Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stylish Professional Series : Stephanie Roach

For those of you who are unaware, this past November, Prabal teamed up with London-based artist Cary Kwok, curating the exhibition titled Cary Kwok's "Obsession" at the FLAG art foundation. "Obsession" highlights Kwok’s old and new intricate, sensual and detailed drawings and closes this Saturday, January 29th. We could not be more thrilled with its success, which could not have been possible without The FLAG Art Foundation’s incredibly hard working Director, Stephanie Roach. Stephanie’s non-stop day-to-day tasks range from installation logistics, to seeking curators, to handling press. With the exhibition coming to an end we thought it would be appropriate to highlight Stephanie, an unsung hero of the art community. To learn more about Stephanie read below:

1. How did you get your start?
Art served as personal passion throughout my youth, but took on a new role in my adulthood as an impetus for self-reflection, challenge and change. During my undergraduate years at University of Pennsylvania, I studied Art History and Spanish but it wasn’t until I became a Student Board Member at the Institute of Contemporary Art that I envisioned a professional career. I also forged an important relationship with Glenn Fuhrman, who was a Board Member there. Upon graduating, I decided to move to Barcelona, Spain for a year to work at a contemporary art gallery called Galería Senda. I enjoyed being outside my comfort zone and learning about art in a different culture. Eventually I reconnected with Glenn. I always admired his genuine dedication and love of art so it was a no brainer when he described his vision for FLAG and offered me the position of Director in 2006. The rest is history…

2.What is the most exciting or outrageous thing that you have come across while on the job?
I have to adapt quickly to a different set of individuals since each show is truly unique. I have had the privilege of working with curators ranging from Shaquille O’Neal to Prabal Gurung. Their distinct perspective and personalities shape how they view contemporary art and ultimately enrich the shows for our viewers to enjoy. It’s fun to have new learning experiences every time.

3. What do you love most about your job?
Working and interacting with people from a range of different professions and backgrounds, each person always has a different story to tell. These encounters drive my enthusiasm to connect with the world around me.

4. What film is most inspiring to you when it comes to art or fashion?
Wow, that’s tough so I will narrow it down to this year. Exit Through the Gift Shop and I am Love. They are completely different but both brilliant and thought provoking!

5.How would you best describe your personal style?
Whimsical and feminine, with an edge.

6. What is your favorite thing about NYC?
The dynamic energy fueled by an eclectic mix of people, interesting places and things to do. It is one of the most magnetic cities in the world.

7. In your opinion, what makes art so powerful?
Art can be appreciated for its aesthetic appeal alone but it also has the potential to expand the viewer’s vision and evoke emotional and intellectual responses.

I value the experiences at FLAG that highlight what a universal effect art can have. I have been amazed by some of the profound observations children have made about specific artworks. Their honesty and lack of inhibition is refreshing and speaks to what amazing possibilities creativity can have. I have also witnessed the way in which art can influence a community. The response to the Shaq Size DOES Matter show, with over 7,000 people, many experiencing art for the first time, was pretty awesome and uplifting.

Art can resonate with viewers in a personal way. I will never forget an email I received from a woman who had seen the Felix Gonzalez-Torres billboard in our Floating a Boulder show after the death of her best friend’s partner. She described her personal revelation saying the work was a catalyst for her to experience her loss and how much she appreciated what we do. Those moments reinforce the gravity of art. Whether it’s through visual art (or other artistic expression like fashion, music, film), I believe that creative thinking can broaden our perspective and open our minds!

8. Any words of advice to up and coming artists?
One of the coolest parts of Glenn’s collecting and what we do at FLAG is to cultivate emerging artists and to show them alongside established artists. I would encourage up and coming artists to continually dedicate your time and passion to creating and to connect with people that support you and believe in your vision.