I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Marsea Goldberg, Director of New Image Art Gallery. Her taste and shows have always been some of our favorites at HEX. It was great to stop by, in the middle of an LA downpour, and view the Cleon Peterson "End Of Days" exhibit, as well as talk art with one of LA's premier authorities on the subject. Here's how it went:
HEX - You have established yourself as a giant in the LA art scene. What keeps it fresh and exciting for you?
MG – Thanks for considering me a giant, that’s cool. The artists have always made it interesting. There are always new artists coming up, there are always new people, there’s always new creativity and it keeps building. The good art builds on the art before it or breaks through to a different form. I have always had a close relationships with the artists that I work with, and I also have a deep relationship with their art.
HEX – What are you most proud of regarding New Image, and what would you still like to do with the gallery?
MG – Watching artists succeed and become strong in their art, having museum shows, and becoming known in the international art world.
HEX - As you see it, where does the difference lie between street art and fine art?
MG - In a sense, where it goes… When you are a “street artist” and you reach an area of success, there are two ways it might go; you either become a big deal in the action sports world or the video world or animation (basically the commercial art world ), or the artwork develops and the artist can handle showing in galleries, using more refined mediums, etc. There’s a certain refinement or intellectuality within the creativity on the streets where it can translate. If it has a very deep originality and conceptual basis, the art goes beyond the street and transcends people’s minds, and might end up in art museums. But then the art usually has legs and an intellectual content.
HEX - Do you find that you identify with the artists that create art you are drawn to, or is there no correlation between art and artist as far as personal appeal to you goes?
MG - Usually the artist is dynamic as well as the work, and the entire union of the artist and art is there. Sometimes I don’t like the person, and I like the art, but that is a rarity. I’ve been involved with very deep talent, and some artists are extremely refined and quiet and you’d never know they were geniuses. I appreciate all different kinds of people, I like the quiet ones, I like the passionate, I like the crazies… Artists are usually more sensitive and honest….
HEX - Your current exhibit is with Cleon Peterson. His images are stark and graphic, but can also be disturbing at times. What is your take on his style?
MG - I like it tough. Art doesn’t have to be pretty. Art doesn’t have to be comfortable. That’s the thing about great art. Sometimes uncomfortable art is the strongest, but it’s not necessarily the most loved. But the interesting thing about Cleon’s art is that it is becoming loved by the public. Maybe because it plays on a psychological level, yet there are so many different levels to appreciate. Even if you’re afraid of the content, the composition is so clean, and the choice of color so powerful. He’s a brilliant designer. There are many design elements that reflect back into Asian art or Renaissance art or Greek art. It’s the same with Retna, where the work reflects back into art history. We are inundated with images and it’s very satisfying to see them reshuffled and presented in a relevant way for our times.
"Art doesn't have to be pretty. Art doesn't have to be comfortable."
HEX - What do you see coming in the art future?
MG - I’m always looking for the original, and I usually know it when I see it, but it’s been a little tougher lately. I’ve been busy with work and I haven’t had time to go deep into the trenches, but I will get there soon. There’s good art in LA right now and in Mexico City. There are young artists from San Francisco I’m very interested in. There are young students that have interned for me that I think are very promising. I feel there is a little lull right now, but just wait…There will be the next movement…..