I’m someone who likes different aspects of the art world, and I’m ready, prepared, and capable of pursuing several of them at once. I’ve literally been trained to do this since I was 13 years old. This, yoga, hiking, and being a mom is all I do.
The Canvas: That sounds like a lot to me…
J.G.R.: Maybe, but I’ve spent a lot of time during COVID creating different teams and putting a system in place so that everything is organized. For example, going forward, we’ll now have Salon 94, Salon 94 Design, and Salon 94+, which will be our nonprofit space that will exist to help artists when they want to pursue a performative project, a poetry project, a publishing initiative that’s of a nonprofit nature, or anything related to their activism. It’ll be a space within our gallery where we’ll be able to concentrate on those types of initiatives, and it will have a dedicated team who can focus on that work full-time.
The Canvas: It’s interesting to me, though, because for so long, the gallery was so successful operating out of its former space, the upper floors of which you and your family use as a home. This is such a big, ambitious project. What motivated you to look for a new space in the first place?
J.G.R.: It was time for us to grow. Our artists are growing, and they required me to grow with them. If I didn’t grow, then our artists would have been quite right to leave. And just in terms of my own rhythm as an adult, with my children now grown and heading off to college, it was just the right time in my life to make this kind of a shift.
The Canvas: Do you actively feel a sense of pressure that if you don’t grow the gallery’s business—in any number of ways—that you’ll lose ground to the mega-galleries?
J.G.R.: Absolutely, yes. But the way I look at it is as follows: Regardless of how many square feet we have, there is a place for Salon 94 in this active art world that can be equally as powerful as a mega-gallery. The physical footprint might be smaller, but the intellectual and programming footprint might be equal. Ultimately, though, great artists require beautiful spaces to show their work. That’s just the bottom line, so of course I felt the industry pressure.