An interview with Margaret Sherer, Curatorial and Gallery Associate at projects+gallery
With a breadth of knowledge and depth of insight that bely her youthful presence, Margaret Sherer contributes to projects+gallery and Barrett Barrera both with a passion for philosophy and an intellectual rigor. After earning her M.A. in Art History from Washington University, she has served as curatorial & gallery associate for the past three years, researching and writing about Barrett Barrera artists and overseeing exhibition production, social-media presence and gallery publications.
Which initial experience working with artists at Barrett Barrera proved most eye-opening?
Charlie Le Mindu—one of the artists whom Barrett Barrera Projects represents—is doing a lot of great work all over the world. He’s very busy, very productive, and I had the chance to work with him on his artist statement. Just being able to speak with him and support him on that was really instructive. He’s done several projects with us in Miami, and several events in L.A., so just seeing how he works with the company as a young and up-and-coming artist was a good way to become familiar with not only his work but the goals of the company.
What’s one of the most exciting projects you’ve worked on for the gallery?
When we did the Almost Now, Just Then exhibition in 2017—curated by Lyndon Barrois, Jr.—a bunch of local St. Louis artists were included, and the whole process was so interactive. We created an exhibition catalog, which I was really lucky and honored to write an entry for. That show helped me understand both sides of the process of exhibition production—in terms of what the artists are doing, as well as what the hosting institution is doing.
It seems like your background focusing on the intersection of performance and visual art would be conducive to what you do at the gallery, since so many projects+gallery shows create a dialogue between performance and what is typically catalogued as visual art proper.
I feel really fortunate to be working in a space that, especially in St. Louis, is different than what you find elsewhere. We are really pushing a lot of boundaries of the traditional commercial art gallery, in terms of the projects we take on, the performative aspects of so many artists we work with, as well as the non-traditional disciplines and media that enter in.
How does your BA in philosophy affect your curatorial approach?
I’m coming from a background that is more theoretical in terms of art, which I’ve applied a lot to my position here—with overall conceptualizing of exhibition themes and a way of seeing artists’ work not just from an aesthetic perspective, but a more conceptual one. An artist like Jess Dugan, for example, is able to walk that line between more of an ethnographic or academic approach and a really great fine-art photography eye that is able to capture all of the things that are part of a person visually and translate that into the photograph itself.
With Dugan’s show, and also with Dario Calmese and Maïmouna Guerresi, the demographic presented in the photography is not the expected demographic for portraiture in white-cube context.
That’s another thing that is wonderful about the gallery space and the company, is that we’re trying to explore different experiences, different ways of seeing the world and interacting with it through art. Even though we are a commercial gallery, our exhibitions are overall a very immersive experience, and the process we take is very thoughtful. We think not only about the commercial but the cultural value of what we’re putting out into the world.