in other words

#77 “Art is About Freedom”, with Gallerist Sadie Coles

By Charlotte Burns
Guest Sadie Coles © Sadie Coles, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ. Photography: Andrew Davidson

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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.


Sadie Coles

owner and founder, Sadie Coles HQ

Sadie Coles opened her London-based gallery in April 1997. The gallery focuses on presenting the work of established and emerging international artists. The inaugural exhibition by American painter John Currin took place in parallel to an off-site exhibition by British artist Sarah Lucas. This coupling established the international dimension of the gallery’s exhibition programme, as well as its programme of site-specific projects which have presented artists’ work in locations around London and abroad. The gallery’s current spaces at 62 Kingly Street and 1 Davies Street opened in 2013 and 2015 respectively. In recent years, the gallery has added artists Darren Bader, Alvaro Barrington, Alex Da Corte, Kati Heck, Yu Ji, Lawrence Lek, Helen Marten, Borna Sammak, Katja Seib, Martine Syms, and Jordan Wolfson to the roster. This is in addition to the continued representation of artists such as Sarah Lucas, Matthew Barney, Urs Fischer, John Currin, Ugo Rondinone, Elizabeth Peyton, Rudolf Stingel, and others. The gallery participates in about eight international fairs ever year and regularly publishes books on its artists.

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.

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