Gallerist at Home: Joshua Liner

Just four years ago, Joshua Liner Gallery opened its doors in New York’s Chelsea District.  After Superstorm Sandy hit Chelsea’s gallery row particularly hard, I am pleased to report that owner and director Joshua Liner opened their current show Tiffany Bozic's "Transformation” only a week behind schedule. - Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

Tony Curanaj | Pop Art Icon, 2009, oil on canvas, Tiffany Bozic | Untitled, Os Gemeos "Untitled." Photos courtesy of Christos Katsiaouni.

The gallery boasts two exhibition areas that they use for large solo shows, paired exhibitions, or groups exhibitions.  At home, much like in the gallery, Joshua Liner pairs different artists and varied works together throughout his New York apartment.  Many of the artists he represents at the gallery are also present in his home collection, indicating his passion for and belief in the artists he represents.  As with many fellow Gallerists at Home, for Liner, home is where the art is.

David Ellis | OH, 2012, Acrylic, ink, enamel, on wood, 30 x 48 inches, with Futura | Untitled, 2008, spray paint on canvas. Photos courtesy of Christos Katsiaouni.

Ellen Caldwell:  I love the art in your bedroom.  Could you tell me about these paintings, particularly the Ellis painting?

Joshua Liner: This is the most recent addition to my collection. I have been waiting to get a painting from David, as I already have a sculptural work of his in my collection. His text based works use random words he hears in everyday life, such as the word "OH" which is the title of this painting. In addition to titles such as "OH" or "OK" (which is also the title of one of his motion paintings), he uses random numbers he encounters for the subject/title in other paintings. The bright colors are perfect for this time of year. It's nice to wake up to a really cheerful piece over my bed.

Pema Rinzin | Lost Portrait #3, 2010, Ground mineral pigments and gold on wood, 48 x 36 inches. Photos courtesy of Christos Katsiaouni.

EC: And what about the Rinzin piece above your computer? What drew you to that piece?

JL: This painting by Pema Rinzin came from his first solo with the gallery in January 2011. I was really drawn to this series, Lost Portraits. It really blends his traditional style with the more contemporary direction he is taking his work. Known for his traditional Tibetan works, he was the first artist in residency at the Rubin Museum based in NYC, and his large-scale traditional murals are in several museum collections worldwide. Rinzin uses traditional Tibetan materials as well as patterns and motifs, which have this amazing calming effect; it's really magical. Just staring at one during a stressful day works wonders!

Basquiat | Untitled, Evan Hecox | Five Boroughs, Aurel Schmidt | It's Over. Photos courtesy of Christos Katsiaouni.

Evan Hecox | Five Boroughs, 2012, Acrylic and gouache on treated vintage newspaper, 30 x 44 inches. Photos courtesy of Christos Katsiaouni.

EC: You have really great and unique pairings throughout your house.  For instance, I love the Basquiat, Hecox, and Schmidt trio in the living room.  How did you come to purchase these pieces?

JL: Having shown Evan twice at the gallery, adding a work of his to my collection was bound to happen. This is from his recent solo show at the gallery "Dark Island" which was all NYC based imagery. Prior to the show, Evan acquired a cache of vintage New York Weekly Times from the late 1800s, then created the majority of the works in the show on top of this vintage newspaper. It's a nice juxtaposition of the vintage newspaper with more modern text-based imagery. The show was really well received and I think it was Evan's strongest body of work to date. This was a really popular image, we did a 15 color screen print of it too, but I had to keep the original for myself.

Basquiat | Untitled, 1978, Ink on paper, 10 x 8 inches. Photos courtesy of Christos Katsiaouni.

EC: And the Basquiat?

JL: This piece has a great story, I never thought I would end up with an original Basquiat in my collection! This piece is from 1978, he was a senior in high school at the time. A woman who was in the same art class as Basquiat had a sketch book she had her friends do drawings in for her. One day she got this new pen and said Basquiat really liked it, so much so that he did six ink drawings in the book. In 2005 the woman needed to sell the book, and a third party presented it to me. I knew it was the real deal, but she had no paperwork for it, obviously. She ended up getting the six drawings authenticated by the estate, I then bought the book and kept this one piece.

Aurel Schmidt | It's Over, 2008, Pencil, colored pencil, acrylic, dirt, beer, on paper, 45 x 35 inches. Photos courtesy of Christos Katsiaouni.

EC: That’s really amazing – what a gem!  And what about the final in the trio – could you tell me about the Schmidt too?

JL: This is definitely one of my favorite pieces in my collection. I got pretty lucky on this one too! This came from Deitch, right after Art Basel Miami 2008. It's from her "Burnouts" series, and from what I was told, this is the largest one she has created. Apparently, a woman put a reserve on the piece at Art Basel, saying that she was getting married and her soon to be mother-in-law was going to purchase it for her as a wedding gift. When she came back to show the piece to her mother-in-law, she refused to buy a wedding gift that says "It's Over,” which makes sense, definitely an odd wedding gift! So it came back after Basel and I contacted them at the right time.

Joshua Liner at home, Portrait courtesy of Christos Katsiaouni.

Barry McGee | Untitled, 2010, acrylic on panel & Jose Parla | Forster. Photos courtesy of Christos Katsiaouni.

Eric Beltz | Ceaseless Devotion, 2008, graphite on bristol, Kris Kuksi | Eros at Play, 2010 mixed media assemblage. Photos courtesy of Christos Katsiaouni.

EC: That’s a great story… So it seems like many of the artists you represent are in your home collection too.  Do you see a big difference in curating at your home versus the gallery?

I don't think there is a huge difference between the works I am collecting at home versus the work I am showing at the gallery. I would say about half of my collection contains works by artists I represent or have exhibited in the past, and there is definitely some overlap. Artists that are members of the Barnstormers collective include David Ellis, who we show at the gallery and I also collect, as well as artists such as Jose Parla, who's work I collect. Stephen Powers is connected to Barry McGee through their ongoing Street Market collaboration, I collect Powers' work, and we had a big show with him in September at the gallery, while I collect McGee as well.

Those are clearly defined examples. I think there are more abstract relations as well. I have work by Kris Kuksi who I exhibit at the gallery and also collect. One of Kuksi's mixed media assemblages is installed in my home next to a graphite work on paper by Eric Beltz. While the works differ, I believe there to be a connection in the approach, both creating hyper-detailed and extremely labored works. Kuksi's work exists in a limited palette, by his choice, while Beltz's does as well though due to the nature of his medium.

Interior photo of Joshua Liner Gallery taken during David Ellis "True Value" exhibition, December 2011. Photos courtesy of Christos Katsiaouni.

Additional art pictured throughout Liner’s home includes works by Stephen Powers, Barry McGee, Jose Parla, Tony Curanaj, Os Gemeos, Tiffany Bozic, Eric Beltz, Kris Kuksi, Mark Dean Veca, Chris Mendoza, Greg Lamarche, Damon Soule, Shawn Barber, Cleon Peterson, among others.


Joshua Liner Gallery is currently showing Tiffany Bozic's second solo with the gallery, "Transformation.” The gallery will also be exhibiting again at the Pulse art fair during Art Basel Miami Beach, where they will be presenting a survey of new works by gallery artists. Right after Miami, Dave Kinsey's second solo show will close out the year.

Ellen C. Caldwell is an LA-based art historian, editor, and writer.