Meet PATRON, Chicago's newest art gallery

Sep 23, 2015 / by Ann Binlot / Forbes

Look out Chicago — there’s a new gallery in town. Emanuel Aguilar and Julia Fischbach both departed from Kavi Gupta to start Patron on North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. This inaugural exhibition, a group show featuring Daniel G. Baird, Kadar Brock, Alex Chitty, Mika Horibuchi, Samuel, Levi Jones, Matthew Metzger, Bryan Savitz. Nick van Woert, Kristen Van Deventer, JPW3, and Liat Yossifor titled Theory of Forms, runs through December 19. The gallerists seek to “to redefine and re-appropriate the traditional values of the contemporary art audience – that of the arts patron.” I quizzed Aguilar on Patron and Chicago’s thriving gallery scene.

Why did you decide to branch out from Kavi Gupta and start Patron?

We are both very proud of what we were able to accomplish and be part of at Kavi Gupta. It was an amazing opportunity for the two of us to work with amazing artists and be part of an amazing chapter in the gallery’s history. Like most things in life, there comes a need for change, and leaving was definitely a personal decision for the two of us. We were ready for a new chapter. After our departure we remained in touch with each other and decided that we wanted to continue doing what we loved, which was to work with artists and make magic happen. We knew that we worked well together through our experience working side by side at Kavi Gupta and thought it made sense to continue doing so in this new venture.

Why a group show for your inaugural exhibition?

We wanted the inaugural exhibition to lay a foundation for the gallery. The group show is inspired by a philosophy of Plato’s that we find to be inspirational for the appreciation and engagement of art. We wanted the first exhibition to be a representation of our aesthetic, our interests, and our approach to developing patrons from all walks of life.

Tell me about the sort of programming Patron will have in the coming year. What kinds of art and artists will you be showing?

Our first year will focus strongly on Chicago based artists and we are also planning an exhibition for the spring focusing on artists from Mexico. As the gallery grows we hope introduce different layers of the program in different stages.

Why has it been so long since Chicago has had a new gallery?

For many reasons, of course both coasts have always been appealing to artists and professionals for their high concentrations of activity and markets. But Chicago has other obstacles it’s had to tackle as well, for many years a lot of the local collector community bought primarily from galleries in New York and there was very little support for local spaces. That has changed a lot in the last few years and there is an amazing group of collectors and supporters in the city that have helped revitalize the local spaces and artists who have chosen to remain in Chicago. Chicago has a lot to offer, our rents aren’t as high as New York or London, it’s a very liveable city, and we have an amazing collection of institutions and MFA programs.

What do you hope to contribute to the Chicago art scene?

We hope to add another platform for artists to develop and grow here in Chicago. We hope we inspire collectors, artists and curators to continue to not only stay in Chicago but also continue to grow the community and strengthen the scene here. We love doing what we do, working with artists and developing their careers and we do have a mission to help develop the next generation of supporters and trustees who have the potential to become the future of our major institutions and ensuring that artists and museums can continue to be a thriving part of our culture.

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