When Adrian Rosenfeld planned his move to San Francisco, opening a public gallery was not what he had in mind. The longtime Matthew Marks director had been working privately, “enjoying the pace and the way it allows you to have sustained and meaningful conversations with curators, collectors and dealers.”
But as it turned out, the space he found at the Minnesota Street Project—which was originally intended as an office, where he might plan “the occasional viewing”—was too good to keep private. “The more time I spent there, I realized that because of the special quality of the light and the space itself, I could imagine artists being excited to show their work there,” says Rosenfeld. “So then it became all about building this small, beautiful room where artists would feel comfortable doing important jewel-box shows.”
To communicate his vision, Rosenfeld turned to his friend, the San Francisco-based architect Thomas Ryan. “He’s very interested in Black Mountain College, and wanted to take that influence and pair it with my interest in Mexican architecture. What would that look like?” In this case, it looks like a library heavy with books focusing on art collections. “The greatest thing about Matthew Marks that nobody sees is the library, a 13-foot-tall wall of books that goes on forever. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be disarming and welcoming if people walked into something like that?”
Rosenfeld’s new curatorial model is unique: rather than showing work by his own stable of artists, he collaborates on each show with another gallery or dealer. His inaugural exhibition this winter featured work from women artists represented by Sprüth Magers: Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Louise Lawler, Cindy Sherman and Rosemarie Trockel. This spring, Rosenfeld is collaborating with Michael Werner to exhibit work by Sigmar Polke and Francis Picabia, including pieces that haven’t been exhibited on the West Coast. It would seem that after many years in the art word, his latest role is that of connector.