Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Current State of the ART Market Series # 9- Melanie Flood- Photographer and Owner of Melanie Flood Projects

Photo-Melanie Flood- The Perfect Hostess @ the Bradley Peters Home Theater Opening

This is installment #9 of The Current State of the ART Market Series . 

Artmostfierce had a chance to see for himself first hand what Melanie Flood Projects is all about. Melanie Flood is a photographer and her gallery concept @ Melanie Flood Projects is a good vision of what most art dealers will end up doing due to the current economic turbulence going on right now,causing a lot of gallery closings. Let's see what Melanie can tell us about it.

RNSM- Please explain to us about Melanie Flood Projects...How did it
start it? Why in your house?

MF-I began Melanie Flood Projects over the Summer of 2008 because I felt
that artists and photographers (like myself) needed a new style of
venue to showcase their art. I was tired of it being utterly
impossible for a young, talented artist to display their work, other
than online or in crowded group shows that require a participation

The Idea came to me when I was in the position of Managing Editor at
Zing magazine. We were involved in Art Chicago 2002 and while visiting
I came across stay at home mothers that ran public galleries from
their homes. These women were artists, curators, collectors, and they
didn't allow motherhood prevent them from being involved with what
they loved. I was influenced most by a young woman who had Amy Sillman
watercolors displayed on her fridge with magnets. Made me think
differently about he way art should and could be displayed.

So based on the inspiration from these women, I decided to base the
gallery from my home and I am fortunate enough to live in a lovely
brownstone in a great part of Brooklyn. I am also drawn to the idea of
the home as a social hub apart from public spaces such as bars, clubs,
galleries, & cafes.

RNSM- In my opinion you are pioneering the new resurgence concept of private dealing
@ home...Is there a reason why?

MF-I believe that in the environment of a gallery or museum the real
importance of the artist is lost in the pressures of the "gallery"
experience. By removing that factor I believe I am placing all the
emphasis on the artist, using the comfortable and welcoming
environment of a living space to ease viewers. I hope that in inviting
people to view art in these circumstances, where art eventually ends
up, will remove the formal pressures of the "art world" and will help
people focus on art in it's most natural state or form.

Photos-'' Mi casa es su casa'' Photos of Melanie Flood Home where exhibitions take place. Current show shown is Home Theater by Bradley Peters

RNSM- What is the advantage of it? Disadvantages? 

MF-I am not affected by the immense overhead of having a gallery space.
Because I don't have to worry about rent, making money is not at the
forefront of my mind, this frees up the types of art I show. I also
get to display art in my most favorite way-among domestic life, my own
personal decorations. It's like a revolving art collection! Another
advantage is being able to have many styles of events other than
showing art on walls. One example was a party in December where I
invited 17 artists to come over for one evening and sell their wares;
books, mags, zines, prints, etc…

The disadvantage is obviously that this is a private residence that I
share with my husband, so during receptions we're opening our home to
the public, which can be frightening at first. People sloshing around
with their dirty boots, glasses' overflowing with wine, things can be
damaged or stolen. As well, having complete strangers wanting to see
the show after the reception. It could be viewed as unsafe to be here
alone with someone I don't know. That's where Google comes in.

Also, our apartment always must be clean in case of last minute appointments!

RNSM- With several Art Galleries closing nowadays you see your
business template as an adequate and affordable response and possible
art market solution to continue art dealing?

MF-Yes, absolutely, but making one's private space public is not for
everyone. You have to be a bit more laid back to open your home. The
space also needs to be welcoming and able to accommodate crowds of
visitors. In this relaxed environment I feel that I have been able to
facilitate & encourage dialogue between viewers, artists, and

RNSM- How do the artists that you represent feel about this business template?

MF-I have all kinds of artists contacting me who want to be a part of
this salon revolution that is taking place. This must mean that
artists find it appealing, and they're willing to take a chance on
their work in alternative venue. Artists who ordinarily sell prints
for $800, are making limited edition magazines so they can be included
in my events, they're having fun with their work, taking it a little
less seriously. I really love this aspect of Melanie Flood Projects.

RNSM- You are based in Brooklyn...Other than the fact that a great number
of artists live there about art collectors?

MF-Everyone I know that lives in Brooklyn collects art. It may not be
fine art photography, it may be more folk art, or paintings, but I
think there is a great respect and interest for all kinds of art in

RNSM- Is your business more beneficiary of on line services than lets say
appointments and foot traffic?

