Pauli Ochi caught up with Simmy Swinder, who recently curated Maroon Belles, which opened August 16th. The show features works by Amanda Charchian, Kathryn Garcia, Ariel Herwitz, Dwyer Kilcollin, Allie Pohl, Lisa Solberg and Lola Rose Thompson. According to the press release, “the exhibition is premised not along traditional curatorial themes but instead on evoking certain energy, found in the friendship between the curator and the artists, the intentions, coincidences, and perspectives with which the works were made, and the moment all elements come to fruition.” Intrigued by the nebulous, yet incredibly seductive language used in this description, Pauli reached out to Simmy to learn more about the show.
Tell me about yourself. How did you get into the art business and what do you enjoy most about curating?
I’ve studied Art History formally since I attended Cleveland Humanities Magnet and then again at UC Berkeley. I decided to learn the business aspects through the Art Business masters at the Sotheby’s Institute in New York, which catapulted my professional life. What I enjoy most about curating is making aesthetic judgments and collaborating with artists.
How did you come up with the title for this show?
I was in Aspen, Colorado for Art Crush and hiking daily. One of these hikes was at the Maroon Bells, a set of beautiful mountains overlooking a lake. Since my show consisted of all women, I decided to change Bells to Belles.
You discuss a kind of camaraderie among all of the artists included in the exhibition. Can you talk a bit more about that?
The space I run will be occupied by foreign galleries from September 2014 – December 2015, if not longer. While having lunch with one of the artists in the show, it dawned upon me that I might not have the opportunity to curate the space after this summer. So I decided to contact my closest girl friends in LA, who happen to be artists, and whip up a show. I wanted it to be fun, carefree, and have an energy that encapsulated my personal relationship with each and everyone of them.
So it was intentional that the show includes only women?
Yes! I wanted positive female healing vibes.
Any favorite moments in putting the exhibition together?
The studio visits were the best part. Since I know every artist and their practice very well, we spent 10% of the time choosing the work and 90% talking about life in general.
What are some of your favorite places to see art in LA?
The galleries in my neighborhood (Mid-City) are among my favorite in LA. They include Michael Thibault, Kayne Griffin Corcoran, the Underground Museum, and very soon, David Kordansky.
The show is only up through September 20th, so hurry up and go check it out. The space is open by appointment only. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. 4619 W Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016
Images courtesy of the artists