Transcending the Gallery Model

Dec 30, 2018 9:02AM

In recent years the art world has witnessed countless galleries closing and opting for decentralized models of operation. In 2017 London was considered the testing ground for new gallery models, yet with emergent transactional models such as ArtMoney surfacing in New York, or curatorial enterprises like CuratorLove headquartered in Los Angeles, a shift in traditional art business models is fragmenting the prior modus operandi.

Photograph by Vicky Jauregui

A recent conversation with Erika Hirugami, Founder & CEO of CuratorLove detailed the ever-changing complexity of having an innovative business model. CuratorLove is a WOC owned and operated curatorial enterprise headquartered in Los Angeles, which grew to include projects in London and Mexico City in the first three years of operations; comprised of various art professionals working across the globe, with unique art backgrounds and expertise to provide custom experiences for each of their partners.

But what does working outside of the gallery model entail? In Hirugami's own words "I am deeply interested in transcending contemporary art business structures, to better service CuratorLove's roster of artists who want more than sales, they want corporate projects, institutional acquisitions, publications, career development, etc." For instance, unlike most gallery models, CuratorLove has an internal publishing branch producing artist publications, currently focused on the upcoming release of CuratorLove's fifth publication; Year Three. Cover image Snake in Space, 2018 by Alex Anderson. Publication which will be commercially available in early 2019.

Aside from a publishing branch, CuratorLove has international affiliates which translates to creating projects across the globe. In 2019, for instance, CuratorLove will partner with Raw Streetphoto Gallery to co-curate projects in Rotterdam, Tel Aviv, and Hong Kong, aside from having projects in Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Florida.

Whereas, in 2018 CuratorLove unleashed two corporate art takeovers, curated an exhibition at the Mexican Consulate, oversaw the creation of multiple publica art projects, published a book entitled "year two," curated exhibitions for multiple galleries in Los Angeles, placed artwork in museums and corporations alike, launched web-based art projects with House of Wren, published articles in partnership with MuSEEum and History News, and hosted various lectures to further deconstruct contemporary art business in partnership with art professionals from around the globe.

Some of the artists featured in "Black matters..."

Some of the artists featured in Pialli.

Existing outside traditional business models means young curatorial enterprises like CuratorLove can adapt organically to better service their artists, as Hirugami states "CuratorLove is artist focused." But what are the benefits of not having a traditional brick and mortar space? Hirugami explains that being able to nomadically inhabit multitude locations, from galleries to corporations or public spaces, allows CuratorLove to innovate and produce projects that respond to different environments.

What is coming up next for CuratorLove? Hirugami and the rest of CuratorLove's executive ranks recently met in New York to redefine the future of the company, as it had reached over 90% of the goals in their ten-year plan in the first few years of operation. They have concluded that being predominantly WOC operated meant and expansion of the existing roster to include even more art made by artists of color, as well as continued partnerships with multiple entities across the globe to highlight aesthetic curatorial convergences. More publications, more exhibitions, more public art, more transcending the gallery model of operation.

CuratorLove's currently features the works of Claudia Cano, Moncho 1929, Lino Martinez, Roberto Benavidez, Juan Logan, amongst many others. Past projects included featuring Kehinde Wiley, Mark Bradford, Teresa Margolles, ASCO, Kara Walker, Eamon Ore Giron, Judithe Hernandez, Narsiso Martinez, Koshin Finley, and many more.

Learn more about CuratorLove.

Private Event

Mexican Consulate

Mural Project

Gallery Project

By Minerva Cano.