On June 27, Fay Gold held court at the opening of her long-awaited art gallery in the new Westside Cultural Arts Center on West 10th Street. The distinguished 81-year-old dealer has been working as an art adviser since closing her previous gallery in 2009, after three decades in the business. Shuttering her Buckhead gallery “was like getting a divorce,” says Gold, while the new space “is like getting remarried four years later: it’s the same but different.”
She was invited by James Chappuis, a surgeon who has owned the 12,500-square-foot building for more than 10 years, to run a gallery in the facility, giving her about 8,000 square feet to do with as she wished. Chappuis intends to host a range of events there — jazz performances, lectures, receptions — all of which could increase the exposure of artists to viewers who might not otherwise visit a gallery. And not many galleries come with a built-in reception area and bar.
Gold inaugurated the space with photographs by Sandy Skoglund (on view through August 30), an artist best known in the late 1980s and 1990s for her room-size installations. Skoglund, who has shown with Gold since 1999, made new prints of previous works for the occasion.
Accordingly, the show felt rehashed, but to her credit Gold pulled it together with four weeks’ notice. She had earlier planned to open with the “50 Americans” exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe photographs organized by Sean Kelly Gallery (how perfect the timing would have been with the Supreme Court’s recent striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act), but long delays caused by building permit issues proved problematic. Gold, who has represented Mapplethorpe or his estate since 1982, expects to present that or another show of the artist’s work, as well as one by Keith Haring, in the near future. For now, her storage racks are mostly empty, and a handful of artists have works installed in the back room.
When Gold opened her first gallery in 1980, she showed such artists as George Segal, Robert Rauschenberg, Alex Katz and Irving Penn. She says she’ll continue “to bring to Atlanta what no one else can” and is also scouting around for emerging talent, since her former artists have moved on to other galleries. So far, she’s discovered and has already sold works by Savannah College of Art and Design MFA candidate Tyrus Lytton; Taras Sereda, a 22-year-old Ukrainian artist based in New York; and Atlantan J.P. McChesney