Art and commerce
Brooklyn Galleries: Klompching Gallery
Jim Naughten's "Re-enactors" exhibition in 2010 ©Klompching Gallery
Philip Toledano's "A New Kind Of Beauty" exhibition in 2010 ©Klompching Gallery
Elaine Duigenan's "Micro Mundi" exhibition in 2010 ©Klompching Gallery
Lisa M. Robinson's "Oceana" exhibition in 2011 ©Klompching Gallery
Helen Sear's "Sightlines" exhibition in 2012 ©Klompching Gallery
Cornelia Hediger's "Doppelgänger II" exhibition in 2011 ©Klompching Gallery
Darren Ching (left) with artist Max de Esteban ©Klompching Gallery
Debra Klomp Ching (left) with artist Helen Sear ©Klompching Gallery
A gallery visitor contemplates the work of Lisa M. Robinson, 2008 ©Klompching Gallery
Antony Crossfield's "Foreign Body" exhibition in 2009 ©Klompching Gallery
A great gallery has an understanding of art that fuses the sacred and profane. It is like the partnership of marriage, that holds two complementary forces together. It is in this way that Debra Klomp Ching and Darren Ching – partners in both marriage and business, at Klompching Gallery in Dumbo, Brooklyn – have made their love for art a labor of love and a celebration of life.
There is an energy in the air, it could be the winds whipping off the East River that slides along the shore just two blocks away, but when you come to Dumbo, you feel as though you have been transported into another realm. Perhaps it is the grand views, or the old warehouse buildings that have become home a home for art, culture, and innovation, as well as luxury apartments with sweeping vistas of the downtown skyline. Whatever it may be, it works.
Debra Klomp Ching observes, “Dumbo – in Brooklyn, New York City – is a vibrant location in which to have our gallery located. The mixed economy of art & culture, restaurants and bars, retail, residential and creative industries make it work as both an exciting destination for our clients, and an inspiring environment for our business.”
Established in 2007, the Klompching Gallery, is already the oldest for-profit gallery in the neighborhood. It is a testament to their long term view of ‘the place of the gallerist’ that has enabled the gallery to develop as one of the leading new photography galleries on the East Coast.
They’re philosophy is a simple one; grow slow and for the long term. The fact that they’ve nurtured a growing roster of artists, throughout a tumultuous economic climate, suggests that they’ve got the formula right – working collaboratively with emerging artists with talent and potential, and developing alongside each other as their respective reputations and pedigree develop. The model might seem simple enough, but it requires strategy, confidence and a good deal of patience.
For example, an artist like Jim Naughten, whose portraits from the Re-enactors series are haunting in their attention to detail. Exhibited at the gallery in 2010, the photographs depict portraits of World War II re-enactors, photographed in isolation so that viewer’s attention is directed to the nuances of dress, and the phenomenon of re-enacting itself. With such precisely assembled clothing, and so deeply in character are the re-enactors, the subjects seem to have been plucked from history and placed into a timeless capsule of living history. They’re not just good looking photographs either, having since been acquired by the Imperial War Museum in London, ‘for their potentially historical importance as photographic documents’.
Klompching Gallery has a spectacular understanding of photography, and the way in which we as collectors, authors, artists, editors, designers, archivists, historians, the way we are admirers of the art form can be engaged, entertained, and educated by the stories that photographers tell. They follow artists, understand and advise them, working towards the greater good of the medium. With a keen business sense and a discerning eye, Klompching Gallery presents an average of six exhibitions a year, representing artists such as Simon Roberts, Lisa M. Robinson, Helen Sear, Carla van de Puttelaar and Phillip Toledano.
Toledano is a personal favorite. He’s an artist and a gentleman. Sharp, witty, and extraordinarily sensitive, his work is nuanced to touch us in unexpected ways. Debra Klomp Ching notes, “Working with Phil makes for a dynamic experience. He is intelligent, energetic, and challenging.” Catapulted into the public eye with the publication of Days Of My Father, people are watching and following his work. She adds, “The challenge for Phil - and ourselves as his dealers - is how to manage that interest and hunger for more, whilst serving his best interests as an artist.”
As gallerists, Debra Klomp Ching and Darren Ching are interested in developing smart partnerships. They’re keen to place the work of artists into important public collections ‘for future legacy’ and to remain consistent with presenting a distinct program of exhibitions that serve their artists, clients and audiences equally. Relationships with collectors are especially important. Whether collectors are experienced with buying art, or just starting out, the gallery owners take pride in taking the necessary time to guide and advise on all aspects of purchasing contemporary photography.
As they set sail into the new year they plan for their first booth at AIPAD, as well as an exhibition of new work by Jim Naughten. Titled “Conflict and Costume,” Naughten’s new work is a series of portraits that capture the grand clothing of the Herero people of Namibia; providing an interesting intersection of contemporary photographic art, history and social anthropology. Naughten’s work will be exhibited March 14 - May 4, coinciding with the US launch of the accompanying monograph by Merrell Publishers. Debra Klomp Ching gave me a preview of the photographs – which took my breath away. Looking at both series represented by the gallery, we can see the vision Klompching Gallery brings to life in New York.
It is a love for photography, for the still image in all its magnificence, a lexicon of visual linguistics that sings in every single language, a symphony that line the walls like notes on a scale. If I could say one thing, it is simply this: Klompching Gallery understands photography.