State of Affairs: How New England Galleries Make Their Way (Art New England, September/October 2014)

ART NEW ENGLAND, September/October 2014

As businesses go, the art gallery is simple.  Artists make art. Gallerist hangs art on wall.  Collector sees art and buys it.  Everybody is happy.

If only it were that simple.

Imagine a business whose primary focus is the exposition of ideas in the hopes that someone will be so dazzled by them that he or she is willing to spend a small fortune on them.  Imagine those ideas coming from a horde of eccentric children whose temperaments and idiosyncrasies become the business’s job to appease.  Now imagine that business existing in a society that doesn’t really appreciate abstract ideas.  Now you’re approaching the reality of the contemporary art gallery.

The art gallery is a tough business, which begs the question, why would anyone want to be in it?

With this and similar questions in mind, I approached four New England art dealers.  I learned that each dealer has charted a distinctive plan.  All remain optimistic.  All believe in the future of art galleries.  Ultimately, all see this as a relationship business, built from strong ties with their artists and art buyers.


Three-year-old Yellow Peril Gallery, located in a historic mill complex in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence, is one of the newer galleries in New England to take hold.  Partners Vanphouthon Souvannasane and Robert Stack started in New York helping pop-up galleries get the word out, and they moved into a live-work complex in Providence, they decided to open a gallery.  Yellow Peril represents a little over a dozen artists that run the gamut from Toby Barnes and his Hindu and Buddhist-inspired altar installations to Naomi Campbell and her works on paper about gaming and social networks.

“Art has become a community of sharing,” says Stack.  “We take artists from all over the world and we show them to our local community of viewers.  In the same respect, we do the art fairs, where we take the artists from here out to other communities.”

Read the full article by Ric Kasini Kadour in the September/October 2014 issue of Art New England magazine at a newsstand near you. »