An Interview with a Dealer: Ken Saunders
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 Ken Saunders of Ken Saunders Gallery.
Gallery: Ken Saunders Gallery
Name: Ken Saunders
Hometown: Washington DC
Favorites from the week:
1. Restaurant: Frontera Grill
2. Read: David Sedaris, Theft by Finding
3. Visit: Top of the Gross Point Lighthouse
4. Listen: Chicano Batman
Chicago Gallery News: Tell us about your background and how you started Ken Saunders Gallery?
Ken Saunders: I started working for Marianne Deson in 1985 and took over the gallery in 1989. In 1994 I was invited to join Bonnie Marx to create Marx-Saunders Gallery, specializing in Studio Glass.
CGN: Please describe your gallery’s program in one sentence.
KS: We exhibit the most talented and innovative artists working with glass in the world.
CGN: How do you spend a typical morning?
KS: Almost every day starts with a walk on the beach with my wife and our dogs.
CGN: Best sale you ever had?
KS: The first one. Out of a show curated at Smart Bar/Metro I sold a very large painting to a young couple for $1,600.
CGN: Share with us a highlight of the summer.
KS: I was very pleased by turnout for the Mid-Summer Art Walk. It was a pleasure to get the galleries to work together to mount a special event.
CGN: Yours is a gallery focused on the Studio Glass Movement. What are some unique aspects about running the business in general?
KS: Handling glass sculpture is physically demanding. Much of the work is very heavy, large and of course extremely fragile. The artists that I represent are willfully decorative which makes the work quite accessible.
CGN: Favorite cultural pursuit outside of the gallery world?
KS: My best friend and I have a production company called We Got Next with an office in New York City. Our first film One Wall: Kings of Coney Island is available on I-Tunes and Amazon.
CGN: Favorite work of public art in Chicago?
KS: William Carlson, Delicato Balancia on Clark Street at Armitage in Lincoln Park.
CGN: Artists you admire most.
KS: Brancusi, Giacometti and T.S. Eliot
CGN: What's coming up next at Ken Saunders Gallery?
KS: Opening the weekend of SOFA Chicago we’ll have collaborative works from two of America’s most gifted glass blowers- John Kiley and Dante Marioni. It is going to be a bit of a blockbuster.
CGN: Last Chicago restaurant you visited.
KS: Mon Ami Gabi
Ken Saunders is the owner of Ken Saunders Gallery located in River North in Chicago. For more information about his gallery visit: Ken Saunders Gallery.