Each week, CGN interviews a local art dealer to discuss the ins and outs of running a gallery in the city of Chicago. This week we caught up with Catherine Edelman of Catherine Edelman Gallery.
Gallery: Catherine Edelman Gallery
Name: Catherine Edelman
Previous occupation: only this
Hometown: New York City
Chicago Gallery News: Please describe your gallery’s program in one sentence.
Catherine Edelman: We show living photographers and photo-based mixed media works.
CGN: How did you become an art dealer?
CE: By accident! I wanted to become a museum curator but after completing my MFA in photography, I decided I’d open a gallery for five years to gain business experience. After five years, I thought I’d have enough knowledge to then go into the curatorial side of the art world. One of my mentors told me to stay put. And I listened. On December 1 we will celebrate 30 years.
CGN: Your gallery focuses exclusively on photography. What attracted you to that medium?
CE: I originally studied metalsmithing but got frustrated that the medium demanded form and function over creativity. When I was in college at Philadelphia College of Art, a friend suggested I try photography. I repeated my sophomore year in college and became a photo major. Photography has the unique ability to record or alter reality, without sacrificing creativity. It was the perfect outlet for my interests.
CGN: What's the first thing you do each morning when you get to the gallery?
CE: Make an espresso.
CGN: Thumbs up or down on art fairs?
CE: Thumbs way up!!
CGN: Artists you admire but don't represent?
CE: Christian Boltanski, William Kentridge, Shirin Neshat, August Sander.
CGN: What’s the best sale you ever had?
CE: I recently sold the entire estate of one of my artists to a major museum that will mount an exhibition and produce a definitive catalog on her work.
CGN: What major successes have you had this year? What about challenges?
CE: It’s been a tough year. My father passed away and my mother almost joined him. I’ve been more focused on my family than the business, but I have a great team at CEG who’ve allowed me to take the time needed to take care of things.
CGN: What is your biggest fear?
CE: That the young generation, who is not actively supporting the arts, fails to understand how crucial they are to the future of all art forms.
CGN: Who inspires you?
CE: For me it’s more of a what, not a who.
CGN: What is your favorite interest outside of the art world?
CE: Traveling and see new places.
CGN: What is your favorite work of public art in Chicago?
CE: Magdalena Abakanowicz’s piece (Agora) in Grant Park.
CGN: What’s coming up this fall at your gallery?
CE: Two young artists. In September/October we open with Liat Elbling (b. Ramat-Gan, Israel, 1980) followed by Bettina von Zwehl (b. Munich, 1971) in November/December. We also participate in Expo Chicago.
CGN: Where do you love to go to see art?
- Galleries wherever I travel
- Museums wherever I travel
- New York City
- The internet
- Photo festivals
Catherine Edelman is the owner of Catherine Edelman Gallery located in River North in Chicago. For more information about her gallery visit: Catherine Edelman Gallery.