Indulge Art Basel 2015 : Page 76

{THE GALLERIST} This Miami newcomer – an early supporter of photographer Rashid Johnson – is one of the few Wynwood art dealers who openly applauds gallery night visits. A lthough he has made Miami his home only since 2012, Jumaane N’Namdi is a committed stakeholder. “Everyone here who’s involved in the arts has a mission to promote the arts in South Florida,” says the director of N’Namdi Contemporary Miami, a gallery in Wynwood. Although the neighborhood is increasingly dominated by retail stores, he insists art cannot be just a commodity. Instead, he finds himself allied with the Pérez Art Museum Miami and other venues “to put the city on the map … for people to come to see art.” This won’t surprise visitors familiar with his family’s decades-long presence in Detroit promoting the work of blue-chip African-American artists who became family friends and provided the young N’Namdi with a non-academic but immersive art education. He likened it to being the son of Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records. "You heard music every single day, so you know a note if it’s off or if it’s on.” He proved his eye by recognizing the nascent talent of conceptual photographer Rashid Johnson and helping to cultivate Johnson’s emergence as an international star. That said, N’Namdi cautions that today’s young artists aren’t given sufficient time to mature. There is a tendency, he said, to treat artists like tech entrepreneurs and art like IPOs. “Back in the day, they [artists] had no choice but to get that experience,” he said, “because no one was buying work from a 20-year-old.” N’Namdi, 40, believes artists generally don’t produce their best work until they’re 60 or so. By then, they have developed their skills and maturity. “Even at 50,” he said, “they’re still worrying about where they fit into the art world. … By 60, that’s when you’re comfortable with what you’re doing, and that’s when you’re ready to share.” N’Namdi himself is always ready to share — both in curating clients’ collections and as an informal mentor. Most of the paintings and sculptures in the gallery are non-representational, but because the gallery is associated with black art, “People think I should have pictures of people holding babies.” So N’Namdi is quick to highlight the long tradition of abstraction both in Africa and the Diaspora. In catalogs he has produced and in his own extensive collection, he lists Ed Clark, Al Loving, Sam Gilliam, Chakaia Booker, Nanette Carter and a host of other top-tier artists, some of whose work appeared in major museums but who didn’t have gallery representation until his family took them on. While many galleries dismiss Wynwood’s monthly Second Saturday Art Walk as a bothersome event with young people stumbling from gallery to gallery scoring free wine, N’Namdi welcomes them as opportunities for serious conversation. “If I get a young collector coming here, and they want to pay me anything a month, I'm like, fine, because I just love for them to get the idea that collecting art is important,” he said. “They become a collector even though they only have one piece — and they don't even have it yet. They're just paying a little bit at a time, but now they're starting to feel like an art collector.” TEXT BY GEORGE FISHMAN / PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHARLES TRAINOR JR. Listen: bitly.com/JumaaneN-Namdi 76 INDULGE | DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016 | www.miamiindulge.com

The Gallerist

George Fishman

Jumaane N’Namdi

This Miami newcomer – an early supporter of photographer Rashid Johnson – is one of the few Wynwood art dealers who openly applauds gallery night visits.

Although he has made Miami his home only since 2012, Jumaane N’Namdi is a committed stakeholder. “Everyone here who’s involved in the arts has a mission to promote the arts in South Florida,” says the director of N’Namdi Contemporary Miami, a gallery in Wynwood.

Although the neighborhood is increasingly dominated by retail stores, he insists art cannot be just a commodity. Instead, he finds himself allied with the Pérez Art Museum Miami and other venues “to put the city on the map … for people to come to see art.”

This won’t surprise visitors familiar with his family’s decades-long presence in Detroit promoting the work of blue-chip African-American artists who became family friends and provided the young N’Namdi with a non-academic but immersive art education. He likened it to being the son of Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records. "You heard music every single day, so you know a note if it’s off or if it’s on.”

He proved his eye by recognizing the nascent talent of conceptual photographer Rashid Johnson and helping to cultivate Johnson’s emergence as an international star. That said, N’Namdi cautions that today’s young artists aren’t given sufficient time to mature. There is a tendency, he said, to treat artists like tech entrepreneurs and art like IPOs. “Back in the day, they [artists] had no choice but to get that experience,” he said, “because no one was buying work from a 20-year-old.”

N’Namdi, 40, believes artists generally don’t produce their best work until they’re 60 or so. By then, they have developed their skills and maturity. “Even at 50,” he said, “they’re still worrying about where they fit into the art world. … By 60, that’s when you’re comfortable with what you’re doing, and that’s when you’re ready to share.”

N’Namdi himself is always ready to share — both in curating clients’ collections and as an informal mentor.

Most of the paintings and sculptures in the gallery are nonrepresentational, but because the gallery is associated with black art, “People think I should have pictures of people holding babies.” So N’Namdi is quick to highlight the long tradition of abstraction both in Africa and the Diaspora. In catalogs he has produced and in his own extensive collection, he lists Ed Clark, Al Loving, Sam Gilliam, Chakaia Booker, Nanette Carter and a host of other top-tier artists, some of whose work appeared in major museums but who didn’t have gallery representation until his family took them on.

While many galleries dismiss Wynwood’s monthly Second Saturday Art Walk as a bothersome event with young people stumbling from gallery to gallery scoring free wine, N’Namdi welcomes them as opportunities for serious conversation.

“If I get a young collector coming here, and they want to pay me anything a month, I'm like, fine, because I just love for them to get the idea that collecting art is important,” he said. “They become a collector even though they only have one piece — and they don't even have it yet. They're just paying a little bit at a time, but now they're starting to feel like an art collector.” TEXT BY GEORGE FISHMAN / PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHARLES TRAINOR JR.

Read the full article at http://www.bluetoad.com/article/The+Gallerist/2327107/281436/article.html.

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here