Phillida Reid and David Southard talk about participating in Frieze New York
How did you come to work together?
Mostly through friendship, a significant part of which was forged by a shared sensibility about art and artists.
Are there any other dealer partnerships you looked to for inspiration? Or any galleries that have influenced your approach?
Not particularly, in terms of partnerships, although in principle they always seemed a good idea for comparing and pooling ideas and advice. There are always galleries and styles that you admire – in no particular order: Cabinet, Michele Maccarone, Gavin Brown, Thomas Dane, Buchholz, Greene Naftali, White Columns, Rodeo – but direct influences, not really.
The gallery is based on a mews in Soho - what drew you to that area of London?
It was somewhere many people are fond of, generally as a sociable place and not only an ‘art’ area, and central, so perhaps it softens that sense of destination that can be a deterrent to the experience of visiting galleries. It also wasn’t blue-chip Mayfair, which wasn’t an option but not right for us anyway. Also we had some luck with being offered opportunities of spaces there, for various reasons, so had the naturalism of having fallen in to place.
How would you describe the gallery’s programme - is there any ethos or approach which unites the artists you work with?
There’s possibly an element of emotion, emotional spirit that is similar, across the different practices – as time goes on there are some interesting parallels and pursuits formally that have emerged, which is nice and makes compatible sense.
What can you tell us about what you’ll be bringing to Frame at Frieze New York?
We’re showing an installation by Lea Cetera, called Threshold, where a pre-shot performance work – basically a comically toned conversation between two figures about art, making it, installing it, commenting on it, critiquing it – is projected across and through sculptures on the booth, on to the corner walls. The projected figures are life-size, so comingle with visitors, and the sculptures all reference familiar architecture, design and objects, like props from everyday life.
In some of your presentations at previous editions of Frieze, you’ve made quite distinctive statements - I’m thinking of Prem Sahib’s plain, cuboid form made to the dimensions of his teenage bedroom, or the Live performance by Edward Thomasson & Lucy Beech. What would you say is the role that international art fairs play for a gallery like Southard Reid?
Really just as another exhibiting platform, we enjoy embracing the constrictions and have some fun / risk with it as well, further the showing of an aspect of the artist’s practice in as strong a way as possible. Maybe in a way that wouldn’t be so suited to happening in a gallery. Fairs are so intensely communicative as spaces, with the degree of traffic, is satisfying to connect artist’s work with people swiftly.
What else is on your itinerary for the week in New York?
Tickets for Frieze New York 2017 are available here.
Main image: Lea Cetera, Threshold, 2017, mixed media, dimensions variable; partial installation view. Courtesy: the artist and Southard Reid, London; photograph: Ernst Fischer