5 Questions to Alexandra Giniger
Name and role: Alexandra Giniger, Director of Artist Relations, Jack Shainman Gallery.
- What was the first art piece you owned?
I think the first original artwork I remember growing up with was a painting by Tia Lum that was gifted to my mother by the artist. Tia is the mother of Nora Lum, a.k.a. Awkwafina, so clearly creativity runs in their blood! This painting has been on my mind a lot recently.
As an adult, I was lucky to be gifted a few sketches by Wangechi Mutu while working as her studio manager. I love that Wangechi’s women watch over me at home.
The first work that my fiancé and I acquired together is a flag by Dread Scott. I first saw this flag hanging outside of Jack Shainman Gallery, a few years before I worked at the gallery. Bryan and I had just started dating and I sent him an image of the iconic piece. A year later, he and Dread happened to sit next to each other at dinner and Bryan came back to me very much wanting this work. It now hangs on our wall as a potent reminder of the power of art in protest movements and uprisings.
- You’ve been working in the NY art world for about a decade. What changes have you seen in the role of Black female artists?
The art world is now listening to a broad range of voices of Black women artists and arts administrators. It’s refreshing to see Black women holding leading roles that drive the industry. We of course have always been here, but it feels that the art world is starting to catch up.
- Tell us about some of the questions you ask when you first meet an artist.
I really enjoy building personal relationships with the artists I work with, so most of the time an initial studio visit entails familiarizing myself both with the work on the walls and with the person who is creating it.
- What is the most important thing a gallery can do against racial injustice?
In addition to providing platforms for Black artists to exhibit work, which is of course significant, galleries must earnestly enter the conversation about forwarding racial justice initiatives. This might mean having uncomfortable conversations with collectors about the meaning and drive behind artists’ work, or it might look like actively hiring more people of color on staff in stakeholder positions. Each gallery, museum, and art space should conduct detailed self-audits to determine their roles in perpetuating inequality and should dive into these gaps in order to propel change.
- If you had a magic wand and could get rid of social media today entirely, would you?
I think when used appropriately, social media can be a powerful tool for the creative industry. It’s an egalitarian platform by nature of making art accessible to all.