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Yesterday, Pace launched the first online show in a series of digital exhibitions created in response to its physical spaces closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Curated by Michaela Mohrmann, “Imagined Interiors: Saul Steinberg,” features drawings, collages, and photographs that capture domestic, everyday life.
Later this week, a group presentation of work investigating stillness, “A Swiftly Tilting Planet,” will debut, curated by Adam Sheffer and Oliver Shultz, including the work of Lynda Benglis, Brice Marden, Lucas Samaras, William Eggleston, Alex Katz, and more.
Those will be followed by “Material Matters,” “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” and “All Creatures Great and Small” in the coming weeks. Whitewall caught up with the gallery’s senior director Samanthe Rubell to learn more about what’s to come.
WHITEWALL: Can you tell us about how you wanted to approach expanding digital exhibitions to the public at this time?
SAMANTHE RUBELL: With our online strategy we are committed to the idea of accessibility. Our goal is to achieve transparency, approachability, immediacy, and most of all, inclusivity.
With our online program, we aim to apply the same rigor and expertise that has distinguished Pace’s program for 60 years, with our dealers and curators collaborating on thought-provoking and carefully calibrated exhibition concepts that enrich the experience of art for our global audience. With lush multimedia content, accompanying critical texts, and coherent storytelling, our online exhibitions exemplify the same gravitas of our brick-and-mortar program.
Given that the gallery is expanding its online platform in its 60th year, I would say we also want to show audiences a new side of Pace—perhaps share a part of an artist’s body of work that maybe you weren’t so familiar with, or curate a group of works that are united by a pressing theme that allows you to rethink or re-contextualize what you know to be true about an artist.
WW: As this is being built out, what possibilities in digital programming are you excited about?
SR: We are excited about the capacity for multi-media storytelling that’s available to us with digital. For example, our Steinberg curated exhibition will feature a clip of music, “Gavotte” from Mignon that will play on the main page. This exact song is referenced within one of the drawings, where a figure diligently practices his violin inside a cluttered interior and this particular sheet of music is visible. So, while scrolling through works by Steinberg, a visitor will get a multi-sensory experience, knowing what is playing through the scene but also through the artist’s mind. This might seem subtle but the potential impact of this layering of the senses helps us tell a more compelling and fuller story about an artist’s life.
Again, the idea of accessing and engaging people who might not have time to walk into the gallery and learn about our artists is exciting to us. The art world can be rather closed-off and self-referential at times and we like the idea of bringing new voices and eyes into the dialogue by way of a different portal.
WW: What role can art and artists play at a time like this?
SR: At Pace Gallery we recognize our responsibility for societal good and the power of art to change the world. Arne likes to say, “Art is the tool by which society extends its perception.” This mindset, which has shaped Pace Gallery, is vital now more than ever. Continuing to bring art, culture and storytelling to you (our global community) is crucial to us, especially at this time when we are all hungry for shared experiences and moments of newfound joy. Artists are the nucleus, acting as thought leaders and interpreters for what happens on a daily basis in our personal lives and on a global scale. They create raw, beauty, joy, color, but also create moments of introspection, reflection, and critique. This kind of dialogue is essential and what’s going to keep us united.