Sunday, April 15, 2007

Gallery Space Talk: Monique Meloche- moniquemeloche gallery

I recently interviewed Monique Meloche. Monique is the owner and director of the gallery moniquemeloche. The gallery represents several talented artists that have had their art featured at PULSE and other major art exhibitions. A current exhibition at the moniquemeloche gallery was reviewed in the Chicago Sun Times and will be reviewed by ARTFORUM this summer.

moniquemeloche gallery


118 N. Peoria Chicago, IL 60607

Contacat Information: - email
312.455.0299 - phone
312.455.0899 - fax

Q. You are the gallery director of moniquemeloche gallery. When was the gallery established? What is the mission of your gallery?

A. "Opened May 2001, opened gallery in my home in October 2000 with a group exhibition titled "HOMEWRECKER" where I invited 30 artists to exhibit over 90 works throughout the space including closets, bathrooms, bedrooms etc. The mission is to show an international mix of emerging artists working in all media through ambitious programming (and often non-commercial installations) at my gallery in Chicago while exposing our program to a wider audience participating in art fairs in Europe and the US. Ultimately I work for my artists to exhibit and be collected by institutions and important private collections worldwide."

Q. Why did you decide to become a gallery director? Are you an artist yourself? How did you get involved with the arts?

A. "After working for 6 years (3 as assistant registrar, 3 as assistant curator) at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art I decided to give the commercial world a try (I did work in Toronto at the contemporary art gallery Wynick/Tuck for 1 year prior to moving to Chicago) but was not interested in the "commercial" aspect so I approached Rhona Hoffman who had (and still has) one of the most established and well-respected galleries in the city.
The artists she was showing were already familiar to me from the MCA and her clients were all MCA board members/trustees, so becoming her Director (1997-1999) was an easy transition. Also, the level of her artists was to a point where anyone coming in to buy something wanted to buy it from Rhona and not from a Director. Therefore, I concentrated my efforts on adding a few younger artists to her program and curating a historical show on the history of the shoe in contemporary art.
After 2 years it became apparent that I liked making those decisions and I needed more freedom to do so, and luckily at that point Kavi Gupta was looking for a Director for his gallery (then Vedanta). I spent the next 1 1/2 years with a tremendous amount of artistic freedom to add artists to the stable, organize exhibitions, and really start working on the galleries profile at art fairs.
Eventually it became clear that I wanted to make even more decisions, so I decided to open my own space. I hold an undergraduate degree in art history from the University of Michigan and a Masters of Art History and Theory from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, so I come to the gallery from a more curatorial prospective. I also taught a graduate seminar at SAIC for 4 years and have written essays and reviews for a few publications."

Q. What is your personal philosophy about about art and artistic creation? What makes an artist and artist?

A. "Simply an artist is someone who has an inexplicable need to create. This desire is not driven by financial gain or fame and is a necessary endeavor."

Q. It often seems that many artists are not aware of the business side of art. Do you have any suggestions for an artist who wishes to learn more about the marketing side of the business that is art?

A. "Artists have dealers who hopefully take care of the business side of the art world, but artists who are self-promoters cannot hurt this process. A few pointers, be professional and get things in writing. If you are exhibiting at a gallery be sure to get an consignment agreement for your work to literally insure the work for a given value and agree to terms of sale -- normally split 50%. A good gallery is paying rent, utilities, staff, etc.,printing announcements, advertising your show, and hopefully selling your work for their part of the bargain."

Q. Who are you currently representing? Do you have any exhibits going on at this time?

A. "Carla AROCHA (Venezuelan b. 1961, lives Antwerp)
Joe BALDWIN (American b. 1968, lives Chicago)
Tobias BERNSTRUP (Swedish b. 1970, lives New York)
Justin COOPER (American b. 1976, lives Chicago)
Robert DAVIS /Michael LANGLOIS (American b. 1970/1974, live Chicago)
Gabert FARRAR (American b. 1972, lives New York)
Alexa HOROCHOWSKI (Argentinean b. 1965, lives Minneapolis)
Rashid JOHNSON (American, born 1977, lives New York)
Laura LETINSKY (Canadian b. 1962, lives Chicago)
Cindy LOEHR (American b. 1971, lives Milwaukee)
Laura MOSQUERA (Guatemalan b. Panama, 1966, lives Chicago)
Christopher PATCH (American b. 1974, lives New York)
Todd PAVLISKO (American b. 1974, lives Chicago)
Karen REIMER (American b. 1958, lives Chicago)
Joel ROSS (American b. 1966, lives Ludlow IL)
Alison RUTTAN (American b. 1954, lives Chicago)
John SPARAGANA (American b. 1958, lives Chicago/Houston)
Scott STACK (American b. 1952, lives Chicago)
Pamela WILSON-RYCKMAN (American b. 1954, lives San Francisco)

Current exhibition by Robert Davis + Michael Langlois in collaboration with Rashid Johnson "Look in the Rays..." thru April 21, 2007. See Chicago Sun Times review :,WKP-News-margaret06.article and upcoming in ARTFORUM this summer!

