Interwiew with Rebecca Kerlin


In the FID Prize Jury 2016 there are two international gallery owners among the most important in the field of contemporary drawing: Rebecca Kerlin (Gallery Joe, Philadelphia) and Maurits Van De Laar (The Hague). “The FID is one of the only prizes given exclusively for drawing.” says gallerist Rebecca Kerlin.

Serghei Litvin: Gallery Joe has moved to a new location: 2 Saint James Court, Philadelphia, PA 19106, “By Appointment Only.” Why?

Rebecca Kerlin: I moved because of pending construction on the building where the gallery was located. What initially seemed like a crisis became an opportunity to rethink the whole idea of a traditional gallery.
My new space has a small exhibition area. Drawings will always be on display, but the monthly shows will no longer be a priority. I will continue participating in art fairs both in the US and abroad and will hold small events in the space a few times a year.
Over the past few years the proportion of my clients who live outside of Philadelphia has grown dramatically. By having a comfortable welcoming space by appointment I can offer my local clients a more personal experience. At the same time, a more vigorous presence on-line will better serve my clients who live far away.

Serghei Litvin: Yes, crisis as opportunity, a new strategy: switching priorities, participating more in art fairs, being more on line. What is drawing for you?

Rebecca Kerlin: Drawing is the most fundamental and direct of the art forms. It is closest to the artist, to how he or she thinks. It is a means for organizing one’s thoughts, observing detail, and re-presenting information. It can be a simple sketch, or a highly detailed portrait, a watercolor, or a line in the sand.
I opened my gallery in 1993. In the beginning I showed a variety of things, sculpture, drawing, and installation. My mission became clear in 1997 when I saw Mark Lombardi’s drawings in the Winter Selections exhibition at The Drawing Center in New York. I was profoundly moved by Mark’s work. It opened the world of drawing for me. From then on the gallery has been devoted exclusively to the exhibition of contemporary drawing. Mark’s work remains a touchstone for me. I go back to it when I feel lost or need inspiration.

Serghei Litvin: What do you personaly expect from the candidates? Do you have a specific expectation for the 7th edition of FID Prize? What would you say to motivate artists to participate to the competition?

Rebecca Kerlin: Personally, I hope to see drawings that show consistency in presentation, rigor in thinking, and the ability to communicate an idea.
I hope to see a great variety of drawings, from many countries, all age groups expressing the vast diversity of peoples, techniques, and subjects. Is this too much to ask? Perhaps, but that is what I would like to see.
If your primary art form is drawing, then you certainly should apply. The FID is one of the only prizes given exclusively for drawing. Jurors who have a particular commitment to the field will view your work only in the context of drawing.

  • Standard data and procedures for FID Prize 2016 are at your disposal here: