from Cologne, I am used to an art scene that works very close together and is aware of a long tradition of supporting artists in any way, either from the gallery side, the museum or Kunstverein, or the collectors.

People in Cologne are very supportive of their city and generally very open and friendly people. This is not something that Berlin is really lacking, but it is certainly a big quality of Cologne that I remind myself of sometimes.

Four most interesting spaces/galleries/museums right now, (other than your own, of course)?
FvH: Kunst-Werke Berlin—I think Susanne Pfeffer runs a challenging and inspiring programme.

I also like the gallery Supportico Lopez very much, both Gigiotto del Vecchio and his partner Stefanie Palomba are lovely, and most interesting colleagues.

In Cologne, I am also a fan of Charlotte Desagea—she has a great programme and has introduced me to some great artists.

If you had nothing to do with the art world, what would you do?
FvH: It is hard to say, maybe I would become a historian and spend my time in the university.

Place in Berlin where you’re most creative/productive?
FvH: On my balcony, watching the swans on the canal in Kreuzberg. Or on my bike, riding across town.

Do you also collect art in any form?
FvH: For my own private fun and luxury.

Figuration or Abstraction? / Cats or dogs?
FvH: There is no particular theme or subject other than my personal taste and the joy to life with art every day. There are artists from the gallery I admire and have the privilege to work with, like Cyprien Gaillard, Thea Djordjadze, Rosemarie Trockel, Louise Lawler or Thomas Scheibitz, but I am also interested in other younger artists, like Julia Pfeiffer, whose work I like very much.

Name:
Judith Plodeck
 
Gallery / Length of time in current position:
Wentrup, gallery manager since September 2011
 
Favorite Hobby:
JP: Yoga–not sure you can call it a hobby.
 
How did you end up in the art-world?
JP: I grew up in a family that was surrounded by art, my father was an art historian and he always showed me the beauty of art and taught me to see the world through the eyes of art.
 
Best and worst thing about being “behind the curtain”?
JP: I don’t really feel I’m behind the curtain, but I’m happy that I don’t have to go to all the fairs and parties. Worst thing: you don’t go to all the art fairs and parties.
 
Do you work mostly with artists/collectors/press? Which do you prefer and why?
JP: I like the variety! All perspectives and all different languages and styles… crazy!
 
Berlin is disproportionately un-hierarchical in comparison to New York or London. Does that change your relationship with or function within the Gallery and Berlin art-world at large?
JP: I can’t really say that.
 
What have been the biggest changes in Berlin’s art scene over the past five years?
JP: More and more artists from all over the world came to live in Berlin, because they can afford a better life and studio situation here. I enjoy seeing all these influences on the art world, and I think it’s good for Berlin, to have different aspects in the community. But I also do not really understand the mythos of Berlin.
 
If you aren’t originally from Berlin, what could your art scene teach the Berlin art scene? / If you are from Berlin, what could it teach the other art-capitals?
JP: I’m originally from Munich, but I left town 10 years ago, and have no real insight into the Munich art scene.
 
Four most interesting spaces/galleries/museums right now, (other than your own, of course)?
JP: Contributed, Nolan Judin, Blain Southern, Klosterfelde, Gemäldegalerie, Nationalgalerie
 
If you had nothing to do with the art world, what would you do?
JP: I would collect more art!
 
Place in Berlin where you’re most creative/productive?
JP: At home or at Soho House on a couch in front of my computer, or in museums if I see amazing works!
 
Do you also collect art in any form?
JP: Yes, I do.

Name:
Robert O. Fitzpatrick

Gallery / Length of time in current position:
Tanya Leighton Gallery, three-and-a-half years

Favorite Hobby:
RF:Karaoke

How did you end up in the art-world?
RF:Rabbit hole

Best and worst thing about being “behind the curtain”?

RF: The magic is just smoke and mirrors.

Do you work mostly with artists/collectors/press? Which do you prefer and why?
RF: Interns.

Berlin is disproportionately un-hierarchical in comparison to New York or London. Does that change your relationship with or function within the Gallery and Berlin art-world at large?
RF: Huh? Who says that Berlin is disproportionately nonhierarchical? Of course there is a hierarchy, in fact, I would argue that it’s more disproportionately hierarchical than New York or other places precisely because there are very few power players other than a handful of top-tier gallerists running the whole operation. Because there are very few institutional curators with major clout or critics with an established voice who write for internationally reputable papers or journals, the result is a total dominance by one entity within the whole playing field–the dealers. This is a major problem, especially as we reach a critical period in terms of funding for the arts. With fewer and fewer grant opportunities and access to public money for artists, gallerists become all the more powerful. And with so few non-for-profits with a fresh, new vision, Berlin faces a huge problem in the very near future if it wants to retain its privileged status as a contemporary art ‘capital’.

What have been the biggest changes in Berlin’s art scene over the past five years?
RF: Creation of the Temporäre Kunsthalle, subsequent failures, eventual demise, and pending status of Berlin’s permanent Kunsthalle.
2008: Sprüth Magers, Capitain Petzel, Meyer Riegger, and Daniel Buchholz move to Berlin.
Schöneberg/Tiergarten.
Rent hikes.

Art-related guilty pleasure/pet peeve?
RF: Guilty pleasure? art blogs.
RF: Pet Peeves? bad titles.

If you aren’t originally from Berlin, what could your art scene teach the Berlin art scene? / If you are from Berlin, what could it teach the other art-capitals?
RF: Brains over Brawn.

Four most interesting spaces/galleries/museums right now, (other than your own, of course)?
RF: MD72, The Future Gallery, Sandy Brown, Société, and Times. (Sorry that’s five.)

If you had nothing to do with the art world, what would you do?
RF: Halloween costume designer.

Place in Berlin where you’re most creative/productive?
RF: On the dance floor.

Do you also collect art in any form?

RF: Doodles.

Figuration or Abstraction? / Cats or dogs?

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( UU)/

[Images: Blain|Southern; Sprüth Magers; Wetrup; Tanya Leighton]