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Lawrence van Hagen & His Top Picks from ASIA NOW 2017

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Lawrence van Hagen & His Top Picks from ASIA NOW 2017
Lawrence van Hagen - International Art Dealer & Curator. Image Courtesy of Lawrence van Hagen.

On the occasion of ASIA NOW 2017, we chat with international art dealer and curator Lawrence Van Hagen about his top picks from the boutique Paris fair, and his series of 'What's Up' exhibitions presented around the world. The son of avid art collectors, Van Hagen runs the art advisory LVH ART with his mother, Susanne van Hagen. Keep reading to find out more about his upcoming plans and his favorite art destinations! 

ASIA NOW 2017. 
Image Courtesy of Lawrence van Hagen. 

You grew up surrounded by art, and that has clearly influenced your choice in career. How do you think this has shaped your perspective and your approach as an art dealer? Was it always a clear path for you? 

Yes, I did grow up surrounded by art: my mother has always worked in the arts and also runs her own foundation. She educated me in how to look at art since I was a child, and the walls of our homes were always covered in pictures. For me, collecting started as a hobby, something that just came natural. I am first and foremost an art lover. I studied computer science at university and went on to work in tech: as a side project I decided to start curating exhibitions, which I called ‘What’s Up’. The first one went really well, so I chose to carry on and make it my main focus, placing young artists with more established ones together to present my own take on what is interesting in art today. 

 

You presented the first of your 'What’s Up' exhibitions last year, showcasing 50 contemporary artists. What inspired you to create this exhibition concept? 

The concept behind ‘What’s Up’ developed organically out of my passion for art. I was working in tech, and wanted a more creative output, so I chose to showcase artists that either my friends and family or I collect, with the firm belief that they are the real big names of the future. The first show took place over two large spaces in Soho in 2016. I presented works by Sterling Ruby, Mark Flood, Brian Calvin, Katherine Bernhardt, and many others. It went so well that I decided to curate a second and third show in London, and then expanded to New York and am now planning my first Hong Kong exhibition.  

What is your criteria for selecting artists for these exhibitions?

First and foremost I choose artists that I personally like: I’m extremely diligent in looking at including works which I feel a personal connection with, and when looking at emerging artists, I try and look at their future projects taking into account the collections they are in, their future shows and the quality of their work.When I look at an older generation of artists, I look for both very institutional artists and those who are on the brink of being rediscovered. 

 

In your 'What’s Up' exhibitions, you combine the works of emerging artists with well established artists; could you elaborate on the rationale behind this? 

My clients are of all ages and collect a wide spectrum of artists, so my logic is that of introducing a younger generation of artists to more established collectors and vice-versa. My ‘What’s Up’ show in New York this May focused on creating dialogues between emerging artists and more institutional names. For example: John Chamberlain and Ernesto Burgos, Larry Bell and Martin Basher, Raymond Pettibon and Rinus van De Velde, Cindy Sherman and Alex Prager. This method seems to work, as younger artists love being shown next to masters as it gives them an even greater status, and established artists enjoy it as it keeps them current. My choice of works and artists is not defined by popularity, price and medium but more by what I believe people should look out for.

Your recent 'What’s Up' exhibition New York last May involved artists working in Virtual Reality. What are your thoughts on the current relationship between art and technology, and how do you see this changing in the future? 

I believe in art being immersive and creating all-enveloping experiences for viewers. VR is a perfect way of combining tech and art together and get people interested in it. I hope to be able to create virtual what’s up exhibitions, with the potential of clients around the world having the possibility of visiting the exhibitions as if they were there. I believe selling art online is still very hard and near to impossible as one does not see the true beauty of an artwork online. It is a great focus of mine to develop this concept further using VR, and look forward to meeting VR artists as my focus has been very fine art driven up to now but I am very keen to change this.

 

Your Instagram account features your extensive art travels and exhibitions that you've attended; How do you think Instagram and social media has changed art and the art market? What are some of the pros and cons?

I have two public accounts, @lvhart and @lawrencevh. @Lawrencevh is more of a personal account showcasing where I go and what I like in terms of art and travel, while @lvhart tries to be more focused on presenting the exhibitions and artists I show. I think social media is a great platform not only to promote the exhibitions I curate but also to showcase artists and their works extensively to all my followers: social media has made people more aware of what is going on and has helped get people more involved in the arts. I’ve noticed how fairs, art galleries and museums have become very popular and fashionable, but I think serious collectors are very discreet on what they buy and show: people might post works of art but I highly doubt they are showcasing their own collections. I for one never show what I collect on my accounts, however I might show an artist I collect or like. The greatest con of art on Instagram is that one will not get the same experience of viewing an exhibition online as seeing it in person. Having said that, it remains a very good tool to research artists and discover new things – I use it extensively to source artists for my next shows.

 

What projects do you have coming up over the next year? Any plans to bring 'What’s Up' to new locations?

The goal is to have three shows a year, New York, London and Hong Kong with some smaller projects on the side. I will be curating an auction of Paddle 8 showcasing some of the What’s Up artists from the last four shows, and the next What’s Up show will be in Hong Kong during Art Basel, followed by What’s Up in New York. I look forward to showing in Hong Kong and presenting both very institutional artists and introducing more contemporary ones to the Asian art scene. That show will have an Asian inspired focus.

 

What are some of your favourite art destinations around the world?

A recent discovery is Casa Wabi -  Bosco Sodi’s studio/residence built by Tadao Ando, in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Art Basel Hong Kong to me is an extremely dynamic fair and commands a huge amount of curiosity, which I love. The Venice Biennale of course, with the city working as the most stunning backdrop to some of the best artists showcasing some of their best works. I look at Berlin a lot, because of its brilliant galleries and for the unparalleled access to great artists who are keen to show their works and open their studios for you. Finally, for me London, with its amazing museums, its galleries which present outstanding shows, and its network of amazing collectors, remains one of the world’s unparalleled capitals of art. 

 

 

Lawrence's Picks from ASIA NOW 2017, Paris

Installation view of ASIA NOW 2017. 

Image Courtesy of Lawrence van Hagen. 

Oil on canvas works by Joseph Choi. GALLERY SU: booth B111.
Image Courtesy of Lawrence van Hagen. 

Chung Chi Yung. L: Untitled 170926B and R: Untitled 170926A. Oil on canvas. 
Image Courtesy of Lawrence van Hagen. 

'Lumière de 17 h' (2017)by Min Jung-Yeon. 30x40 cm, acrylic on canvas.
Image Courtesy of Lawrence van Hagen. 

Cai Lei 'Unfinished Home 170707' (2017) by Cai Lei, Cement 85x51x3 cm.

Image Courtesy of Lawrence van Hagen. 

Detailed shot from 'Dainty and Delicate' (2017) by Marina Cruz.Oil on canvas. 203.2 x 152.4 cm.
Image Courtesy of Lawrence van Hagen. 


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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