NINU NINA | April 2020

Ninu Nina interview Gretchen Andrew on her approaching exhibition at Annka Kultys Other Forms of Travel.

Artist Gretchen Andrew

By Leila Antakly

Gretchen Andrew (born in Los Angeles, 1988) is a search engine and internet imperialist artist.  She trained in London with the artist Billy Childish from 2012-2017. In 2018 the V&A Museum released her book Search Engine Art. Starting in 2019 she became known for her vision boards and associated performative internet manipulations of art world institutions of Frieze Los Angeles, The Whitney Biennial, The Turner Prize, and The Cover of Artforum. She is represented by Annka Kultys Gallery.

Hi Gretchen, we’re so excited to have you with us today, tell us some stuff about your journey in the art world.

I am currently in London for my April exhibition with Annka Kultys Gallery and looking to set up a studio here.

By way of biography, I was just this morning reflecting on how when I was 24 I quit what I had thought would be my dream job at Google to pursue the abstract idea of “having the internet make me into an artist.” I had no safety net, enough money to cover my rent and ramen for 3 months, and also absolutely no indication that I could become an artist.  I had no artistic skills, no connections, no artwork. I am proud of that 24 year old self and have been spending some mental time with her as I dream/plan to set up a studio in London.  

 Your greatest inspirations or influences?

I love Matthew Mcconaughey’s notion of his hero being himself in 10 years.  I like this ever moving target and focus on what we want to become. I spend a lot of time with my future self, making, through my work and my internet manipulations, the world I want first on canvas and then in code and then in google and then in my own IRL life.  Surprisingly it makes me more present and more able to celebrate where I am. I celebrate each stage of growth.  

Tell us a bit about your creative process, things you are looking forward to this year?

Everything starts as a thought or a visualization, which I guess makes me fundamentally a conceptual artist. I dream about the world, life, and career I want and then go build it, make it appear on canvas and on the internet.  

I am really looking forward to my exhibition with Annka Kultys called Other Forms of Travel that opens on April 22nd. I am also looking forward to my exhibition with Francisco Carolinum  in  Linz and my residency at London’s National Gallery X. Which is a professionally focused way of saying that I am looking forward to sharing my vision boards IRL and celebrating their entry into the physical art world with my team and people I love.  

How has this year changed your creativity or how you see the world changing moving forward?

Despite having a very public career this year has been quite interior for me. I spent most of it in Utah away from the creative community I value so dearly. I was thankful to have my family and the mountains and to be healthy. As many of us did, I lost multiple family members from COVID and went through the fear of many others being ill or having long-term effects.  I know it sounds cliche, but more than lockdown I have been thinking about life and death and what to do with my one life. There are always ways to become more yourself and be less afraid. 

Who do you consider to be an icon of our time?

Taylor Swift. Her evolution shows how much discredit female artists have had to put up with and has persisted through in changing how the world understands her and how the music industry works. A little less than two years ago I was at a particularly ripe state of opening in my own life and saw her play her NHP Tiny Desk Concert. I’ve never been musical but I saw it and thought, “oh piano looks fun, i’d like to do that.” I know it sounds small but that sense of possibility had never been inside me before and now piano is one of my favorite joys.  

Do you think the art world needs to change, and if so how can it be improved.

We all need to change and that always starts with our own belief systems. When I set the very intentional goal, and made a vision board obviously, about how I wanted to engage with the art world I realized I had all these limiting beliefs about myself and the world I ostensibly wanted to be part of.  I held beliefs like, “gallerist dishonest people with high cost structures that cannot be trusted “ or “major collectors won’t ever understand or appreciate my work.” I picked apart each one of these and went hunting for what I wanted, not what I feared existed. 

Now I work with an ever growing team of wonderful gallerists, collectors, curators, and dealers. I don’t mean to make it sound without phases of conflict, but I’m firm on my vision of my career being a rustic dinner table with great food and wine where everyone is and wants to be with each other for hours.

One of the things I saw to myself every morning is, “There are great people in the art world and every day I let them know I exist.”  

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