LAURA KORMAN is no stranger to a life rooted in the arts. Her father was a well-known comedian, so you could say creativity was in her blood. After pursuing a bi-coastal education that culminated in New York, Korman returned to Los Angeles and began her journey in the art world. Having worked her way up through the gallery world, Korman is seeing that hustle pay off: this month, she officially embarked on her own venture by opening the Laura Korman Gallery. While art may be subjective, it’s clear that with her dedication and unique aesthetic, Laura Korman is the next big thing in the art world. Korman spoke to Lady Clever about opening her own gallery, how she chose her inaugural exhibits, and how everyone can connect with art.
When and how did you first become interested in art?
I was always an “artist,” even as a child. Art was a part of life. As a Los Angeles native, my relationship with the arts was a family tradition. My father was comedy veteran Harvey Korman, so I was surrounded by creativity at a very early age. I wanted the arts to be a part of my life and I also loved teaching children and teaching them art. I earned my B.A. in Psychology and Childhood Education from Scripps College, and my M.A. in Childhood Education and Special Education from NYU. I later realized I didn’t want to veer too far away from my artistic roots, so I started working at a gallery at Bergamot Station after I graduated from NYU. I instantly knew that was the field in which I could really share my passion for art with the world.
Was it intimidating entering the art world for the first time?
Initially it was quite intimidating. However, once I began to get an understanding of the business and started meeting new people, I actually found that art administrators were extremely welcoming and supportive of my interest in learning more about the gallery and museum world. I joined LACMA’s Modern and Contemporary Art Council and quickly formed a family there as well.
How did you decide that the timing was right to open your own gallery?
I worked as the Director of TAG Gallery (also at Bergamot Station) for three years, and I felt I was ultimately ready to take that leap in running my own business and selecting artists that appealed to my individual interests.
What are you hoping to accomplish with your gallery?
The goal is to offer a mindful approach to participating within the international and local art markets and exhibiting the work of contemporary artists. The works of art encourage viewers to connect deeply with the universality of the human experience. It really is a place to provide a space for new perspectives and a timely release for all to share.
Opening shows are obviously important for making a first impression on the public as a gallery. How did you go about choosing which artists you wanted to feature for them?
We are currently building up our artist roster by attending national art fairs and visiting artist studios. Our first show features Katherine Rohrbacher, a former TAG Gallery artist. I have always adored her work, and couldn’t imagine any other artist to exhibit for the inaugural show. This series of self-portraiture balances elements of whimsy and foreboding. Drawing imagery from fairy tales such as “Alice in Wonderland” and animal folklore, she inserts herself as subject as well as artist of her own personal myth, as she battles with the “invisible disease,” Lupus.
Do you have a philosophy for curating your own shows?
I am very much drawn to work with interesting stories, contemporary commentaries on our society, or simply artwork that is structurally innovative. Each show has to speak to me in a way that I feel raises new questions and also demonstrates originality and progression.
In general, what do you look for in an artist that makes you say “This person is special”?
Art is subjective based on what the specific gallery’s mission or vision is for their artist roster. We are currently refining our vision, but I am incredibly interested in the contemporary, abstract, and conceptual art market. When an artist clearly has developed their craft and knows how to speak about their work, it’s very powerful. Everyone has their own tastes, but seeing an artist that is clearly dedicated and excited about their work is something we can all appreciate. I enjoy learning the thought process behind works – I think the story attached to an artwork only makes it that much more interesting.
What is one thing you want all “non-art lovers” to know about art?
That there isn’t such a thing as “non-art lovers”! I think this is a field where everyone can have a connection to an artwork, whether it be a funny social commentary artwork, something that is colorful and vibrant and makes you feel joyful or calm, or something you just find “beautiful.” Our goal is to have anyone who comes into the gallery leave feeling some type of release, whether it be comical, emotional, or simply thoughtful.
Thanks Laura, you’ve definitely reaffirmed our belief in art for art’s sake!
Make sure to check out Laura Korman Gallery online, and keep up-to-date on their artists and exhibitions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Artsy. “MIRROR | MIRROR: Introspective Reflections” is currently on view through September 19, 2015, with a public reception to be held on Saturday, September 5, from 5-8 p.m.
Cover Image: Katharine Rohrbacher, Lupine Reflection, oil on canvas