Gail Brown is a curator and writer. She has an integral role in the crafts field today. Gail is passionate about discussing crafts, and curates with intelligence and experience. Gail is an extremely knowledgeable woman whose enthusiasm for the artist is apparent in every show that she curates.
What advice would you give a young artist?
I [would] pose rhetorical questions to ask one’s self privately:
How much does a career in the arts mean to me?
Do I have something to say? Am I saying it already?
Am I taking risks in my work in order to keep growing? When do I plan to begin?
Is anyone noticing?
Am I willing to address all the very necessary clerical stuff with the same passion I bring into the studio?
Am I willing to do my homework about the world outside school?
Do I understand that there are things I can control – my “best efforts” – and those I cannot?
Artists can make things more likely to happen with focused homework. [When it comes to] the gallery scene – which places are right to approach?
[By] Asking other artists, who is good to do business with? [By] Presenting oneself in the most complete, professional way and [by] following up. “Educating” gallerists [sic] in the respectful treatment of oneself and all one’s peers. Helping to educate the gallerists [sic] and audience, etc. about my work and the field.
How did you get into curating shows? As a curator, you must really listen to the work that people are making. How does this affect the concepts you come up with for exhibitions?
I was trained as a printmaker – I innately understand the “attraction” of a person to a media. I have been watching, studying, asking [and] networking with artists for 40 years. I am a passionate member of the audience. I want to educate the audience to be a more receptive one for artists. I curate shows with a focus on a “breadth of possibilities”, to help the audience understand the riches offered: the range of imagination, ideas, issues, forms, process, skills and years of experience. I have curated 65 exhibitions across all media lines. Many exhibitions focused on content and personal ideas as well as material prowess and the development of one’s personal, visual vocabulary. I want the audience to sense and await “authentic, personal work.” What I wish for the next generation is a passionate, intense audience of their peers, one which becomes interested, experienced and knowledgeable and [that] parallels the artists’ journeys with those of their own as viewers. I spend a lot of time seeking opportunities to see the work of younger artists and to engage in dialogue with them – to begin the visual pleasures of fresh ideas, imagination and inspiration. Younger artists are always introduced in my exhibitions.