Gleadell reports on developments in London's contemporary
Published: DAILY TELEGRAPH
January 3rd, 2004
The contemporary art scene in
London's East End is due for a facelift this spring with
the arrival of Kenny Schachter, one of New York's more unconventional
art dealers, who is relocating his business to Hoxton Square.
Schachter is planning to transform the landscape currently
dominated by Jay Jopling's White Cube Gallery, home of the
On one side of the square, he will open a gallery designed
by the former performance and video artist turned architect,
Vito Acconci. The interior, with its steel mesh walls - part
architecture, part sculpture - will be radically different
from the cool, minimal look of most contemporary art galleries.
At the same time, on the opposite side of the square, Schachter
will start work on a new building, which will be designed
by renowned architect Zaha Hadid. Part gallery and bar, part
residential development, it will be, says Schachter, Hadid's
first permanent building in the UK.
Schachter, who is also an artist and writer, made a name
for himself in the early '90s as a roving art dealer making
exhibitions for undiscovered artists in disused spaces in
New York. He was one of the first to show work by now established
artists Janine Antoni and Cecily Brown. He operates outside
the strict confines of the art world, his curatorial activities
ranging from architecture and fashion design to dance and
music, as well as art.
He settled down only two years ago when he commissioned
Acconci to build a gallery in his home in Greenwich Village.
One critic described it as "like the Guggenheim in Bilbao,
only inside out". An electric punk band played at the
opening, which was attended by an A-list of art and fashion
Now he's on the move again. "There's more happening
here than anywhere else in the world," explains 42-year-old
Schachter. But don't expect any of that insidious art-world
snobbery. "The trouble with so much of the art business
is that it's all about money, elitism and trendiness - nothing
to do with art. My gallery will not be directed at the 'right'
people with money to buy."
Only one thing makes him nervous. On his last visit to London,
he was looking after an exhibition in Shoreditch when two
men, professing interest in the art, suddenly turned on him,
put him in a headlock and shoved him into the cupboard, making
off with all his valuable video equipment.