Join us for an engaging gallerist round table with Emanuel Aguilar and Monique Meloche! This talk is part of Art and Art History’s Art Now! series.
Alumnus Emanuel Aguilar (BA/BFA ‘09) has always been interested in the politics of identity. Since his Manifest presentation on the work of Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, he has sought ways to engage in dialogues around diverse art practices. With fellow alum Peter Skvara, he established Jettison Quaterly, a Chicago-based arts and culture magazine. Released four times a year for each season, Jettison covers art, music, fashion, food and more with a focus on Chicago and the Midwest. After working at Jean Albano Gallery, he became a director at Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago and Berlin. In September 2015, Aguilar and Julia Fischbach both departed from Kavi Gupta to start Patron on North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. Their highly acclaimed inaugural exhibition, “Theory of Forms” was a ten person group show included Kadar Brock, Daniel G. Baird, and Alex Chitty. The gallerists seek to “to redefine and re-appropriate the traditional values of the contemporary art audience – that of the arts patron.” Among its innovative approaches, the PATRON Gallery established Journal, a digital workspace where we expose and extend the gallery experience through a variety of media. This multimedia platform seeks to advance the understanding of the gallery’s artists and influences through photo essays, video interviews, studio visits, as well as written responses. Through a casual approach to content, and a willingness to evolve the program, they foster personal and critical connections made manifest through these future entries. In addition to his gallery work, Aguilar supports artists by serving on the board of ACRE Residency and advising Chicago Artists’ Coalition.
“In the art world today, the middle may be the most awkward place to be. Chicago dealer Monique Meloche—who operates squarely in the tenuous “middle-tier” of the market and in the Midwest—knows very well the pains of being a so-called “feeder” to bigger galleries, who poach star artists after she has nurtured them into maturity.
Meloche built a career on spotting young talent that others overlooked. She worked with Amy Sherald long before the artist painted Michelle Obama’s official portrait earlier this year, and she spotted Rashid Johnson way back in 2002. Both artists have since moved on to work with mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth….It’s been a long road for Meloche, who grew up in Toronto and later moved to Michigan for college. After attending graduate school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she cut her professional teeth at the Museum of Contemporary Art between 1991—1997, eventually in an assistant curator role.
When opportunities for upward career mobility in the city’s institutional landscape dried up, Meloche cold-called veteran Chicago gallerist Rhona Hoffmann and convinced her over a lunch meeting to bring her on board as a director to freshen up the gallery’s aging program.
After two years with Hoffmann, burgeoning Chicago dealer Kavi Gupta recruited Meloche to oversee the expansion of his growing roster and the opening of a second space in the city. She spent a year and a half there before deciding that the time was right to strike out on her own.”