Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Two degrees of separation

For the last 20 years a New York highpoint has been a tour of dealer galleries in the company of the New Zealand-friendly Artforum publisher, Knight Landesman. Every door opens, all back rooms are welcoming and even Larry Gagosian stops for a valuable fifteen seconds to say hi, ask where you come from and tell you that he’s always wanted to go to New Zealand. Knight Landesman is, as far as we could tell, welcome everywhere which seems to be as a reaction to his sunny always-helpful disposition and his job as ad wrangler for the magazine. Back in 1994 Knight visited New Zealand (Testrip seized the moment and produced the one hour Knight Landesman Exhibition) following up on earlier connections like Julian Dashper’s wry Artforum Cover Version in 1991. Robert Leonard (now IMA director in Brisbane) even got the opportunity to work in the Artforum offices for a while thanks to Knight. And now the appointment of his brother Broadway producer Rocco as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts,

Landesman has added another layer of influence to his already welcomed handshake.
The New York Times described Rocco Landesman as “neither a conventional impresario nor a conventional anything else. He is at once a scholar and a gambler, a bon vivant and an intellect. He is a singular figure in the artistic life of the country, yet he is in many ways a regular guy.” Besides how can you not warm to one of four brothers named Cliff, Wyatt, Knight and Rocco.
The NEA has taken a beating during W’s reign, and Obama seems to be betting on audacity to set it right, that plus US$161.3 million. That’s the amount he asked for the NEA in his 2010 budget request.
Image: Knight Landesman