Lauren Marinaro is the owner and director of Marinaro in New York. The gallery opened in February 2017 in a second-floor space on the Lower East Side and moved to a three-floor space in Chinatown in September 2017. Marinaro has put on a diverse exhibition program of emerging and mid-career artists with works across all mediums. Marinaro’s exhibitions have been reviewed in many publications including The New York Times, Artforum, Modern Painters, The New Yorker, and The Brooklyn Rail. Please enjoy reading Lauren’s Frank Talk below!
What was your first job in the Arts?
At the slide library in college. A job that doesn’t even exist anymore! We would pull slides for professors and put together their slide carousels for lectures. One of my jobs was to expand certain areas of the collection, so I would go to the library and browse the art section. I vividly remember finding Phaidon’s Cream catalog in the library, opening it and seeing an image of a Vanessa Beecroft performance. It totally changed my references for the art I knew and cemented my interest in a career in the arts.
What do you do now?
I own a gallery in Chinatown, Marinaro.
Where are you from?
Eastern Long Island.
What is the arts community like there?
Fairly non-existent. I took art classes outside of school in middle school. I took art practice classes in high school and went to some museums in the city, but my exposure to art was limited.
What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?
Go to as much as you can when you are starting out. See lots of shows, go to openings, go to benefits if you’re asked to. The people you meet at these events often become friends and indispensable resources for questions and collaboration in the future.
What is one of your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
Not getting laid off in 2008 at Zach Feuer Gallery. Getting to stay at the gallery allowed me exposure to all aspects of the business and led me to where I am today. I’ll always be grateful for my experience there.
What has been a challenge for you?
Letting go of certain things and not having to do everything. Best advice I received as I moved up in positions is if someone can do something 80% as well as you can, let them.
What is one of the weirdest things you have had to do on the job in your career?
There are so many things. But the one a lot of people who know me would reference is that I had to empty a pit filled with non-art related wheelchairs from the basement of the gallery.
What defines a good employee? What defines a good boss?
Be willing to do everything! Most small and mid-sized galleries require you to be everything from curator to salesperson to handyman to art handler. Have pride in all of the work and tasks you are asked to do, it makes a difference and people notice. That being said, if you’re overwhelmed, speak up and make suggestions as to what might be a better way to distribute tasks.
A good boss allows employees to work autonomously on the tasks the employee is responsible for while also providing support and answering questions if needed. They allow employees to grow in their role and create an environment where staff feels appreciated and part of a team.
What do you think makes a person hirable?
Enthusiasm, a good reference, and being prepared for an interview.
What is your advice to making yourself stand out in your workplace? Any good tips for a giving a great interview?
Doing jobs well always makes you stand out, whether it’s formatting a sign or making a sale. People who give great interviews have researched the place they are interviewing at and know what they do, who they work with and understand the basic functions.
What is the best exhibition you have seen in the last year?
I loved the Peter Saul show at the New Museum because it completely changed the way I think about and frame his work. The largest work in the show, Subway, is from 1979 and feels so relevant today between police reform, problems with the MTA and the ongoing issues of racial prejudices in America. The whole show blew me away in how his past and current work continues to be so relevant and reflective of these moments in time.
If you could own a work by 5 different artists, who would be in your collection?
Cory Archangel, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Budd Hopkins, An 18th c. lover’s eye miniature, Gordon Parks.
Have you seen any virtual exhibitions recently that you would like to comment on?
David Zwirner currently has an online exhibition called “New Visions: After De Keyser” in conjunction with their De Keyser show in Hong Kong. It groups together a number of artists who were influenced by his work, including Ridley Howard, who I show. The website is a great mix of artwork images and texts about the artists’ studio practices and insight into how they make work. I really enjoyed navigating through.
What artwork is in your home office?
My home office is my dining table, so it’s all the works in the room, including Gavin Turk, Nicholas Buffon, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Jesse Stecklow, Otto Gillen, Mark Flood, Daniel Gordon, Jessie Stead, Genesis Belanger, Elizabeth Jaeger and Peter Shire among others.
What is your go to snack in quarantine?
I’m not a big snack person, but my go to meal was definitely egg sandwiches. I spent some time trying to nail the Long Island style egg sandwich.