in other words

#76 The Magical Maureen Paley

By Charlotte Burns
Guest Maureen Paley. Photo: David Mirzoeff. Courtesy Maureen Paley, London David Mirzoff/David Mirzoeff

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“Art is about ideas, transgression and transformation,” says gallerist Sadie Coles, who founded her eponymous gallery Sadie Coles HQ in London’s Mayfair neighborhood in 1997, and now has two spaces in the UK capital. “And art needs freedom.”

In this wide-ranging podcast, recorded in London earlier in the year with host Charlotte Burns, Coles talks about everything from the nature of being an art dealer, to the sense of anxiety that has shaped both the market and art in this still-young century—and about the time she moonlighted to as a theatre critic to review a play starring Madonna as a ruthless art world operator.

Coles talks about changes in the gallery system. “Artists now have more power, and I think that’s a healthy thing”, she says. “The rules, whatever they may be, are in flux right now.”

For more, tune in today.


Maureen Paley

owner, Maureen Paley London

The gallery programme began in 1984 in a Victorian terraced house in London’s East End. Initially named Interim Art the gallery changed its name to Maureen Paley in 2004 as a celebration of its 20th anniversary. Since September 1999 the gallery has been situated in its present location in Herald Street, Bethnal Green. In July 2017 Maureen Paley opened a project space in Hove called Morena di Luna. From its inception the gallery’s aim has remained consistent: to promote great and innovative artists in all media.

Maureen Paley was one of the first to present contemporary art in London’s East End and has been a pioneer of the current scene promoting and showing art from Europe, Northern, Central and Southern America as well as from the UK. Gallery artists include Turner prize winners Lawrence Abu Hamdan, 2019, Wolfgang Tillmans, 2000, and Gillian Wearing, 1997, and Turner Prize nominees Rebecca Warren, 2006 and Liam Gillick, 2002. Represented artists include AA Bronson and General Idea, Peter Hujar, 2018 Jarman Award winner Daria Martin and James Welling.

Maureen Paley, the gallery’s founder and director, was born in New York, studied at Sarah Lawrence College, and graduated from Brown University before coming to the UK in 1977 where she completed her Masters at The Royal College of Art from 1978-80.

Together with running the gallery, Maureen Paley has also curated a number of large-scale public exhibitions. In 1994 she organised an exhibition of works by Felix Gonzales Torres, Joseph Kosuth and Ad Reinhardt at the Camden Arts Centre. In 1995 Wall to Wall was presented for the National Touring Exhibitions and appeared at the Serpentine Gallery, London, Southampton City Art Gallery and Leeds City Art Gallery showing wall drawings by international artists including Daniel Buren, Michael Craig-Martin, Douglas Gordon, Barbara Kruger, Sol Lewitt, and Lawrence Weiner. Maureen Paley also selected an exhibition of work by young British artists in 1996 called The Cauldron featuring Christine Borland, Angela Bulloch, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Steven Pippin, Georgina Starr and Gillian Wearing for the Henry Moore Sculpture Trust which was installed in their Studio space in Dean Clough, Halifax.

Charlotte Burns

executive editor of In Other Words

Charlotte Burns is the editor of In Other Words, our weekly newsletters and podcasts. She was previously the US news and market editor for The Art Newspaper, as well as a regular correspondent for publications such as the Guardian and Monocle. Previously, she worked with the London dealer Anthony d’Offay on special projects. For several years, she was a consultant at the cultural communications agency, Bolton & Quinn. She also worked at Hauser & Wirth in London.

Burns received a Masters degree (with Merit) from the Courtauld Institute in Art and Cultural Politics in Germany, 1890-1945, as well as a first-class B.A. honors degree in English and History of Art from Birmingham University. She moved to New York in 2010.

For more on Maureen Paley:

  1. Exhibitions at Maureen Paley
  2. Sunday with Maureen Paley: ‘Playing Nirvana as I dress slowly is my luxury’”, published 2 February 2020 by The Guardian
  3. My London: Maureen Paley“, published 24 September 2019 by the Evening Standard

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