art galleries are often cold, cavernous, and antiseptic. But they don't have to
gallery owners frequently paint and repaint the walls of their exhibition
spaces, attempting to complement the colors of their paintings and sculptures.
Many gallery owners also bring food, drinks, and live music to their openings,
hoping to engage and entertain their visitors.
some gallery ownersÂ abandon the idea of a rarefied gallery space
altogether, choosing instead to display artwork amidst the chaos and clutter of
their own homes. These gallery owners open up apartment galleries, and they revel in the
idiosyncrasies and imperfections of the domestic space.
apartment gallery is just what you might imagine it to beâ€”an exhibition space
located in a gallery ownerâ€™s apartment. The gallery owner lives, literally lives, with the
artwork he or she chooses to display. And visitors who step inside these
galleries are not only visiting a commercial exhibition spaceâ€”they are also
visiting someoneâ€™s home.
week, I spoke with Caroline Picard, the owner of Green Lantern Gallery, a
one-time apartment gallery.
was kind enough to share her experiences as the owner of an apartment gallery
with us here:
did you choose to open Green Lantern as an apartment gallery, rather than a
I actually just sort of
stumbled into the space. I had been house-sitting for a year and had just
decided that I was going to stay in Chicago, so I thought I could look for a
more permanent living situation. At first I was looking for studio apartments,
but thenâ€”as I factored in the cost of that place and a separate studio to work
inâ€”I got a little overwhelmed by the cost. I happened to be walking down
Milwaukee Avenue and saw a "for rent" sign in what would become the
gallery. I decided to go and take a look at it; actually the cost was
comparable to what I would have paid for the apartment and the studio. I had
always wanted to run an apartment gallery/press and, looking at this empty
space, I suddenly felt like I had that chance.
What unique challenges did owning and
operating an apartment gallery present?
I realized that my space was
ineligible for a business license, so I bumped up against some interesting
aspects of civil bureaucracy. On the one hand, people I talked to in the city
wanted me to stay open and tried to be really helpful. On the other hand, they
couldn't help and we all agreed, in this case, the rules were stupid. That was
did you find most rewarding about owning an apartment gallery?
It was a great way to be part
of and learn from the Chicago contemporary art world. I met some really amazing
friends and inspiring artists that way.