ArtHaus, founded by inspiring gallerists James Bacchi and Annette Schutz in 1996, has become one of the most outstanding galleries in the San Francisco area. James and Annette bring us into their world of curating talented artists, exciting collaborations, and stunning exhibitions. Discover ArtHaus’s intimate ambiance, museum-quality art and the upcoming projects you need to check out.
Could you start by telling us a little about the history of ArtHaus?
James: Annette Schutz and I opened ArtHaus, a salon styled, by-appointment-only gallery in San Francisco’s historic Nob Hill in 1996. Ten years later, ArtHaus relocated to SOMA, 411 Brannan Street, opened to the public and has since become one of San Francisco’s foremost contemporary fine art venues.
What makes your gallery different from others?
Annette: First and foremost, James and I are ArtHaus. Visitors and collectors always spend their time with one or both of us. Our primary objective is to facilitate a meaningful connection between the art and the viewer. We also emphasize an intimate presentation of museum-quality works, diverse in subject matter, media, and style by noteworthy New York and Bay Area artists. In addition, our program incorporates quarterly exhibitions in both our main and project galleries, most often with a solo show and group show running simultaneously.
What are the objectives of your Project Gallery?
Annette: Our first objective was to have a separate gallery space within the gallery, that could be anything at anytime. We wanted the opportunity to not only curate exhibitions relying on art but rather the space itself. The project gallery continually transforms itself for installations, environmental projects, guest curators, and an ongoing program, ‘The Fine Art of Design’. For example, in an exhibition titled the ‘Backyard’ we teamed New York photographer Chris Schiavo up with Bay Area landscape designer Deanna Glory and literally turned the space into a backyard.
Which top emerging artists have caught your attention lately?
James: While there are so many, I will narrow my choices down to two: Meena Kamaal, a San Francisco and Mumbai based artist. There is a seductive quality to her work that gently leads the viewer into a meditative state of bliss. That in itself is quite something! And then there’s the work of San Francisco artist Paul Morin. I was introduced to Morin’s work as a Juror for Art For AIDS. His work speaks to both the mischievous and incorrigible aspects of my personality.
Has ArtHaus undertaken any collaborative projects this year?
James: Partnering and collaboration has always been an intricate part of our business plan. In 2015, we collaborated with designer Lizette Bruckstein for her exciting room at the San Francisco Decorator Showcase, designer Scot Meacham Wood for his beautiful room at the Traditional Home Hamptons Designer Showhouse, and Designers Courtney Lake and David Hansen for their rooms at the Traditional Home Napa Valley Showhouse. ArtHaus also curates a rotating POP-UP program at POLIFORM San Francisco, CODE SALON and most recently, we’ve undertaken a thrilling collaboration with designer Arthur McLaughlin for his latest venture, PANHANDLE HOME.
What can we expect from your upcoming 2016 exhbition, The Great Exhibtion – Highlights and New Works from the ArtHaus Collection?
James: As we will mark the 20th anniversary of ArtHaus in late 2016, we wanted to start this year off with a rotating, back-to-now type of exhibition honoring our gallery, guest artists, and ArtHaus. THE GREAT EXHIBITION surveys works in various media by artists whom we have represented since day one. Since the show runs through to March 28th, the rotating element of this exhibition promises surprise appearances of both early and new works.
What can we expect to see from ArtHaus in the near future?
James: Lots; Solo Exhibitions of new works by Carolyn Meyer and John Wood for starters, ArtHaus at artMRKT San Francisco at the end of April, and a benefit exhibition for Art For Aids at CODE Salon in May.
What do you think the success of today’s art galleries mainly relies upon?
Annette: In our experience, developing a strong art program is key to creating a successful gallery. It is imperative to establish strong relationships with your artists and collectors. You must continually strive to broaden your collector base. Having a strong web and social media presence and maintaining relationships with art critics and writers. Having a presence at art fairs and establishing a voice in your own art community.
What advice could you give to any person interested in a career as a gallerist?
Annette: First off, seek an intern position in a gallery that speaks to you and your aesthetic. From there apply for assistant or consulting positions. Attend as many gallery openings and special events as possible. In essence, get as much hands on experience as you possibly can.