Articles and Features

The Digital High Five


Massey Klein

The Digital High Five is Artland’s interview series which is published bi-weekly and features one of our partner galleries. We have created this new series to connect with galleries, share insight, and shed light on initiatives that are taking place within our community. This week we spoke with Ryan Massey of gallery Massey Klein located on the Lower East Side in New York City.

Massey Klein is a husband wife team, Garrett Klein and Ryan Massey, who believe in collaborative partnerships between artist, gallery, and collector. The gallery supports both local and international mid-career and emerging artists.

What excites you the most when it comes to the use of technology being used in galleries? What is your biggest concern? Biggest surprise?

The evolution of the digital platform in general has made art more accessible to our collectors who are not based locally.  Many of them do not have the chance to see an exhibition in person, so they’ve been able to get a good sense of the artwork digitally.  This has been very helpful.

What specific digital strategy has brought you success and has been the most effective?

Garrett and I are extremely active via email.  We send dedicated email campaigns once a week spotlighting our artists and our current exhibition.  We’ve found that this has been the most successful way to connect with our audience.  The Artland virtual walk-through has honestly been an indispensable tool for us right now.  We’ve received such great feedback from viewers who have “visited” the gallery recently.  And it’s great because they can not only see our current show, Fluid Structure, but our previous exhibition, Positive, Negative, as well.

In all seriousness, this is a great time to collect artwork because it directly helps artists and small galleries in a time when we all need support. It seems that art can still, and even especially, bring joy in times like this.”

Elise Ferguson, Belted, 2020, Pigmented plaster on paper, 22 x 15 inches

With technology now at the forefront of how galleries are operating, how are you using technology?

We’re experiencing a surreal moment, that’s for sure.  We are using Artland as a means for the public, as well as our patrons, to experience our gallery and exhibitions “in person”.  We’ve found that this platform has allowed our visitors to engage with the exhibitions in a meaningful and complex way.  We are also using Instagram, our website, and other sales platforms, like Artsy, with a heavy focus on dedicated email blasts that feature artists highlights, past exhibitions, and specific works we feel deserve extra attention.  Overall, and thankfully, we’ve seen an increase in viewer engagement.  We’re seeing that users on social media and our mailing list are more vocal in expressing their interest in the artwork and our program in general.  Perhaps it’s because those who are home are tired of seeing bare walls. But in all seriousness, this is a great time to collect artwork because it directly helps artists and small galleries in a time when we all need support.  It seems that art can still, and even especially, bring joy in times like this. 

Managing an online digital presence can be overwhelming – what is some advice that you have for other galleries around the world who are looking to develop their digital strategy?

We try to always be clear, concise, and consistent.  For example, in our email campaigns we focus on a curated selection of artwork, rather than listing an artist’s entire inventory.  We’ve found that this encourages further interaction. For our Instagram page, I’ve focused on posting several times a day.  These posts usually include an image of a work in our current exhibition, a post about a past exhibition, and lastly a feature on an artist and their work that is not currently on view.  We work with a roster of incredible artists who, unfortunately, we’re not able to show all the time, so social media has allowed us “exhibit” their work even though it’s not currently on the gallery’s walls. Establishing a structured schedule helps us keep this organized and streamlined. 

Is there a current exhibition that you wish you could see and why?

Yes, I can’t wait to see shows again!  I’m interested to see the Rem Koolhaus exhibition, Countryside, The Future, at the Guggenheim and the Agnes Pelton exhibition and the Salman Toor exhibition both at the Whitney. 

Stephane Joannes, Tanker 44, 2020, Oil, asphalt and glycerin on canvas, 19.6 x 59 inches

The upcoming exhibition at Massey Klein, Passage will feature artist, Stephane Joannes. Passage will be on view from mid May – June 20th, 2020.

By Meghan Corso