Articles and Features

The Digital High Five: Steve Turner, Los Angeles

Installation view of Grown Woman, a solo exhibition by Milwaukee-based Kate Klingbeil at Steve Turner, Los Angeles (9 Jan – 6 Feb 2021)
Installation view of Grown Woman, a solo exhibition by Milwaukee-based Kate Klingbeil at Steve Turner, Los Angeles (9 Jan – 6 Feb 2021)

The Digital High Five is Artland’s bi-weekly interview series featuring one of our partner galleries. We have created this series to connect with galleries, share insight, and shed light on initiatives that are taking place within our community.

This week we have the opportunity to feature Steve Turner. Established in 2007 and located in Los Angeles, United States, the gallery holds numerous exhibitions every year, participates in numerous international art fairs, and presents at least one pop-up project annually. Steve Turner represents a wide range of emerging international artists, with roughly one-third from the United States, Latin America and other regions, respectively.

The year 2020 proved to be a challenging one, how have you approached 2021? What is the gallery programme for this year? How will it take into account the current global crisis?

Because it seems unlikely that there will be many art fairs at which we can participate in 2021, we have shifted our art fair energies to programming more solo exhibitions in our three rooms at our Los Angeles gallery, adding some online exhibitions and publishing books.

Among the solo exhibitions are those for Kate Klingbeil, Hannah Epstein, Benjamin Cabral, Mark Yang, Kazuhito Kawai, Ricardo Passaporte, Kevin McNamee-Tweed, Pablo Barba, Jon Key, Kiyomi Quinn Taylor, Camilo Restrepo, Stipan Tadic, Brittany Tucker, Jingze Du, Siro Cugusi and Molly Greene. More are still being planned.

As for books, we are publishing three large-scale monographs on Kevin McNamee-Tweed, Jingze Du and Hannah Epstein.

How has the pandemic encouraged you to think outside the box in regards to collaborations, exhibition design, curation and public art projects?

Instead of retreating and waiting for “better times,” we accelerated all of our activities. Instead of reducing payroll, we hired more staff. We are soon to formalize our residency program with a designated residence and studio. It will be a place for our artists and new artists to work, think and experience Southern California. 

Have there been certain initiatives that are taking place in the Los Angeles art community that as a gallery you are excited to see develop and or be a part of?

Soon after the onset of Covid lockdowns, a new gallery association was formed in Los Angeles. That was a nice development and we are happy to be a part of it.

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

I like that our artists, many of whom are unknown when we introduce them, gain an instant following around the world. We have clients across the globe and that has been greatly enhanced by our online presence. 

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?

Hire a good team. Work with good artists. No digital strategy can make the art better.

Targeting and generating audience engagement is at the forefront of most galleries’ agendas. What tools or methods are you incorporating to reach and engage with your audience? Has there been a way that has been the most effective?

That is simply a byproduct of good programming. If our programming is solid, we inevitably attract an audience. We have a good website, one that we update every day. We post images on Instagram. We are on Artsy. We love our friends at Artland and we work hard every day. 

Over the last few months how as a gallery, have you encouraged growth amongst your roster of artists and staff? As a gallerist, how have you personally been keeping motivated?

Every artist is different. Some want encouragement. Others not. If an artist wants more projects, we find a way to offer that to them. If one wants less, we are fine with that too. I try to work with artists and staff who want to grow in every possible way. My motivation is always strong. I love what I do regardless of the circumstances. There are many talented artists working today. I hope the right ones find their way to us. I feel the same way about collectors. There are many wonderfully engaged collectors who actively support contemporary art generally and our program specifically. I am always ready to meet the next great artist and the next great collector.