Upcoming exhibition by Carla Arocha in collaboration with Stephane Schraenen 'Marauders" opens April 27 - June 2, 2007."

Q. Your gallery represented several artists at Pulse NY (2007). Did the exhibit go well for your artists?

A. "We featured the work of Carla Arocha, Rashid Johnson, Todd Pavlsiko, Joel Ross, and Alison Ruttan. Got immediate press coverage for Pavlisko's COCAINE piece made of plastic tag fasteners and silver leaf in, sold alot of the work to new collectors from NY, Miami, France and more, made contacts with many European galleries who are now working to exhibit Ruttan and Wilson-Ryckman, met with many curators who are interested to work with Cooper, Johnson and Ross most immediately, and even met Lenny Kravitz! "

Q. What can you tell our readers about the artists you represent?

A. "They are a conceptually rigorous group of artist working in all media who frankly make great art."

Q. What kind of message do you want the art you exhibit at moniquemeloche gallery to have?

A. "That we present challenging, well-crafted, and seriously considered exhibitions that are relevant and thought-provoking."

Q. Do you have any advice for emerging or established artists who would like to exhibit at your gallery?

A. "If you are familiar with the gallery and have really looked at the artists we show and the program we present and then still think your work fits within that framework, then please submit a succinct but complete submission with no more than 20 images, artist statement, resume, and relevant press materials. We go through submissions quarterly."

Q. What was the most important exhibition you've been involved with? Care to share that experience?

A. "Our last exhibition "Chronic: handmade nightmares in red, yellow, and blue" curated by Astrid Honold featuring Fendry Ekel, Dylan Graham, and Folkert de Jong is the most ambitious show to date.
Featuring 3 artists from Amsterdam, this show was proposed by the curator following up on my interest in de Jong's sculptures. It was a museum caliber show and in fact is traveling to Doenen Museum in Ghent, Belgium in the fall, and had us working with Dutch consulate in both Chicago and NY along with the Mondriaan Foundation to assist with funding the exhibition and full-color catalogue."

Q. If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who buy art from moniquemeloche gallery, what would they be?

A. "Collectors who are serious about contemporary art (both avid and new collectors) -- we don't really sell to people looking to decorate."

Q. As a gallery director, what trends do you see in the 'art world'? What is 'hot' at this moment?

A. "Too many art fairs and biennials. Too many young artists not being allowed to let their work mature for fear of missing their moment in the spotlight.

China = hot"

Q. What can you tell our readers about the art scene in your area?

A. "It is a lively scene with young galleries (like Rowley Kennerk and 40000) continuing to sprout up and established galleries (like Rhona Hoffman and Donald Young) always showing stellar work.
The curatorial talent in this city is amazing, and just today curators from the Art Institute of Chicago and the internationally acclaimed Renaissance Society visited the gallery.
The Art Institute is working on their multi-million dollar contemporary art wing designed by Renzo Piano, The Spertus Museum (our Jewish Museum) is soon to open their major expansion and to start a contemporary art program under the guidance of curator Staci Boris.
The Museum of Contemporary Art (which turns 30 this year) supports the local scene with their monthly 12x12 new artists series and currently has the 1st US solo museum show by Rudolph Stingel and an even more impressive permanent collection show of photos from 1967 to present (including our own Rashid Johnson).
The Smart Museum and new and improved Hyde Park Art Center are thriving on the South Side and the Block Museum at Northwestern University currently has an impressive show of Roy Lichtenstein Prints 1956–97: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation.
Our art schools -- School of the Art Institute, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Northwestern, and DePaul attract talented artists with their faculty and produce an impressive roster of graduates.
TimeOut now has a weekly Chicago magazine that provides the much necessary immediate coverage of shows. Although it remains to be scene but ArtChicago is back with a vengeance this year now sponsored by Chris Kennedy and the Merchandise Mart complete with a noteworthy series of panels and lectures."

Q. Do you have a website for your gallery?

A. " "

Q. Is there anything else you would like to say about moniquemeloche gallery or the 'art world'?

A. "I think we've covered enough. Thanks!"
I hope that you have enjoyed my interview with Monique Meloche. Please visit the moniquemeloche gallery website.
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin

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