Kenny Schachter

KENNY SCHACHTER

INTRODUCTION

Kenny Schachter has been curating contemporary art exhibits in museums and galleries and teaching art history and economics for nearly 30 years. He has lectured internationally and contributed to books on Paul Thek, Zaha Hadid, Vito Acconci and Sigmar Polke/Gerhard Richter. He regularly writes on Artnet.com where he writes critiques on various topics in the art world from Da Vinci's Salvador Mundi to the shamed art dealer Inigo Philbrick. He's not afraid to say whats on his mind resulting in a  scathingly honest and entertaining column. 

 

He had a retrospective of his art at Joel Mesler’s Rental Gallery in New York in the summer of 2018, curated an exhibit at Simon Lee Gallery in London in fall 2018 and had a one-person show at Kantor Gallery, LA, in February 2019. Schachter has been profiled in The New York Times Magazine (cover story, September 1996), and London’s Observer, Independent and Telegraph. He deals in international art from Impressionist and Modernism to the art and design of today. Recently, he has dived into he world of NFT's, creating his own collection.  

Kenny Schachter
INTERVIEW

How did art first enter your life, what is your earliest memory of art?  

When I pooped on the floor accidentally at 5 years-old? I never went to a museum till university or even knew galleries existed till I was nearly 27, my family had 0 art exposure. But for some odd reason my mom had a 1968 Peter Blake print on aluminum, Babe Rainbow, hanging in her bathroom from that period. I didn’t know it was art and I didn’t know it wasn’t. But it stuck. 

Peter Blake Babe Rainbow

Was there a specific moment you knew that you wanted a career in art, was this in the form of an art dealer or artist?

In 1988 during Warhol’s estate sale at Sotheby’s, when the auction house was gearing up for a subsequent contemporary art auction in the basement. Prior thereto, I had no notion art could be bought and sold. Like an idiot-idiot savant, I thought it went from the studio to the museum. At that very moment I realized I wanted a life in art—in any capacity!

You’ve been in the art world for many years, what have been the major shifts/changes socially and economically that you've noticed?

More people, more spaces, more money; and, especially technology, namely Instagram and NFTism—expanding access and transactability.

Peter Blake, Babe Rainbow, 1968

I’ve read that you’ve been creating digital art for 30 years, how did that start?

I was simply drawn to that which was unfolding around me in real time, economically, socially, politically and technologically—especially the way computers could be employed within the processes I use to make stuff.

Who have been your main influences and why?

Vito Acconci who masturbated under a floor in a gallery and called it art, mainly for the fact that that act really drove home the notion that the possibilities within art were indeed without boundaries. And Paul Thek and Zaha Hadid for their herculean and relentless work ethic. Paul Thek made fake slabs of flesh in the 1960s that incomparably enumerated the fragility and vulnerability of life, which at the same time appeared both disgusting and gorgeous. A perfectly fine line never approximated since.

Kenny Schachter

Courtesy of Kenny Schachter

Recently you’ve been very vocal about NFT’s, they have divided opinion in the art world, what are the benefits?

An entirely new audience (of tech investors and digital natives) to experience, enjoy and own art.

Where do you see yourself in contemporary art, how do you want to be remembered?

As someone that cared and shared: a life lived making, writing and teaching.

Kenny Schachter

Courtesy of Kenny Schachter

What's next for you in 2021. Music career?

Ha. What I love about my life is that I have never done the same thing two days in a row…ever. And, as far as exactly what’s next, I honestly have no idea other than it will be art, art, art!