An Exclusive Interview With Barbara Krakow, Owner of Barbara Krakow Gallery.
Barbara Krakow Gallery features contemporary art of all media by emerging and established regional, national and international artists. The overall focus is on Minimal, reductivist and conceptually-driven works.
Q. Where are you based and how long has the gallery been dealing in fine prints?
BK: We are based on Newbury Street in Boston
Q. How did you start in the art business?
BK: I started in 1960. It came about because I was finding wonderful prints by Giacometti and others in Paris for a lot less than I found them for in Boston, so I bought some, brought them back and sold them. Simultaneous to that, I was being asked to “hang art” in a theater. One thing led to another and I opened our first gallery in a carriage house in Newton. I soon partnered with someone else, moved the gallery to Harvard Square, then Newbury Street, went through various iterations (including working with three other partners and running a large warehouse space for large scale painting and sculpture) and finally, in 1983 went out on my own. We show works in a mixture of media – the various print forms are only part of what we do, but we are committed to them.
Q. Which artists / art movements do you specialise in?
BK: In 1965, we hosted a show of Ellsworth Kelly’s early prints. In 1970 we hosted the first survey of Sol LeWitt’s prints. In 1972, we hosted the first exhibition in the US of Joseph Beuys’ work. These are just three examples of the longstanding commitment to Minimal, Conceptual, Poltically-minded and reductivist (aesthetically) work. Recently, we completed the Catalogue Raisonné of Sol LeWitt’s prints (www.sollewittprints.org) and are currently finishing up Mel Bochner’s Catalogue Raisonné of prints, so you can see we don’t only exhibit and sell the works, but have a long history of trying to help the artists, the print medium and scholarship, at large.
Q. What were some of the first prints you bought and sold?
BK: Giacometti, Kelly, Vasarely, among others.
Q. Who is your personal favourite artist and why?
BK: To say just one artist would be a lie – so many artists have so brilliantly, generously and specifically shared their work with the world in ways that continually move me.
Q. If you could own just one print, which would it be?
BK: Never would I be able to do that – I do believe in equality and to state one being absolutely the most important goes against everything in my being!
Q. Which artists do you have in your personal collection?
BK: Berenice Abbott, Josef Albers, Carl Andre, Eleanor Antin, Richard Artschwager, Robert Barry, Mel Bochner, Barbara Broughel, Stanley Brouwn, Daniel Buren, Sophie Calle, John Chamberlain, Christo, Chuck Close, Hanne Darboven, Mark Dion, Tara Donovan, Peter Downsbrough, Walker Evans, Auguste Edouart, Hamish Fulton, Rodney Graham, Scott Hadfield, Ann Hamilton, Hans Hollein, Jenny Holzer, Alfredo Jaar, Bronlyn Jones, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Ellsworth Kelly, William Kentridge, Joseph Kosuth, Maryellen Latas, Louise Lawler, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Mangold, Brice Marden, Agnes Martin, Michael Mazur, Allan McCollum, Roy McMakin, Elie Nadelman, Liliana Porter, Kay Rosen, Allen Ruppersberg, Ed Ruscha, Robert Ryman, Fred Sandback, George Segal, Cameron Shaw, Kate Shepherd, Cindy Sherman, Kelly Sherman, Kiki Smith, Richard Smith, Haim Steinbach, Ralph Steiner, Jacques Villon, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Kara Walker and Lawrence Weiner.
Q. What are some of your latest acquisitions?
BK: Personally? Christo, Kay Rosen, Richard Smith, Haim Steinbach, Robert Ryman, Auguste Edouart
Q. What advice do you offer collectors when acquiring fine prints?
BK: Look closely. Look slowly. LEARN. Don’t accept something as a token or a substitution. Only buy what really moves you, but be open to things moving you in different ways.