Earlier this month, LX opened on the Upper East Side in New York founded by Louis Buckworth and directed by Cecilia Weaver. The new gallery will feature more than just exhibitions-it's designed for collectors to linger and engage with thematic, curated shows as well as programming like talks and events.
The inaugural show, "I Don't Believe in Art, I Believe in Artists," curated by Jen DeNike, is on view through March 15. Whitewall spoke with Weaver about the vision for LX.
WHITEWALL: How did you begin working with Louis Buckworth on LX?
CECILIA WEAVER: Louis and I have known each other for many years as his wife Tora is a lifelong friend of mine. When the idea for LX first came about, Louis would call me for advice while I was working at Sotheby's/Art Agency Partners and I did my best to connect him with people I thought would be helpful. The more we spoke, the more the conversations turned into actual brainstorming. We were on the same page in such a way from the get-go that it quickly became apparent there was no way to not work together in a more formal capacity.
WW: How has your past work with Sotheby's/Art Agency Partners informed your role in helping to get the gallery up and moving?
CW: To start, not being afraid of hard work. Outside of the diverse market knowledge that comes from being in a top auction house and working with the Amy Cappellazzos of the world (literally), the endurance building you get from working at that level while doing banking hours is hard training to beat. Opening and starting the gallery with a very lean team would have been difficult without the confidence that I could push myself and make it work, no matter the hours of sleep.
WW: LX is described as new kind of art space that is intimate and inspiring by design. What steps have been taken to create this different type of gallery environment? What types of services will you be offering your patrons that will set you apart from other galleries?
CW: In conceptualizing LX, the idea of bringing a warmth and approachability to the space was a re-occurring topic of conversation. Thomas Juul-Hansen incorporated this into his design with features like the herringbone wood floors and wood detailing, which invites and draws you in and back through the space. The architecture works to present the art pristinely while also enabling our visitors to envision the art and design in a home.
Our program is different because, by working with different guest curators and collaborators for each exhibition, we are able to bring diverse voices and visions to the space while maintaining our ethos of bringing downtown uptown. If a visitor isn't in love with one exhibition, I hope the space provokes conversation so we can either source what it is they are looking for or inspire them to come back to see our next exhibition.
WW: How did you pick Jen DeNike to curate LX's first show? What can you tell us about the exhibition?
CW: The exhibition is titled "I Don't Believe in Art, I Believe in Artists" and was inspired by the great art patron Muriel Oxenberg Murphy, who co-founded the department of American Painting and Sculpture at The METand was known for hosting salon-style gatherings for artists, writers and thinkers in her Upper East Side townhouse in the 1950s through 80s.
While the exhibition is wholly Jen's vision, this inspiration really resonated with us as the inaugural exhibition, capturing the DNA of what we are building at LX: a place that convenes interdisciplinary thinking in a setting that invites you in. The artists in the show-like Katherine Bradford, Rose Wylie, and Jibade-Khalil Huffman-are having these epic moments in their careers and, to me, exemplify a downtown aesthetic that is not often seen in the gallery scene in this neighborhood. The exhibition is perfectly in line with the overarching vision I had hoped for our first presentation.
WW: What is the most exciting part in the first year of a new gallery?
CW: The first year is super important as it sets the tone for the institution as a whole- so we are being very thoughtful and deliberate. The collaborations and diverse cast of characters have really come together! Right now, I am most looking forward to pulling together curator and artist led talks (we will have our first event in February). I am really excited to activate the space in that way.
WW: What is your personal relationship with art? Do you collect art?
CW: From a very young age, I knew I wanted to spend my life around art. I had my first internship at The Noguchi Museum the summer after I turned 14 and I'll never forget walking around the closed museum on a Monday, feeling that the sensuous stone sculptures were giving my angsty teenage self some much needed therapy. After that, I was hooked and there has been no other path for me.
I have begun collecting although I admittedly find it much easier to give collecting advice than to take it from myself. Sometimes my practicality gets in the way of my passion and it is my New Year's resolution to be more voluntary!