He found the space on Cady’s Alley and snapped it up quickly, realizing it was bigger than what he was working with at Team, and much bigger than his New York project space—also called Von Ammon Co, it was just a section of his former high-rise apartment in the swirly
skyscraper in downtown Manhattan. (Von Ammon Co also specializes in private art consultancy, per its website.) In fact, the big Cady’s Alley gallery was the perfect kind of space for a Robak show, as his large installations incorporate monitors and LED screens and flashing lights to achieve a J.G. Ballard-meets-iPhone-addiction frenzy. An art show about late capitalism is no doubt poignant in Georgetown, a 10-minute Uber ride away from the Federal Reserve. But it also makes sense to show such work near a museum like the Hirshhorn, which is acquiring similarly time-based works by artists such as
“I’ve worked with Tabor since he started showing in galleries,” Von Ammon said. “I thought it made sense to show somebody who was young, who was engaging, and whose work I can safely say I’m an expert with.”
It’s the start of a programming schedule that will have room for four shows a year, usually solo or two-person exhibitions—the relatively slow pace accounts for those who only make the three-hour Acela ride down from New York a few times a year. (Holidays, Von Ammon noted, make for busy weekends, and several Big Apple–based dealers stopped by last weekend during Easter and Passover.)
Von Ammon is greatly admired for his curatorial eye: He’s organized shows at Team but also at Dublin’s Ellis King and San Francisco’s Berggruen Gallery
. East Hampton’s Halsey McKay has a show up through April 30th that Von Ammon organized, with work by Robak as well as
, and others. Next week, a show he organized opens at Marlborough Contemporary’s Manhattan project space.
He noted that, so far, he’s been making sales to clients in New York, as he’s able to convey the power of Robak’s work through images and videos—the collectors don’t need to be present to close the deal, he said. Asked how sales are going, he said, dryly, “so far it’s been just as difficult here as it would be in New York”—but added that he was pleasantly surprised the business had been about the same since his move to D.C.
His goal is to also sell to local collectors, some of whom may have never bought art before. He wants to get Washingtonians unfamiliar with the artists he’s showing in the door, regardless of whether or not they understand the art historical context inherent in the work.
“You definitely get the feeling that you’re giving some people their first visit to an art gallery, which is kind of an amazing feeling,” he said.