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The Hot Seat

Andrew Klug
New Yorks 1500 Gallery has been representing Brazilian photographers since 2010. Claire Rigby caught up with its coowner Andrew Klug at Septembers SP-Arte/Foto
Youre one of just two foreign galleries at SP-Foto. What brings you here? This is one of the main fairs of the year for us, because its the largest one in Latin America. Theres a potential goldmine of photography talent here thats completely unknown to the rest of the world; but at the same time, we also want to bring other artists, international artists, here to complement our New York gallery with a gallery in Brazil. We hope to leverage the potential opportunities that result from the differences of the two markets. With the photographers you represent at the gallery, is Brazilian-ness an important factor is there a recognisable school of Brazilian photography? Well, with artists like Bruno Cals, Is there a lot of appetite in New York for Brazilian photography? Of the people who come to our gallery, only a small percentage are Brazilophiles most people come because it sounds interesting, and then they connect with the work. Here, some of the works go for astronomical sums because the market appreciates them; but we brought some works by Rio Branco and Cravo Neto to the Pinta art fair in New York, and they didnt sell. People dont know them. You can get a Mapplethorpe for US$10,000, so why would you spend US$50,000 on a Rio Branco, who you dont know? And yet does the fact of your being a New York gallery create high expectations amongst artists here? Yes. We systematically have to tell them to tone down their expectations price-wise in New York. We charge slightly lower prices there than we do here in So Paulo. First of all, the currency is very strong. So if you take your Brazilian prices and translate them into dollars, that would give you an over-valued price to begin with. On top of that, you have to take into account that the demand there is not the same as here. This

theres nothing especially Brazilian about his work its architectural photography. But there is a kind of school of Brazilian photography that was pioneered by two artists Mario Cravo Neto and Miguel Rio Branco. Their styles are quite similar they deal with a lot of themes like macumba and candombl, and street scenes in Bahia poverty and favelas. Their style visually is quite dark: some saturated colours, lots of shadows. It has been an inspiration for new generations of young Brazilian photographers people like Julio Bittencourt, whose work has a dark, very gritty, shadowy feel to it.

is a booming market; the US is recessionary. If I was using New York language, I would say, Dont price for 2007. So how has it been going here at the art fair? Weve been selling faster than we can register sales. And whos buying? Theyre paulistanos all people that I would describe as collectors. This is your first time in So Paulo how have you found it? I think for many people who havent been here before, its a surprise to

find it such an amazingly developed and sophisticated city. But then Brazil itself is a surprise to people. People in the US and Europe have no idea theyve heard that Brazils economy is doing well, but to come down here and realise that this place is as sophisticated as any city youll ever see in the world. I dont know if it has always been, but certainly now it is. What sort of places have you been going to here in So Paulo? Ive been to Dalva e Dito it was excellent. Its authentic Brazilian food, but of a very high calibre a world-class restaurant, absolutely.

Ive heard people comparing So Paulo to Manhattan before does that ring true to you at all? Well, I guess they might be referring to it as a financial centre, but it doesnt really seem like New York to me. As much as So Paulo is extremely urban, the buildings are not anywhere near on the scale of Manhattan. I find a lot more similarity with San Francisco, in terms of the feeling they both have the hilly thing going on, and in the density of the buildings and also the size of them. And the climate its humid and cool. This is exactly what San Francisco feels like in this season.

82 October 2011


I think when people havent been here before, its a surprise to nd So Paulo such a sophisticated city