Meet The Committee: Shaun Caley Regen

The founder of Regen Projects discusses her ambitous gallery program and why Los Angeles is a unique art capital

Andy Rementer, illustration of Regen Projects, Los Angeles. Courtesy: the artist

What was your first encounter with art?

I had many formative encounters with art as a child. But the most life changing moments were in New York City in the late 1970s/early ’80s, while I was a student at Barnard, and having access to its many museums and galleries. 

How would you describe your program today?

Ambitious. Each and every artist in our program has risen to the occasion to present thoughtful, provocative, and sensational shows. The past few — from Dan Graham’s ‘New Works By A Small Town Boy’, to Lari Pittman’s exquisite ‘Portraits of Textiles and Portraits of Humans’, to Tavares Strachan’s ‘Invisibles’ — a very epic, brilliant, and dramatic exhibition, attest to that. Our program is continuing to evolve, and I look forward to presenting solo exhibitions in 2019 by Silke Otto-Knapp, Christina Quarles, and Alex Hubbard, all of whom have recently joined the gallery. Overall I think it is about a vision that every artist has singularly and that we would like to share. I would say that everything is content driven. 

What’s been a significant moment in the gallery’s development?

There have been many significant chapters over the course of Regen Projects’s history, but I think that relocating to Hollywood allowed us to grow both literally and metaphorically in unprecedented ways. 

Where is the gallery based today? 

The gallery is currently located in the Hollywood media district, at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Highland Avenue. The neighborhood feels like the crossroads of the city, a bit like where the west meets the east. I have always been intrigued by its unique history – Tangerine (2015) was filmed here and Philip-Lorca diCorcia shot his ‘Hustlers’ series along the boulevard in the early ‘90s. Previously, the neighborhood housed many film studios and post-production companies, so the architecture of the buildings allowed for ideal spaces in which to show art. 

What do you hope Frieze will contribute to the city’s art scene?

I hope the fair will bring a new and expanded audience of international collectors, curators, and critics to the city, and that everyone who comes will enjoy L.A.

What part of ‘Frieze Week’ are you most looking forward to?

It will be an honor to present an exhibition at the gallery in Hollywood by Glenn Ligon, whom we have worked with since 2004. He will be unveiling his newest ‘Debris Field’ series, as well as new neon works. To mark the opening of Frieze, on Wednesday, February 13th we will host a conversation at the gallery between Glenn and Hamza Walker Executive Director of LAXART and Curator of Frieze Talks and Music. 

If someone had never acquired art before but wanted to start, what would you advise them?

Be engaged. See as many shows as possible, attend talks, performances, and screenings, and develop relationships with dealers, artists, curators, and art world professionals. Take the time to learn about artists and their practice in depth. Allow the work to speak to you and let yourself be challenged by difficult art. 

What’s the best thing about your job? 

I love my job when I can make great things happen, whether it be through a museum acquisition, advising a collector who is assembling a collection, supporting an artist in a project, or introducing an artist’s work to critics. 

What would you do if you weren’t a gallerist?

In a past life I was an arts writer, and also served as a contributing editor to Harper’s Bazaar in the ’90s. I once had ambitions of being a novelist. 

What makes L.A. unique among art capitals?

L.A. is a unique art capital due to its many terrific art schools, world class cultural institutions, artists, and galleries. The sheer number of visual artists, actors, architects, writers, dancers, musicians, poets, filmmakers, chefs, and other creative professionals who call this city home make it a very vibrant cultural space in which to live and create. 

The 70 galleries at Frieze Los Angeles have been invited by a selection committee of peers, including Mara McCarthy, David Kordansky and Shaun Regen among others. For Frieze Week magazine, we spoke to them about the LA art scene and what they’re looking forward to at the fair.

For more information on Frieze Los Angeles admission and tour tickets, please visit our ticket pages.

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