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Interview: Shasha Tittmann on Her Perspectives on the Asian Art Market

ByJenevieve Kok
Interview: Shasha Tittmann on Her Perspectives on the Asian Art Market

Shasha Tittmann, Director at Lehmann Maupin with artist McArthur Binion at Lehmann Maupin Seoul.

Shasha Tittmann is the Director of the internationally renowned gallery Lehmann Maupin. The gallery was founded by Rachel Lehmann and David Maupin 1996, and they represent a diverse range of contemporary artists and estates from around the world. Since its inception, Lehmann Maupin has been instrumental in introducing international artists to new geographies. This mission has resulted in historic first exhibitions in New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul. The gallery opened its newest location in London in October 2020. Shasha has been managing the gallery's branch in Hong Kong since 2017 and focuses on working with collectors and institutions in Asia. She has held positions at Tang Contemporary Art (Hong Kong and Beijing) and Opera Gallery (Hong Kong). She earned a Bachelor of Arts in art history from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. 

This week, The Artling had the opportunity to speak to Shasha about her experience as a gallerist and her perspectives on the future of the art market in Asia. 

"DNA:Study/(Visual:Ear)" by McArthur Binion, 2022, ink, oil paint stick, and paper on board, 213.4 x 213.4 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London.

There is much excitement about art-world 'reunion's at some of the upcoming art fairs - what have you missed the most and what are you most looking forward to? 

I have really missed the energy of an international art fair in Asia! While fairs have persevered in Asia despite the pandemic, we saw mostly domestic audiences and adapted our strategy given the travel restrictions. Frieze Seoul is the first major Asian fair where international travelers can come - it's a big moment for us since we recently expanded our gallery space in the Hannam-dong neighborhood. I am really looking forward to seeing this week become a major moment for Seoul on the international stage. 

"Quarantine, 2020-2021" by Marilyn Minter, enamel on metal, 91.4 x 61 cm. Courtesy of the artist, LGDR, New York, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong and Seoul, and Baldwin Gallery, Aspen.

What do you have in store for Frieze in Seoul? How does the programming in Seoul differ from that of the New York and London galleries?

Coinciding with Frieze Seoul with highlights of new work by Lee Bul, Nari Ward, Marilyn Minter - we are also debuting a major new “Hub" installation by Do Ho Suh at the booth, as well as a new sculpture by Erwin Wurm via augmented reality through our CollectAR platform. I'm really excited about this project as it is an opportunity to preview a work that is still a work in progress at the studio, almost as if in real life (and scale). At our newly expanded gallery space, Lehmann Maupin will have a solo exhibition of American artist McArthur Binion featuring new work from his DNA:Study/(Visual:Ear) series. 

For 25 years, Lehmann Maupin has worked to show artists for the first time in new geographies—New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, and even at our pop up spaces in Taipei, Aspen, and Palm Beach. Our Seoul gallery has recently introduced artists Liza Lou, Cecilia Vicuña, Chantal Joffe, McArthur Binion, Nari Ward, Mandy El-Sayegh, to Korea for the first time. Looking ahead, we have an upcoming exhibition with Mandy El-Sayegh where she is developing work to show alongside a Korean artist—this is the kind of cultural exchange that represents where the world is going. 

"Hub-1, Kitchen Lobby, 185 Comptons Lane, Horsham, United Kingdom" by Do Ho Suh, 2020, polyester fabric and stainless steel, 267.4 x 202.5 x 436.3 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London.

What has changed for you as a gallerist over the last few years? What are some of the positive outcomes?

The world was forced to shift and adapt in so many ways at the same time. It wasn't easy of course. The pandemic forced us to view the market landscape differently and adapt our business accordingly - this accelerated the need to do pop-ups and expand our digital presence, and embrace technology. It was an opportunity to experiment outside the traditional gallery model, and some very interesting projects are coming out of it including more work with museum shows. 

What is your outlook for South East Asia and have you seen a shift in collector interests? 

I'm really excited about the future of South East Asia. The collectors are there, the appetite is there, and it is diversifying very quickly. There are already very sophisticated contemporary art collections that are private. It is only a matter of time before there are more museums and galleries to bridge the gap between private and public spaces in the region. ArtSG in January will bring a lot of a highly diverse art market to surface and a chance to see more international players there.

"Moll by the Ouse" by Chantal Joffe, 2017, oil on board, 35.5 x 28 x 1 cm. Courtesy the artist, Victoria Miro, and Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong, Seoul.

Tell us about some of the interesting young names in your programme that we should be keeping an eye on.

At Frieze Seoul, we are showing new work by Tammy Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American artist who explores the geopolitics of lesser-known histories in painting and print. We also have works by young artists Dominic Chambers and Mandy El-Sayegh, who already have developed quite a following in the region; alongside works by more established ones like McArthur Binion, Heidi Bucher, and David Salle. There is also a beautiful new work by Robin Rhode titled "Paper Planes" that I'm really excited to see - his show at Voorlinden Museum last year was not-to-miss.

Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

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