Amanda L. Uribe – Founder, LatchKey Gallery


Amanda L. Uribe - Founder, LatchKey Gallery

Founder of LatchKey Gallery, Amanda L. Uribe focuses on guiding emerging and mid-career artists—growing their collector base to include private and institutional collections. She has worked with numerous contemporary art galleries developing their program and curatorial approach.

Prior to returning to New York City in 2011, Uribe worked with the Peruvian government to bridge education and national museums. Her goal was to use art education, practice and appreciation to  forge a stronger sense of cultural identity and empower younger generations in the rich history of the country. Working with universities, archeological sites and notable museums such as Museo de Arte, Lima and Museo Larco, Uribe was awarded a Diploma of Honor by Peru’s Ministry of Education in 2010.

Uribe holds an MA in Modern and Contemporary Art from Manchester University/Sotheby’s Institute, London. She currently serves on committees for numerous non-profit organizations, and is part of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Friends, a group of thoughtful and serious arts patrons committed to supporting contemporary visual and performing artists. The group funds one prestigious Grants to Artists award each year and directly selects the recipient of the FCA Friends Award.

AF: Hi Amanda! We are so excited to chat with you, we are big fans of you and your gallery. To start this interview off, we would love to know more about your upbringing. Where are you from and what’s the arts community like there? 

AU:  Growing up, we moved around quite a bit – so much that I used to say “My parents think they are nomads” – we settled in Locust Valley, NY when I was around 14. That is where I think of when I’m nostalgic for “home”. 
If I think about my arts community – my family is the most influential – I had an Aunt who brought me to Lincoln Center to see at least one Opera, Ballet and Symphony a year – my grandmother who was a performer (she had a TV show in Peru where my family is from ). An Aunt who played the guitar at family gatherings where there was a lot of off-key singing and memories of my grandfather playing the spoons. Of course, my mother had the biggest influence. She brought me to countless museums. I laugh when I think about our trip to Paris for my 16th birthday. I had a meltdown over all the museums she made me visit –  I wanted to see fashion, models and go shopping. I believe that trip super charged my interest in art – I had always been curious and interested, but understanding history – psychology – sociology – science – politics could all be uncovered and understood within a work of art – it became a passion to know and learn more. 

The beautiful thing about this gallery is that it really feels like an opportunity. My family is full of people who surround themselves with the arts, but I am the first to really indulge in the passion. 

AF: What was your first ever job? What did you learn from this experience? 

AU:  My first job was in High School at a clothing store in Locust Valley – it taught me that I can’t work in fashion – I never got an actual paycheck since I preferred new clothes over a check.
In all honesty, I saw first hand the value of hard work from seeing my family – I grew up very close to my Mom’s side who has 3 sisters – they all instilled different values in their work ethic that I am very proud and appreciative of. 

AF: You are the founder of LatchKey Gallery! Tell us more about this project and what led you to starting your own gallery?  

AU:  LKG just started its 7th year – an unbelievable feat. It originated as friends not being given opportunities and me saying “fuck it, I’ll just do it”. We opened as a nomadic gallery and inevitably grew into a sedentary space  (173 Henry Street ). Both iterations have had its challenges, but I love having a home base and Henry Street is a wonderful & supportive community. 

AF: What does your daily routine look like, and what’s something you hope you can do more of in the coming year? 

AU:  Unfortunately, I sleep with my phone right next to me which means the first thing I do is – turn on NPR, read emails, scroll through instagram, and answer texts. It’s a terrible habit that I am desperate to break – I’ve recently made more of an effort to listen to podcasts or audio books. I am an auditory learner, and I’m grateful this format is more popular than when I was younger.

AF: Let’s share the love! Who are 3 galleries that you are loving right now? 

AU:  I have so many – what I call – gallery crushes but I applaud these ladies:

Rachel Uffner Gallery has been a long love – great program – consistent roster – she is just a badass in my opinion. 56 Henry – another rockstar lady driving that one and there are so many “younger galleries” with woman leading the charge – I have to add a few more, Deanna Evens Projects, Dinner Gallery, Cierra Britton , all in NY, Septieme in Paris/Cotonou – Red Arrow, Nashville, TN, New Collectors down the block from me…the list goes on…

AF: 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? 

AU:  It is an ecosystem that works best if we all support each other – it is a win/win when galleries work together to support an artist – when older galleries support younger ones – extending knowledge and sharing in experiences can only help build a stronger system. 

I have been very fortunate to have been guided and supported through the years and do my best to continue in that tradition.

AF: How do you think the art world can become more transparent? 

AU:  Oye – the elusive question of the artworld. I think the opaqueness of the art world is part of its magnetism. That said, royalties to artists/galleries on pieces that exchange hands would be an invaluable resource to an ecosystem that seems to gorge the tertiary – risking the starvation of the producer. BUT, art (and the art world) is a representation of our time.

AF: What is one Art Industry (or career) resource you love that is accessible to all? 

AU: Art Frankly of course! And a plethora of Podcasts – aside from all the art-centric programs, I am currently hooked on Philosophize This!

AF: Is there anything we can look forward to for LatchKey or other projects in the coming months or year? 

AU:   I am super excited for 2024 – we have partnered with CALA Arts in Arizona and are working closely to present a solo exhibition by their recent alumni, Alejandro Macias – the exhibition opens February 23rd.Every semester I open the gallery to a class of MFA students from the School of Visual Arts – I work with artist/professor Jim Clark to teach the students essential business practices – consignment agreements, what to ask for and expect from a gallery, the importance of networking – all the essentials.. We review their studios, select works for an exhibition and guide them through the process of putting a show – I try to give them as many tools as possible so they are ready for what is to come.

I’m also looking forward to Moises Salazar’s and Luis Sahagun’s solo presentations, both of whom incorporate Pre-Columbian cultures in their work. A period in history that interests me greatly, and which I’ve incurred a ridiculous amount of knowledge about from working at Museo Larco in Peru. 

AF: Thank you, Amanda, 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? 

AU: The first painting I fell in love with ( I was around 7 ) is Jean-Léon Gérôme‘s Pygmalion and Galatea at the Met. It was always and still is the first stop when I visit the museum – I love how over the years my perspective of the mythology it portrays has changed. A Huaco Retrato from the Moche Civilization – specifically one from the Larco collection – he is so handsome.  Any Rothko – I’m not picky. Same for Cecily Brown, William Kentridge and Frida!

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