One year after opening his gallery at 460 Harrison, the gallerist Anthony Greaney has moved to new, more accessible space on the corner of 450 Harrison - where Bernie Toale formerly plied his trade. The relocation from the abstrusely placed room behind the Howard Yezerski gallery and into a sunlit storefront just a few weeks ago has brought with it a boost in foot traffic for Greaney and might, perhaps, bring some more recognition for one of Boston's newest galleries. Big RED's Christian Holland asked Greaney a few questions about his new space, the Boston art world and what it's like to open a business in a recession.
Christian Holland: You've moved from 450 to 460. Why did you move and what will change for the Anthony Greaney gallery in its new space?
Anthony Greaney: When I decided to open my gallery, I knew I wanted to be in SoWa. The scene is dedicated primarily to contemporary artists, and after having spent many years in New York and Los Angeles, and I have a relatively stark aesthetic bent. The space in 450 was a beautiful space to open - a hidden gem, tucked away. After I'd been open for nearly a year, the building's management approached me and asked if I was interested in Bernie Toale's project space. I took a look, and as I'd taken on a few more artists this year, decided it was a better space for my purposes. The natural light, the ceiling height, the space's unusual configuration, and the windows on Harrison Avenue were all advantages to displaying the artists' work.
CH: You passed your first birthday last month. Was 2009 everything you hoped it would be?
AG: The opportunity to work with the emerging artists I represent has been extremely rewarding. It's a dream come true after over 20 years. I've worked in a number of quite well known contemporary art galleries in New York and Los Angeles, and have developed my own vision over the years. Every show has been unique, and running my own gallery has been rewarding beyond expectations.
CH: In the community of gallerists in Boston, who do you like? Who do you think are the trend setters? Where's your place in the mix?
AG: My focus is on the artists whom I represent and the collectors. They all have unique visions, and my focus is on the partnership with them in the development, exhibition, and nurturing of their work. I discovered that owning and operating your own gallery is extremely challenging, and although in the past I've followed many galleries and their artists, to be the best gallerist that I can be, I have an extreme focus on my own artists. I couldn't really say where my place in the mix is - I suppose that's really a decision made by critics, curators, and avid collectors. I choose emerging artists who have a particularly poignant aesthetic that effects me - be it political, social, psychological. There are so many factors that play into my choosing artists on my roster, as it's a lifetime commitment of merging my gallerist point of view with their vision. Ultimately, collectors buy a gallerist's point of view, good taste, aesthetic savvy, and ability to choose artists whose work is serious, poignant, and will continue to develop. My place is to do that as well as I can.
CH: Do you have plans to incorporate more local artists into future shows?
AG: Many of my artists are local. Both Michael Ellis and Daniel Ellis are Boston natives, and I have a number of Harvard alums who have MFAs from CalArts. All of them are incredible artists. I'm fortunate that they happen to have local ties, but my priority is as I stated above - the marriage of their vision with my point of view.
CH: You say you're fortunate to be showing artists with local ties. Do you think it's more difficult to show out of town artists in Boston?
CH: 2009 was a rough year for galleries in Boston How are you growing while the rest of SoWa is shrinking?
AG: 2009 was a rough year everywhere, and it's not so much a matter of growth. I'm in business to be a gallerist, and my move to the larger space was a matter of availability. I intend to keep going, putting up the best shows that I can.
"Liz Glynn: California Surrogates for the Getty" is on view through February.
All photos by Christian Holland.