Sandra Gering first opened her gallery in May of 1991 on Broome Street in Soho. During these early years, the gallery presented influential exhibitions by such artists as Janine Antoni, Orlan, William Anastasi, Xavier Veilhan, Tracey Emin and George Condo. After a decade, the gallery moved to a ground floor space in Chelsea on 22nd Street. The program focused on technology and diverse media artists such as John F. Simon Jr., Jane Simpson, Craig Kaufman, Vincent Szarek, David Tremlett, and Karim Rashid.
In 2006 Gering & López Gallery opened up in the historic Crown building on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. The space, designed by Joel Sanders, opened with a solo exhibition by Leo Villareal. The program continues with pivotal exhibitions of artists such as, KAWS, Ryan McGinness, and Todd James. Historical exhibitions have been launched to demonstrate the link of the vision between artists and movements like the Dan Flavin / Josef Albers, and Peter Halley: 4 Decades of Drawings, to younger generation of artists, Leo Villareal, and John Simon, Jr. Curated exhibitions have explored subjects such as the artists use of the human figure in Masters of Reality, which brought together painters working with a unique version of their own realities, and Just What is it That Makes Painting So Different, So Appealing?, which compared minimalist line and shape; vibrant use of color and material. Sandra’s love of art and architecture is seen most clearly in her successful venture to save Eileen Gray’s iconic house on the southern coast of France in Roquebrune-Cap Martin. The modernist villa was designed and built by Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici between 1926 and 1929. In this unique house, Gray combined built-in furniture and specific spatial planning to engage the user with the building and site, incorporating the sun and the sea into the very experience of the house.
How did you get started at Gering & Lopez?
I opened my first gallery on 11th Street in the West Village in 1988. Three years later I moved to Soho, then relocated to Chelsea in 2001 and again to 5th Avenue in 2006, at which point I became partners with Javier Lopez. Galeria Javier Lopez has been located in Madrid since 1996. Our programs shared many artists and ideological tenets and it was a natural progression to join and expand with a partnership and a larger exhibition space.
Do you remember the first work of art you purchased? How did that evolve into a habit of collecting?
I have always had a passion for collecting, but my first significant contemporary art purchase was a small sculpture by Dove Bradshaw, who I later represented for many years. The sculpture is a cast gold egg, and represented a new beginning for my life in the gallery world. Fittingly, I have also recently acquired a work by a young artist named Marc Ganzglass that also features an egg in vacuum-formed plastic, which makes me realize that I will always have a desire to nurture new art and new beginnings with artists.
What do you think about selling art online and the future of the online art world?
I believe that ecommerce will have a significant presence in the future of business for the gallery world, simply because it is so integrated into how information is shared today. I have no doubt that it will continue to evolve in ways that we cannot foresee. It is one of the more exciting aspects of our business.
Do you think that eventually selling art online will make galleries obsolete?
I do not believe that. Only a small fraction of art can be fully appreciated in an online environment. The physical experience will always be important, as it is how people ultimately live with the work.
How do you think people that sell art online can maintain relationships with their clients and build trust?
I think that good relationships are formed when clients feel they are being communicated to in a respectful yet personal way, regardless of the environment.
What is your advice for buying emerging artists?
I think that a collector should react to an artist or an artwork viscerally, which is their entry point. After that, their appreciation will grow with time. I believe that strong work will reveal new things to a collector for many years.
What has been your proudest achievement as a dealer over the span of your career?
I have been proud to bring forth many artists to larger audiences, no matter what that audience might be. It could be a series of several exhibitions that show the growth of a particular artist’s career, or large public commissions, which tend to expose an artist to viewers who do not frequent galleries. This is particularly effective for work that is discovered online. Internationally speaking, the online forum is indispensible.
What mistakes became positive experiences for you?
I do not think in terms of mistakes to be honest, I believe that all my choices have brought me to the place I am today. I see my work as a gallerist as a platform for artists, and their growth and exposure has been my singular goal. Anything that comes from it is a positive experience.