Thomas Dane Gallery was established in 2004 and currently exists in two London gallery spaces at 3 and 11 Duke Street, St. James’s, with a third space in Naples on Via Francesco Crispi. A feature of the gallery is its commitment to the moving image, supporting the production and exhibition of works by Steve McQueen, John Gerrard, Akram Zaatari, Paul Pfeiffer and Bruce Conner. In addition, the gallery has introduced renowned mid-generation artists to London audiences such as Cecily Brown, Albert Oehlen, Glenn Ligon, Dana Schutz and Arturo Herrera, who have since then garnered an established base of institutional and collector support in the UK.
Alongside nurturing the development of new talents including Hurvin Anderson, Caragh Thuring, Walead Beshty, Ella Kruglyanskaya and Anthea Hamilton, the gallery’s program continues to involve guest curators and to promote gallery collaborations. Such exhibitions include: Very Abstract and Hyper Figurative, (2007, curated by Jens Hoffman), Sunless-Journeys in Alta California since 1933(2010, curated by Walead Beshty), The Medium of Contingency, (2011, curated by Miguel Abreu and Robin McKay), Signals (2018) in collaboration with kurimanzutto and Terra Trema (2019) in collaboration with Mendes Wood DM.
“Our plan was instead to bring our artists to an exceptional city with an extraordinary history. ”
Thomas Dane. Courtesy Thomas Dane Gallery, Naples. Photo: Giulio Ghirardi
In conversation with Thomas Dane, Thomas Dane Gallery
Is there a way of being a gallerist in Italy that differs from other countries? What characterises the Italian art scene?
I think that we are still learning. I didn’t have many connections with Italy and it was not our plan to come in search of new markets. Our plan was instead to bring our artists to an exceptional city with an extraordinary history. I have known since coming to Italy that it is a matter of slowly building relationships and developing dialogue and trust.
Talk to us about the space you chose for your gallery and its location.
It wasn’t easy to find – I could not have done it without my dear friend the designer Allegra Hicks and the architect Alberto Sifola. The gallery is located in Casa Ruffo, which was the home of Benedetto Croce in the 1950s. It has a stunning veranda and a classicising soul. The idea for the gallery was developed together with the plan for an artists’ residence, the eclectic beauty of Naples being such a source of inspiration.
Why did you choose this city?
I think that it was actually Naples that chose me, in a certain sense. I was immediately drawn by its charm and I expressed interest in opening a gallery. Before I knew what was happening, I had signed a rental agreement, encouraged by friends and helped by Neapolitans I had met. It is a warm community and the people have a spirit of rare beauty that makes Naples a special place to be.
What kind of art do you deal with?
We have a strong commitment to the moving image and support Steve McQueen, John Gerrard, Akram Zaatari, Paul Pfeiffer and Bruce Conner with exhibitions as well as in terms of production. We also work with mid-generation artists: Cecily Brown, Glenn Ligon, Dana Schutz, Arturo Herrera, supported by English collectors and institutions. Anya Gallaccio, Alexandre da Cunha, Michael Landy and Phillip King produce site-specific works and public commissions.
Are there any social, environmental or educational initiatives related to art that you have recently undertaken or would like to dedicate yourself to in the future?
We are founding partners of the Gallery Climate Coalition. The aim is to help make the art world sustainable, providing the necessary resources and guidelines for collectively lowering our carbon footprint, promoting the goal of zero impact. The website will be the main resource for information about effective and alternative solutions: https://www.galleryclimatecoalition.org