Hauser & Wirth is a gallery with locations across the globe - in Hong Kong, London, New York, Southampton, Los Angeles, Somerset, Menorca, Monaco, Zurich, Gstaad, and St. Mortiz. Their exhibitions have featured the likes of Amy Sherald, Louise Bourgeois and Martin Creed, and they also support Chillida Leku, a museum set up by sculptor Eduardo Chilida.
We are lucky enough to have had Hauser & Wirth taking part in The Big Draw Festival for a number of years, and this year was no different, with events taking place in 8 of their galleries. We caught up with Associate Director of Learning Briony Brickell to find out more!
Interview: Lucia Vinti in conversation with Briony Brickell
Hi Briony! We’re so happy to have Hauser & Wirth taking part in the Big Draw Festival once again. Could you let our readers know a little bit about Hauser & Wirth and your brilliant galleries across the UK and the World?
Hauser & Wirth is an art gallery that was founded in 1992 in Zurich by Iwan Wirth, Manuela Wirth and Ursula Hauser who were joined in 2000 by Partner and President Marc Payot and CEO Ewan Venters in 2020. A family business with a global outlook, Hauser & Wirth has expanded over the past 30 years to include outposts in Hong Kong, London, New York, Southampton, Los Angeles, Somerset, Menorca, Monaco, Zurich, Gstaad, and St. Mortiz. Hauser & Wirth represents over 90 artists and estates who have been instrumental in shaping its identity, and who are the inspiration for the gallery’s diverse range of activities that engage art, learning, conservation and sustainability. Hauser & Wirth supports Chillida Leku, a unique museum set up by Eduardo Chillida during his lifetime, situated just outside of San Sebastian.
The Big Draw Family Event, Chillida Leku, 2022. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth.
It’s so exciting that you ran Big Draw events in so many different countries this year, including Menorca, Zurich, Somerset, London and Los Angeles. Could you talk us through the events you had taking place?
We offered free creative events for families, schools or communities to engage with drawing across 8 of our global locations. All the activities were inspired by the exhibition in each location, so in Chillida Leku over 500 participants responded to artwork by Joan Miro and Eduardo Chillida. In Hong Kong, children were introduced to the work of Nicholas Party and in Zurich the activities were inspired by Richard Jackson. The Monaco gallery responded to an exhibition by Roni Horn and in London the inspiration was Amy Sherald. Somerset held events for both schools and families responding to works by Louise Bourgeois and Fabian Peake, and in our gallery in Menorca audiences participated in the Big Draw in our Education Lab inspired by Rashid Johnson.
Do you have a stand-out moment from any of your Big Draw events?
This was the first year that Los Angeles had taken part in the Big Draw and inspired by the exhibition ‘Martin Creed. Hats’ they staged a collaborative artmaking activity. Over 130 participants contributed to an artwork using different colours of paint and taking it in turns to apply a singular gestural mark to the canvas. The process was captured in a time lapse film.
The Big Draw Community Event, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2022. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth. Photo: smg photography | Sarah M. Golonka
Our Big Draw theme last year was Come Back to Colour which is all about capturing, celebrating and finding joy - how did your events in 2022 fit in with that theme?
I think that both the participants and our galleries discovered that the very act of coming together to draw is joyful. For some of our locations, such as Hong Kong, Zurich and Monaco, this was the first time that they had run events for a family audience and so for them it was a particularly special experience. We observed that after what has been a challenging few years, there was a real appetite for communities, schools and families to come together and engage in communal art making activities.
Your events ran alongside a fabulous exhibition programme. For example, in London, you’ve been exhibiting the artwork of Amy Sherald; and in Somerset, an exhibition called ‘Drawing Intimacy 1939 - 2010’ with the work of Louise Bourgeois. Do you have a favourite piece in a current exhibition that stands out to you?
We are incredibly lucky to have a dynamic and diverse programme of exhibitions across all our locations. In my role as Associate Director of Learning, I am often drawn to work with which I have seen audiences respond and engage. I was particularly excited this year to visit our gallery in Menorca and observe the school visits to Rashid Johnson’s ‘Solade’ exhibition; I saw young children who were really excited to be looking at and talking about art, and then creating their own artworks.
The Big Draw Children’s Workshop, Hauser & Wirth Hong Kong, 2022. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth.
How do you think drawing can help people engage with what they see in museums and galleries?
In our galleries in Somerset and Menorca we provide interactive tours of the exhibitions to schools, colleges and universities. Drawing is an integral element of these tours; we create opportunities for observational drawing but more often we use drawing as a tool to help students visualise ideas and processes, to develop critical thinking and to disrupt preconceived notions of ‘correct’ drawing. Drawing, for all people, is a fantastic way to really look at a work of art, to understand things that might sit outside of language, and to encourage reflection.
What’s in store for Hauser & Wirth in 2023? What other events and exhibitions do you have coming up?
In Somerset we have just opened ‘Rodney Graham. Getting it Together in the Country’ and ‘The New Bend’, an exhibition bringing together 12 contemporary artists working in the traditions of quilting and textile practice. Coinciding with ‘The New Bend’, is our ‘Community Lab: Threads of Connection’, an interactive space that fosters social connections through artmaking. This project was conceived in our Los Angeles gallery and has now travelled to Somerset where we will be displaying a patchwork quilt that was made by visitors during collaborative community workshops in the gallery. Elsewhere, Amy Sherald’s ‘The World We Make’ travels from Hauser & Wirth in London to Monaco; Rashid Johnson opens his first solo show in Asia in Hong Kong; and Chillida Leku will host its first exhibition by a living artist with a solo exhibition by Phyllida Barlow. In our New York location we are working towards expanding our activities and fostering ties with the local community.
The Big Draw Family Saturday, Hauser & Wirth Monaco, 2022. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Eva Dmitrenko
Thank you Briony!
To find out more about Hauser & Wirth, visit their website and instagram
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