Friends and Neighbors
Sometimes I think that art dealers are misunderstood. Are we just glorified shopkeepers? I’ve heard that said. Are we ruthlessly competitive with each other? I’ve heard that said, as well. But something to remember is this: we are usually following our passion for art. That is why the quote from Roberta Smith, in my last post, was so welcome: “They help artists do what we all hope to do: make a living at something they love.”
As for the competition, the truth is, we are all out on the dance floor together, and we try not to step on each other’s toes. We are colleagues. Many dealers do significant business with each other, and some become friends, partners and neighbors. I fall into that camp.
I was lucky enough to move to Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, around thirteen years ago. I was looking for a way for the artists to reach a wider audience. It was also my chance to double the space of the gallery, provide better parking for our clientele, and place the work of our artists in a more prominent context. I knew the dealers Rosamund Felsen and Patricia Faure, and the space I took over was located between those two galleries. In fact, they campaigned for me to join them at Bergamot Station.
My great fortune was to move next door to Bobbie Greenfield. I quickly learned that she was the ideal neighbor—-a pleasant, sharing and kind woman with whom I immediately bonded. Over the years, we’ve shared our triumphs and our disappointments, and we’ve come to each other’s rescue in emergencies. She’s so responsible and trustworthy, and always sensitive to other’s needs. Full of humor and intelligence, Bobbie is also willing and able to pitch in and help with any project. One of my favorite quotes from Bobbie is: “How do you know the art dealer at the opening? She’s the one picking up the trash off the floor.”