Interview with Jacob Meehan of GOLDEN
I am writing once a month on a column on art21 entitle Center Field | Art in the Middle with Bad at Sports
. My debut interview was with Jacob Meehan of GOLDEN.
Starting with his gallerys inaugural exhibition, Psychodrama, by photographer Jill Frank in the Fall of 2008, Jacob Meehan of GOLDEN has shown a definitive eye for compelling work. With shows by both emerging and mid-career artists like Aspen Mays, Doug Ischar, and Pamela Fraser, GOLDEN has quickly established itself as one of Chicagos most interesting new venues for contemporary art. Located in a residential building in the heart of Chicagos predominantly gay neighborhood known as Boystown, GOLDEN combines the energy of an alternative apartment space with the professionalism of a commercial art gallery.
In the following conversation, Jacob and I discuss how GOLDEN utilizes its apartment showroom, the history of its neighborhood and how this relates to some of the work it has shown, as well as some of the artists that have exhibited in the space.
Meg Onli: There has been a lot of press covering the rise of apartment galleries in New York City. Chicago has had a very rich alternative/apartment gallery scene for years. GOLDEN, however, is a commercial gallery that uses an apartment as a showroom. Could you talk about how you utilize your space and discuss how you try to distinguish yourself from an apartment gallery?
Jacob Meehan: The showroom of our gallery occupies the entire first floor of a 120+ year old graystone, nestled on a landmarked avenue between Chicagos Wrigleyville and Boystown neighborhoods. So what would be a generous two-bedroom apartment has been converted into a contemporary art gallery. At first, I was worried that people were going to hate the fact that it wasnt a massive white cube, but it has proven to be a great space for showing work. The segmentation from the various rooms is actually an asset because it allows us to play with pace and rhythm.
I dont mind being deemed an apartment gallery because we are a gallery in an apartment, but the notion of an apartment gallery usually brings up thoughts of artist-run types of spaces. Im not actively trying to distinguish our space from those types of ventures, because those places are important and necessary. I think that what were doing is (unknowingly) from a more European model. I was in Milan last month (my first trip to Europe, proper) with my boyfriend, Henry, and the first gallery that we went to was, to our surprise, exactly like GOLDEN
and this space (Studio Guenzani) shows artists like Cindy Sherman, Catherine Opie, and Laura Owens. Unlike traditional apartment spaces, we are concerned with exhibiting, but furthermore, representing some of the best talent that is out there right now.
Read the entire interview here.