MF-I get the word out about shows, events, openings, and submissions
online. If it weren't for Facebook I think it would be more difficult
to reach such a wide audience. With that said, my website is just an
information portal. I do not treat it as a place for people to view
the work. I rely on the opening reception, then appointments for
people to really experience my concept. There's no foot traffic
because the house does not appear to be a public gallery from the

RNSM- How do you feel towards the Current State of The Art Market now?
Any suggestions for other art dealers? Artists?

MF-I realize that the art market is suffering greatly and much less
business is being done everywhere. But to look on the bright side this
forces artists, gallerists, collectors to look to alternative venues,
and emerging artists. I'm strictly into showing work that I believe
in, and that I want people to see. I'm not sure if other dealers are
doing it for that reason. Perhaps some people out there are in it for
the money, but I am realistic, and know that this is not the business
to make money in- at least not at this point. Maybe after I've been
doing this for ten years I'll have more experience and some advice for
other art dealers.

My advice for emerging artists is to not worry so much about selling
your work. Just focus on making quality work. Get into group shows,
publications, collaborate with friends, & find your voice.

If asked while an undergrad student at the School of Visual Arts if
I'd be a curator or an art dealer I would've scoffed. But when I
graduated and took a position at Zing magazine, curating a project was
part of my job description. I was terrified! I loved Todd Hido's
photographs at this time, so I contacted him and asked if I could
curate a project of his work. To my delight he said yes. Then again I
pushed through preconceptions about myself, & curated another, of
Jenny Holzer's work. I believe that being open-minded, & well rounded
has helped me flourish.

RNSM- You are also an art collector, has your collecting ways slowed down?

MF-I'm not purchasing any items right now, not really because of the
economy, but because I've made many smaller acquisitions over the past
two years that need to be properly framed, so I'm more concerned with
showcasing that work than adding more.

RNSM-. You are also a photographer; tell us about your work.

Photos- Photographer Melanie Flood

MF-I've never been able to tell anyone what I photograph when asked, I'm
just getting used to the idea of saying I began taking photographs in
1989 & that I'm obsessed with recording my life, my memories, and
surroundings. I'm photographing what exists in front of me. I do not
search for projects, or meanings, or ideas. I see it, I like it, and I
photograph it. I miss this simplicity in photography. Everything is
about the project right now. I was bothered for a while that my work
wasn't that way, and because of this, I recently stopped looking at
other young artists work-in comparison to my own. I have a tendency to
lose my vision while viewing my peers' work. I'm taking photos for
myself at this time, getting back to what makes me love photography so
much instead of focusing on outsider recognition for my work.

When I'm not taking pictures, I'm organizing a collection of nearly
10,000 family photographs beginning from about 1930. Separately, but
ultimately I imagine it will all come together, are photographs
beginning in the year of my birth, 1979 to the present, taken by
myself and members of my family.

RNSM- Do you include your work in some of your shows?

MF-I am asked this question frequently, and I never do display my work at
any of the shows. I also remove any of my photographs that are hanging
because I'm not trying to further my career as an artist on the
shoulders of whom I am showing. When I have an event its about the
artists, not myself.

RNSM- Has your choices of work, artists, pricing and theme shows has
changed due to the current climate that we are experiencing?

MF-My choice of artists never has to do with pricing, or themes. I see an
artist I like; I contact them, that's it. Whether their work sells
for $100, $1000 or $5000 it is irrelevant to my project.

RNSM- Right now you have Home Theater by Bradley Peters on display,
which I think it is a pretty good show, and had a good reception
opening...Who is next? Why?

MF-Thank you. I find his photographs incredibly compelling. I'm always
surprised by a new detail every time I walk past them. It really is
quite the luxury to have such a talented artist showcased in my home.
Uninstalling them will be a sad day.

The next event will be held in Mid-March, another one night party with
items prices at $100 or less. Without giving all the fun away, a few
participants' include Jason Polan, Stephen Wong, Grace Kim, &
Elizabeth Fleming -painters, photographers, zinesters, magazines,
fashion designers- it's a mish mosh of talented people that I'm really
excited to support & showcase.

After March I don't have anything planned. I like to keep the schedule
open, wait until I feel inspired. I also have a serious case of
wanderlust, so that really is what comes first.

RNSM- Any final thoughts?

MF-New York will always have a vibrant art scene regardless of the
economy. I'm optimistic about the future of the art world, & very
proud to be part of such an exciting time in New York.

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