© JeRRy thompson
© Rinko kawauchi/couRtesy of foi L GaLLeRy, tokyo
PDN: What is the gallery’s mission? How does this relate to the goal of the
CJ: The Gallery at Hermès exhibits contemporary photography focusing on emerging artists. I see its mission as supporting artists who are respected and have established themselves in the photographic community, but who are at a point in their
careers at which they can benefit from the exposure and support of the foundation.
To me, the artists share the same core values as the house of Hermès: a dedication
to and love of their craft, and an innate curiosity about the world around them.
I knew very little about Hermès the brand until I sat down with them during the interview process. But I learned it’s one of the last family-run companies of its kind that
has been passed down from generation to generation; it’s a company that truly values
real craftsmanship and artistry, both in their commercial and philanthropic pursuits.
PDN: How would you define the kind of photography you look for?
CJ: This is always a hard question because there are many factors involved. The first,
most simplistic answer is that I look for work I like, that resonates with me personally. After that, of course, it has to make sense for the gallery. I look for work that I
feel is original; that I haven’t seen elsewhere. I look for artists for whom I see a long-term potential. I look for work that is visually compelling, but has a story.
We just mounted a two-man show titled “Matt Ducklo & Matthew Monteith:
Mind’s Eye.” Ducklo’s large-format photographs depict blind people during touch
tours of sculpture at major museums. Monteith’s work spans a year he spent living
in Rome examining people experiencing art. Both bodies of work are about the act
Left: “Lower Broadway, 1983” by Jerry Thompson, whose work was shown in the gallery
alongside photos by Walker Evans. Right: An image from “Illuminance” by Rinko Kawauchi.
of looking and our perception of art. First off, the work is beautiful. But it also slows
you down, makes you really question what it is to “see” and to experience art.
Last year, we exhibited Rinko Kawauchi’s most recent body of work titled
“Illuminance.” Although she has almost a cult following at this point, I was surprised
by how many people didn’t yet know her work, principally I believe because her
books were not widely available here. So we timed the show with the release of
her first U.S. publication with Aperture. I had followed her work for years and was
thrilled to be able to collaborate and help promote her work in the States.
PDN: Are you solely responsible for deciding what to exhibit, or are there oth-
er people involved in the decision-making?
CJ: Each year I make a detailed proposal for the foundation in Paris, which is a very
small, tight-knit group with a terrific eye. Pierre-Alexis Dumas personally signs off
on each show.
PDN: How have you found the photographers you exhibited?
CJ: I have found them in a variety of ways. I’d say for the most part, they are artists
whose work I have been tracking for a long time. I look for new work everywhere:
magazines, galleries, blogs, Rencontres d’Arles, Paris Photo, AIPAD [Photography
Show], word of mouth. At AIPAD several years ago, I saw just a few pictures by a