Anderson Contemporary, art and technology, art dealer, art prize, cover competition, Ronni Anderson, street art
Anderson Contemporary is an art gallery and cultural hub situated within the serene, public, tree-lined atrium space of 180 Maiden Lane in New York City. At the helm is owner/director Ronni Anderson, a Manhattan-based art dealer known for her discerning eye when it comes to selecting captivating works of art. The gallery represents a vibrant community of visionary artists from various disciplines, including painting, photography, mixed media, animation, and performance art. With a personalized approach, Anderson fosters meaningful connections between artists and art enthusiasts. The gallery’s mission is to provide unwavering support to their talented artists, ignite passion in private and corporate collectors, and create indelible impressions that endure.
In Conversation with art dealer Ronni Anderson
Hear from Ronni Anderson, one of the judges on our inaugural Crayon Cover Competition, as she talks art, history, collaboration, and beauty with Zadie Loft. There’s still time to submit to our competition and see your art on the cover of our magazine!
ZL: When was the first time you fell in love with art?
RA: I was 17 when I first visited the Louvre in Paris. It was love at first sight (with the museum and the artwork) and the experience changed my life.
ZL: Which artwork in history has inspired you the most?
RA: During the same visit to the Louvre, I was deeply moved by Jacque Louis David’s “The Intervention of the Sabine Women.” It was (is) a large powerful painting with incredible detail. I remember feeling a connection with the woman in the center spreading her arms as if trying to prevent a fight between two soldiers (who were nude and I didn’t understand why). I was fascinated by all the chaos going on in the painting: the soldiers, the other women looking fearful, even the horses looked terrified, and there were these adorable chubby naked babies crawling around the woman’s legs, yet she remained completely calm and determined to stop the fight with no weapons. I just loved her and the painting, but I had so many questions as I had no knowledge of the painting’s story or symbolism. The desire to learn more about art, as was sparked by this painting, played a pivotal role in the career path I chose.
ZL: What made you want to start collecting art?
RA: I began collecting small pieces to decorate my first apartment in NYC. I had just started working at Sotheby’s, but I couldn’t afford anything there. Instead, I purchased items from flea markets. I like surrounding myself with unique and interesting things. They don’t have to be expensive: I simply look for pieces that resonate with me in some way.
ZL: What was the first piece of art you bought?
RA: I believe it was a small landscape painting from a flea market.
ZL: What is art? (Answer can be as general or as specific as you like!)
RA: Although it may sound cliche to say that art, much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. I would go further and say that for me, art is a skillful creation that encourages us to see the world from different perspectives.
ZL: What has been the best artistic collaboration of your life and career so far?
RA: Selecting the best artistic collaboration is difficult because I have collaborated with some wonderful artists and colleagues. One great collaboration was with Valentina Puccioni from Arco Gallery (NYC) on a solo exhibition featuring the works of Italian abstract painter, Gian Berto Vanni. Our shared approach to curating and understanding artists made it a truly wonderful experience. Additionally, I have had the pleasure of working with animation artists. Notably an ongoing collaboration with Yvonne Grzenkowicz, the founder of Animation Nights New York, where we present a series of animated short films and exhibit Augmented Reality art and introduce Virtual Reality experiences.
ZL: What are some of the most exciting things happening in the art world right now?
RA: I think the tech movement is really cool as well as a little scary, but it’s offering new ways to create art, to market it, sell it, and to invite change. I also love the energy and emotion that Street Art brings to the art world. And it’s fantastic to see more female artists thriving in that predominantly male arena.
ZL: What are some of the problems facing art dealers and artists today?
RA: While technology is definitely exciting and new, I also wonder if it doesn’t create some challenges for both art dealers and artists. For example, artists use social media and online sales platforms to attract followers and sales, so the perception of selling your work exclusively through a gallery has changed. On the flip side, I think it’s harder to get the online attention needed to make sales with so many artists and dealers flooding social media and online sales platforms these days. And when it comes to shopping for art online, the fees associated with joining these platforms compel galleries and artists to inflate prices so they can afford to give away an extra piece of pie.
ZL: How has the art world changed throughout the years?
RA: The art world has definitely become more accessible and global. The clubby elite institutions, dealers and collectors still dictate the market, but there seems to be much more opportunity for emerging and established artists today with so many accessible Art Fairs, online platforms, auctions, art advisors and galleries.
ZL: What are your thoughts on this year’s cover competition: Beauty?
RA: I love the idea of exploring Beauty. I think its meaning has significantly evolved over time, evoking a range of imagery in our minds. I believe the best way to see beauty in unusual things is through an artist’s depiction. They have the ability to show us a kind of beauty that might otherwise go unnoticed.
ZL: What are you looking for in the Crayon Cover Competition submissions?
RA: I look forward to being wowed by work that conveys a fresh perspective on what beauty is today.