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NEW YORK, 2012 — Gallery Xue / NYC is a real, working art gallery, but it also seems to spend a fair bit of its time doubling as a photo studio. I’ve shot 4 V Magazine covers there this year.
Click any of the thumbnails above to enter “slide show” mode, and use arrow keys to scroll thru the cover collection
THE HAGUE, 2012 — Last year my daughter Xue launched a magazine, Avatars Illustrated. There are a lot of really impressive avatar fashion magazines, but Xue’s idea was to take a perhaps wider view and create a journal of avatar culture as it’s really lived, “on the ground.” Her first issue came out in March 2011 and turns out it actually was a fashion issue, her playful and festive “Avatar Summer Swimsuit Issue.”
After that Xue started on a second, more serious issue that seemed really promising and filled with rich content from many spheres, but the publication date kept getting pushed back and pushed back, and then bizarre photos of Xue pole dancing in clubs started surfacing! And a while later Xue declared that she was no longer in the magazine business and Avatars Illustrated No.2 – Black Swan would never be published. A number of photographers and other artists had contributed images and interviews, and Xue’s aunt Gwen had actually lent her thousands of euros worth of never-before-seen fashions from her upcoming fall collection. The photographers were all pissed at Xue and for the first time in Xue’s young life she and her aunt weren’t speaking.
So the girl who had been born in Taipei but never lived there went down to Taiwan and hung out at her father’s place for a while. When the going gets rough – cool off on a tropical island! While she was down there she found a rustic space that really excited her and she decided to open an art gallery. Well, the space just seemed to be idle forever, but the people who owned it wouldn’t rent it to her. So Xue found a smaller, less “Old China” space, rented that, and opened Gallery Xue / Taipei. Although she loves 2D art, she felt there were just so many 2D galleries, so she opened Gallery Xue as a Sculpture & Installation gallery, and especially her first projects featured a lot of community collaboration and shared creativity.
The small space in Taipei was really too small for Sculpture / Installation and for the community collaborations she was creating. So she expanded. At one time or another she’s now had galleries in Taipei, Sydney, San Francisco, Long Beach, New York, London, Amsterdam, Palestine, and, I’m happy to say that Xue and Gwen kind of patched things up and Gwen helped her open a space in Kandahar. The nature of all these spaces were each pretty different: the tiniest was the London space, really little more than a closet, but just a block from Trafalgar Square it quickly became a hub of activity. Thanks to her aunt’s seemingly limitless resources they gained access to a 6.5 hectare mountain site in Kandahar for the production of truly large-scale installations. The light and space artist Betty Tureaud and I were lucky enough to work together on VB34 – Net / Work in their Kandahar space.
Ultimately it’s hard to run a gallery empire from your college dorm room in London, it’s expensive, and apparently it can put one perilously close to flunking sophomore biology class. So Xue’s closed many of these locations now, maintaining just 4 currently, Long Beach, New York, Amsterdam, and Kandahar. With the powerful, but small and hard to work with locations at Taipei and London closed, Gallery Xue / NYC has become what perhaps it always had to become, her flagship location.
Although GX / NYC is a busy, working art gallery, something about the Manhattan location, the proximity to the Brooklyn Bridge, and the remarkable light, especially in the upper loft areas of Delilah Buscaylet’s inspired architecture, has turned GX / NYC also into an exciting photo studio as well. All of which was a pretty long way of saying that I’ve been photographed for V Magazine covers there 4 times this year.