Silke Lindner, born in Rendsburg, Germany, is based in New York where she opened her gallery in TriBeCa this October. Previously, she was the director at Jack Hanley Gallery and before that worked at Clifton Benevento where she transitioned from intern to Associate Director. She organized various group and solo exhibitions in New York and received a B.A. in Art History and Italian from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany.
First thing’s first, we want to know more about your upbringing. Where are you from and what’s the arts community like there?
I grew up in a smalltown in northern Germany with not much of an arts community. There was a small music scene but no visual arts. I first learned about art when I discovered the art book section in the public library where I used to spend an hour after school waiting for the bus. That’s when I became really interested in art history and obsessed with Andy Warhol.
How do you feel as though your upbringing shaped what you do in the arts today?
I’m not sure exactly since my upbringing was completely different from what I do now. I did have a great art teacher though who was always very supportive of me and encouraged me to transfer to a different school in the next larger city, Kiel, with a focus on arts and music, which I did for the last two years of high school. When I was eighteen I saw Nan Goldin’s Ballad of Sexual Dependency for the first time which blew my mind and still does. That’s when I knew I wanted to work in contemporary arts and I actually briefly worked for her a few years ago.
What was your first job? What was the most important thing that you learned from this experience?
My first job was wrapping Christmas gifts at a toy store and my first job in the arts was at Clifton Benevento in New York. They sponsored my work visa (twice) and really made it possible for me to set foot in New York which I’m still very grateful for. It was a small gallery and one of the first ones to show Michael E. Smith, Wu Tsang or Gina Beavers. I learned a lot from them, how to navigate the New York art world and about all the aspects of running a gallery.
You recently inaugurated your TriBeCa gallery, Silke Lindner (congrats!). Tell us more about this project and what led you to starting your own gallery?
Thank you! The main motivation of opening my own gallery was to be able to give a platform to the artists I believe in and to support their careers. I’ve always loved sharing with others what I am excited about and having a designated space to do just that is a dream come true. The program is focused on emerging artists and besides that I refrain from narrowing it down to any stance or direction which would only be limiting. I’m not starting out with a roster of artists but might revisit this a little further into the program.
Your first show at Silke Lindner is titled JUNK IS NO GOOD BABY, and exhibits work by four artists. Tell us about how this show came together.
I had the idea for the show earlier this year when I read Brion Gysin’s poetry collection ‘Permutations’ which I was really into. The poems are all written in the technique of the ‘cut-up method’, a written collage system that exhaustively rearranges orders of sentences and phrases. I saw parallels to the four artists whose work I’ve followed and admired for a while, Justin Chance, Nina Hartmann, Lyric Shen and Mike Yaniro. Through a lens of language, their works layer images and information of various cultural references into their own. Through techniques of collage, image transfer and drawing, they’ve developed new ways of image making, question hierarchies and suggest new semantic systems. Lyric Shen and Nina Hartmann will also have solo exhibitions at the gallery next year, so it seemed like a good opportunity to introduce their work.
What does your daily routine look like, and what’s something you hope you can do more of in the coming year?
Lots of coffee is my only daily routine. For the coming year I’m just looking forward to spending more time at the gallery, working on shows and developing the program. Also, I want to get back into more running and maybe train for a marathon. Maybe.
As you know, Art Frankly is a community that cares about job transparency and supporting fellow art professionals. What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?
Work hard and don’t let inflated egos discourage you along the way.
How do you think the art world can become more transparent?
I think the first step to more transparency is more inclusiveness. Create an environment where people don’t feel intimidated to ask questions, whether it’s about work, prices or how things work generally. The art world should be accessible to anyone and not present itself as some secret society or elite club.
Is there anything we can look forward to for Silke Lindner Gallery in the coming months or year?
Every single show! I’m so excited for the 2023 lineup of exhibitions and feel honored that all these brilliant artists are going to do shows with me.
Well thank you Silke for participating in Frank Talks, it has been our pleasure! To finish off, we’re curious: If you could own work by 5 different artists/craftspeople, who would be in your collection?
All the artists I have scheduled shows with and besides that: Lewis Hammond, Nan Goldin, Megan Marrin, Hervé Guibert, Chelsea Culprit