Thursday, 8 March 2012

Family and friends welcome


For contemporary art lovers, some good news: there’s a new show in town. Rove gallery on Hoxton Square is hosting the exhibition Friends & Family, curated by Adrian, Kai and Kenny Schachter. If you’re not familiar with any of these names, Kenny Schachter is an American art dealer, who has been in London long enough to assemble a considerable collection of British art pieces at home, to own Rove gallery, to write for the Telegraph and GQ (where he has a regular column) and to take part in a project with Zaha Hadid, due to open next year. Adrian and Kai are two of his fours sons.
Damien Hirst Sexy Love
So why of this exhibition? Fifteen-year old Adrian and 14-year old Kai thought it was the right time to curate a show. As Adrian puts it, “I grew up constantly surrounded by [art], both my parents were involved in it and, ironically enough, a large number of my friends are also very involved in art”. Kai gives us a brief insight of the family’s dynamic: “What we are trying to do with this exhibit is to show that art is a huge part of our everyday lives, and being brought up in a family obsessed with art, this has really helped me put this into perspective.”
The focus of this show is family and friendship, and how these fundamental elements of their lives helped the curators gather the art pieces on display, either by providing them or influencing their artistic taste. The choice of works was made to question mainstream exhibitions: there are artworks by George Condo and Joe Bradley next to a mixed media creation of Gabriel Schachter, Adrian and Kai’s younger brother. Would you be able to spot the difference between the work of an established artist and one of a child’s?
George Condo Orgy Composition, Joe Bradley Untitled, Gabriel Schachter Untitled
A good insight given by this exhibit is the importance of art in their household. From an upbringing with no particular focus on art and studying to become a lawyer, Kenny Schachter one day walked into the estate sale of Andy Warhol. Seeing the art up for grabs made him realise that art didn’t go straight from studios to museums and galleries: there was a middle player and that player was the dealer.
Between giving up on law and becoming an art lecturer, Kenny bagged his first artwork: a Cy Twombly print purchased with a bank loan. He then began teaching himself about art. Like he says, “anyone can become expert in post-war art in six months if they bother to read”. Many deals and exhibitions later, the Schachter’s house in South Kensington is filled with art pieces, in what Kenny describes as being a result of business gone wrong, “by making more mistakes than I'd care to mention”, he quips.
Kai Schachter Vampire Weekend
Some of the art spread around the house ended up in this exhibition, like Maria Pergay's Bracelet Pouf and Ribbon Pouf sculptures. Other well-known artists on display include Zaha Hadid, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, as well as artists from the younger generation who had this as their first show.
This welcome initiative is worth being visited. What will you make of it?
Ollie Wink Untitled, oil on canvas


Until 15 April
Kenny Schachter Rove Gallery
Lincoln House 33-34
Hoxton Square
N1 6NN

Words and pictures by Laura Zúñiga

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