London Special 1: Keith Talent at year_06 art fair
AfN: This is an interview with Simon Pittuck the co-founder of Year_06, a London art fair. Hello Simon. When did you have the idea of organizing a co-FRIEZE fair event and how did the idea evolve?
Simon Pittuck: Well, what we've - as a London Gallery - we've gone through a number of satellite fairs in Miami, New York and a couple of other fairs like L.A. and we met a number of galleries from Europe and the US who where inquisitive of doing something when FRIEZE was going on. Primarily because there was a limited option of what they could do.
AfN: Because of limited space.
Simon Pittuck: That and you know Zoo is a very good art fair but there is geographical constraints. You know they have invited certain galleries this year from Berlin and L.A.
AfN: It is a British thing, the zoo.
Simon Pittuck: You know, obviously in the sense how its kind of evolved. It's evolved a kind of naturally that we've invited a number of galleries and we kind of invited them to recommend who's got the program. You know, who they think it's a kind of a interest and good. And those kind of things. I suppose kind of how it evolved was obviously: people wanted to do it. Good galleries from the United States and New York want to be ...
AfN: Want to do it.
Simon Pittuck: Yes, want to do it.
AfN: You have a gallery called Keith Talent and you are publishing a magazine called miser & now. And now the fair. Why all that effort? And isn't it better to focus?
Simon Pittuck: I suppose ... I don't now.
AfN: You don't know.
Simon Pittuck: I have never considered that. You know I think, there is different things by doing this. The magazine raises the profile of the gallery and the artists that we show. Primarily the main concern is obviously the Keith Talent Gallery. The magazine in a certain sense is just something of why, the justification of that, and the concept of the magazine is for kind of artists. For people who work within the cultural field but not necessarily the visual art. Discuss things that kind of form their practice one way or another. So, it's not a kind of critique.
AfN: It's a platform, if you want.
Simon Pittuck: Yes.
AfN: So, you are a platform provider. So, it is focused if you want.
Simon Pittuck: Yes.
AfN: You have been at the Aqua Art Miami. I personally liked the venue a lot. And you have been the only British amongst young western US galleries, with a fresh taste. What is your opinion on that? On the Aqua.
Simon Pittuck: Aqua, Jaq and Dirk. Obviously, they are a kind of similar. It was similar, wasn't it. They wanted the galleries from the west coast to have a kind of arena, a kind of voice in Miami. When the Basel fair is on. Actually, we've done a show with Cynthia Broan in New York and a couple of reviews. They saw that show and then invited us. We wanted to go out to the United States to meet people and also to situate the gallery in an international context rather than a localized one.
AfN: Why did you only invite one other British gallery at your own fair whereas the other events like frieze, zoo and even the scope are much more focused on British galleries without loosing the us and western Europe?
Simon Pittuck: It has been three months we organized this. So, a short period of time. And also at the same time, we did not want to have any conflicts.
AfN: With Zoo.
Simon Pittuck: Zoo, they show very good galleries from the UK. And we've assumed that they will be doing that and we not.
AfN: You are doing something different.
Simon Pittuck: Yes.
AfN: The fair "year_06" makes a very good expression to me and there's an astoundingly number of great art to see? How did you manage the selection process?
Simon Pittuck: Again. It was very fortunate. We worked with some very good galleries. We where just in dialog with the galleries and asking them about what they want to do in the show and what possibly kind of rooms they would like. And then it forms like that.
AfN: It was not like in usual fairs?
Simon Pittuck: It was discursive.
Simon Pittuck: Yes. You want the galleries in a sense to be able to show art in the context as in the same way in which they show at a gallery which has made them at that specific level. You know what I mean? Whether it is working with a kind of an architectural nuance - this building. There are constraints but also freedom that they can use the space imaginatively to show their artists work.
AfN: What is the secret of taste?
Simon Pittuck: I don't know what the secret of taste is. All I would say is that, I is quite interesting to see art not always in a kind of white box. It is often after that, it ends up elsewhere, whether that be a domestic space or a room in which one kind of occupies.
AfN: So, it has also something to do with let go? When you let loose?
Simon Pittuck: It is like architectural nuances. You know, features outside...
AfN: Sometimes it is appealing, like this fair, for example. Another time it is boring.
Simon Pittuck: Sure.
AfN: Is this intrinsic or born or a gene. What is it? ... Because, we are coming around a lot, and some fairs are not so good or some shows and others like this one. I was really amazed, yesterday. Maybe it was because I did not expect it. So, it can only be better. But on the other hand as you said there is a network. But, how does it come that this has this certain ... I would not speak of level. I do not like the word of quality in the arts to much because everybody talks about quality. High quality, low quality. I see it more in the question of taste.
Simon Pittuck: Again. There is a very good platform of galleries, who are showing quite vibrant, quite funky in a very professional manner. It doesn't have to look quite of little bit ...
Simon Pittuck: Trashy. You know it can have that kind of element but it is still performed or shown in a very professional manner.
AfN: That is the secret.
Simon Pittuck: I think so.
AfN: The professionalism behind it. In the approach.
Simon Pittuck: Yes. Very much so.
AfN: Something about the future? Are you planing more of such events? And if so, nearly every fair has a body of partner galleries they invite every year. For the frequent visitor it gets boring to view the same taste over and over. How will you cope with that?
Simon Pittuck: The idea of calling it "year 06" primarily was that it wouldn't be geographically situated. So that it could possibly shift. The thing is that kind of network tries to possibly include other European galleries. We've got Jeff Gleich from g-module, I mean I know him and maybe next year having a conversation of getting a few more galleries from Paris and there is also Gallery Jarmuschek und Partner, who do the preview Berlin. And you know, we are kind of working together but obviously they are trying to get maybe the Preview Berlin with a strong stable of UK galleries next year. And then kind of vice versa. Asking and kind of helping us getting good galleries from Europe.
AfN: So, it is a evolving, revolving networking process. You mean, you can avoid what has happened to the big fairs. Maybe also with FRIEZE, with Basel or Art Cologne. You go there and you almost know what you will get. You don't know the unique piece of art it is like going to Mercedes or BMW.
Simon Pittuck: I figure that the FRIEZE and those kind of things they are the high end. The thing is that the voice that should have been heard are the emerging, the younger artists. If you want to purchase something than you know which gallery to go to purchase it. I suppose it is that thing isn't it. Whereas if you not necessarily know ...
AfN: What you want to purchase.
Simon Pittuck: ... some of the artists. Cause that they are young or that state in their career. And then obviously these pieces of work around that fair are familiar. But that is the thing I suppose that people hopefully want to be excited.
AfN: Or hunting or adventure, if you want ...
Simon Pittuck: Yes. Obviously, collectors do want to buy emerging artists!
AfN: Simon, thank you for the interview.
Simon Pittuck: Thank you very much.
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