Q+A w/ Alexandra Slattery, Sales Manager of Two Palms Gallery
Here at by CHLOE., we are always looking to learn more about cool, fun, and creative peeps! This year was our third year popping up at The Armory Show, serving our plant-based menu to the artsy-masses. We wanted to get to know some of our neighbors at show. Enter: Alexandra Slattery, the Sales Manager at Two Palms – a gallery and print studio in NYC.
Jeff Koons, Chuck Close, Richard Prince. What do all of these artists have in common (besides being some of the most famous contemporary artists)? They are all represented by the print studio and gallery, Two Palms. AKA, this gallery is kinda a big deal.
Focusing on both cutting edge and traditional printing methods, Two Palms has been able to help modern-day artists reach the next level in printmaking.
Learn more about the specific techniques used at Two Palms, and more about Alexandra Slattery, below!
by CHLOE.: Hi Alexandra! Thanks for chatting with us. Please introduce yourself.
Alexandra Slattery: Hi by CHLOE.! My name is Alexandra and I am the Sales Manager of Two Palms, a fine art print studio in New York.
bC: You’ve worked in the art world your entire professional career! Tell us a little about how you got started. Have you always been passionate about art?
AS: I have! I moved to New York to study at NYU and was actually planning on being a journalist. NYU requires Journalism majors to have a second major – sort of an area of expertise – and I decided to make mine Art History. It wasn’t until I studied abroad in Madrid and took a class at the Prado that I really thought, I want to be a part of this.
bC: Talk to us about your role at Two Palms as Sales Manager. How did you start working there, and why did you choose this gallery over another in its genre?
AS: I have known one of the printers at Two Palms for years and when my position opened up, he recommended me. Even though I did not have experience in the print world, he thought I would fit in and work well with the team. We had actually made plans to meet up for dinner and he texted me beforehand saying that they were looking to hire someone at Two Palms and asked if I wanted to come by the studio to visit instead. I didn’t realize it at the time, but what I was walking into was an interview!
To be very honest, when I started my knowledge of prints was very limited. But my first week at Two Palms was also the week of the Armory Show so I had to learn fast! And there is no better way to learn than in the studio where you can see how everything is made and where you have some of the world’s foremost artists and printers to ask your questions.
bC: Tell us about the studio at Two Palms. What are the printmaking techniques that are used that sets Two Palms apart from others?
AS: As a print studio, our job is both to help artists find new ways to make their work and then to get that work out into the world. David Lasry, who founded Two Palms in 1994, did not have a formal printmaking education, which I think has benefited us greatly because he is not rooted in standard printmaking techniques. When an artist comes to us and says “I want to make prints that grow,” we don’t think that’s impossible, we think that it has never been done and we’re going to figure out how to do it. And that’s actually something we are working on right now!
Beyond the super experimental, we specialize in making monotypes and monoprints which are unique prints where an image is transferred from a plate made of wood or plexiglass to paper in a hydraulic press. We also have very talented etching and silkscreen teams.
bC: What do you love about working with both artists and clients, and fostering these relationships?
AS: We are very lucky to work with some of the most celebrated living artists and I cannot tell you how much of a treat it is to be able to see them work and to witness their creative processes. I can actually remember the first time I saw a Carroll Dunham (at MoMA) and now I get to see him making new pieces and talk to him about what he is working on! I am a total art nerd so that part of my job is very exciting.
On the other side, placing works in people’s collections can also be very rewarding. There are times when a client will acquire something, and they are so excited and so grateful to be able to have that piece that you know owning and living with it will bring them a lot of joy. That’s a really special feeling and is something I love about my job.
bC: With the rise of social media, do you feel as though clients and artists are more easily connected? Do any of your sales happen via clients who found your gallery via Instagram?
AS: I think social media has definitely made it easier for people to discover artists and artworks they like. We do receive inquiries through Instagram but I still think nothing beats seeing a work in person. That’s why I always recommend visiting art fairs to people who are interested in learning more about art and what they like. Especially the larger fairs like The Armory Show. They can be overwhelming because they are so big and have so many galleries showing work, but they also provide access to galleries and artists from all over the world in one venue. And even though what most people hear about is the big expensive work that is available at these fairs, if you start talking to galleries, they often also have works available at lower price points, so it’s a good place to dip your toes in the water if you are interested in starting a collection.
bC: What can visitors expect to see at your booth at The Armory Show this year?
AS: This year we are curating a group show of works made in our studio. A large part of the presentation will be focused on Carroll Dunham etchings and monotypes. He made new works at the end of last year showing his signature male figure wrestling with a large beast and we will have others depicting figures bathing. We also will be showing large-scale David Row silkscreens, a beautiful new Stanley Whitney monotype, etchings from Elizabeth Peyton and some stunning Mel Bochner monoprints as well as two of his new mirrored works that were a hit at Art Basel Miami Beach last year!
bC: Do you own or create any art, yourself?
AS: I have collected a few things throughout the years, mostly works on paper and prints. The first thing I ever bought was a Joshua Abelow drawing. It was a huge splurge at the time but it’s still one of my favorite things I own and seeing it every day has made me really happy. Last year I set a goal for myself to acquire one piece per year. The piece I bought last year was a beautiful Japanese print from a gallery that exhibited across from us at the Print Fair. I have admired Japanese printmaking for a long time so buying that work was really exciting for me! And of course, I have a running list of Two Palms prints I would love to own one day… a Mel Bochner schematics etching and a Carroll Dunham nude are at the top of that list!
bC: Best professional piece of advice you’ve received?
AS: Be clear and upfront about what you want and with what you can offer. The obvious application for this advice is when you are negotiating an aspect of your job but I think this is also important to keep in mind in your day to day communications.
3 objects you can’t live without? I hate to say it, but my phone is number one. And I wouldn’t say I can’t live without them, but I would be very sad without a ring my mom gave me that has been passed down for three generations and my passport because I love to travel.
Favorite artist? That is too hard of a question! But I will say that I am a big Dana Schutz fan and I love her new work that was just at Petzel Gallery. I think she is one of the most creative artists making work today. She also just made new monotypes in our studio which I am very excited about!
Last song you listened to? Look Back At It by A Boogie Wit da Hoodie.
Favorite place on earth? My grandmother’s house in Ireland. Any beach in Malta is a close second.
Whatcha readin’? I’m switching between two books – Ayiti by Roxane Gay and a Caravaggio biography by Andrew Graham-Dixon. Even if you don’t know much about art, the Caravaggio bio is SO GOOD. He led a crazy life and Graham-Dixon does an incredible job researching and telling Caravaggio’s story.
Savory or sweet? Savory.
Dream dinner guest? Oprah.
If you could own any piece of art, what would it be? A Cy Twombly painting.