jbekman_big.jpgThe Basics
Age and occupation. How long have you lived here, where did you come from, and where do you live now?
I'm 34. I own an eponymous gallery on Spring St, right off of Bowery. I was born and raised in NYC. (Queens, doll.) Went to Stuyvesant for high school. I've lived on the same block in the East Village for, uh, 12 years now. (Thank god I sublet while I went to the live in the Bay area for a while.) I used to have a revolving cast of roommates, now it's me and my insane pooch and a lot of art (on loan from the artists I represent).

Three for show
1. I went to the opening night of your gallery exhibition that featured many photologgers. I heard someone remark, "Well I wouldn't pay FULL rate, these are photologgers after all." Is this unfair backlash?
That was the pin-up show, and it's possible that the person you overheard wasn't merely being churlish. The whole idea of that show was that it should have a sort of "sample sale" vibe - nothing was more than $500. Almost all the photos in the show were un-editioned prints. Some were oddball sizes, a lot were artist proofs. It was the first time i showed photos that were taken with digital cameras and/or digital prints. The idea was to introduce a broader audience of people to the idea of buying art, and it worked.

None of this is to say that photologgers are cut-rate. It's a different approach and attitude than most of the photographers I represent. Note i say different, not better or worse: different. I really enjoyed having a show where I could put their work side by side with the work of other artists I've shown before. If there is one bit of advice i have for photologgers who want to present their work in a fine art vein, it's this: edit, edit, edit.

2. What are your concerns as digital photography increasingly becomes a subset of the fine art photography category? I mean, "fake" celebrity photos seem to have a huge market online (so I'm told) so why not "fake fine art" photos?
I wouldn't describe myself as being concerned as much as I am curious. It's interesting to observe the differences in how a digital and film photographers approach their craft. I'm not quite sure what you mean by "fake fine art" photos - what makes a photo fine art is so incredibly subjective, and that line is blurred not just by digital photography but by advertisers and editorial outlets that are increasingly taking a "fine art" approach to the work they use. (For instance, Ryan Mcginley's work accompanies this past sunday's NYT magazine article about jet lag.)

3. Would you take a quick digi-pic of someone on the street who you think embodies the term "Young Manhattanite" to be featured exclusively here?
I am a truly awful photographer. My Elph is sadsack at the bottom of my totebag, with detritus and scratches on its LCD screen. Instead I submit to you a photo taken of me by none other than Gothamist publisher Mr. Jake Dobkin himself, at the opening of the pin-up show.

Proust-Krucoff Questionnaire
9pm, Wednesday night - what are you doing?
Ideally, I'm having a late dinner with this smart, handsome playwright I know. If it's the night before a show is opening at the gallery, I might be there installing work. It's highly likely that I am eating take-out* with a few friends and watching the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy that my Tivo recorded the previous evening. Glamorous, I know.

*Common takeout choices: Burritoville (if they're not out of guacamole, which they are far too often), Frank, Stepmama's, Il Bagatto or Cafe Mogador.

Best celebrity sighting in New York, or personal experience with one if you're that type.
When I first got out of college, I worked at Ian Schrager's hotels for a long time, so I got kind of jaded about the whole celebrity thing, but still: the Young Collectors Council Artists' ball @ the Guggenheim in December had lots of celebs of the socialite variety. I was most impressed by Ivanka Trump for her sunny demeanor and almost-freakish thinness. Two sightings that would surely undo me: Sandra Bernhard, whom I have loved immeasurably since high school and my future husband Vincent D'onofrio.

Describe that low, low moment when you thought you just might have to leave NYC for good.
The day that I signed the lease for my gallery. I happily trotted down to six Spring St, keys in hand, only to discover that someone (human) had taken a crap on my doorstep. and of course, the door lock is at the bottom of the door. It took quite a while (and a good deal of resolve) to sort that situation out, but things have only improved from there on.

What's the most expensive thing in your wardrobe?
An absolutely enormous vintage Louis Vuitton totebag was recently handed down to me. Actually, all my expensive things are hand me downs, which is rather convenient because running this gallery pretty much saps all my resources for the time being. Also, I tend to prefer expensive old things to shiny new ones.

Where do you summer?
At the homes of friends far more wealthy, tasteful and well-mannered than I am.

Who do you consider to be the greatest New Yorker of all-time?
Frank O'Hara. I would have loved to live the life he lived. (Though I'd prefer to skip the getting killed in a dune buggy accident on Fire Island part.)

What was your best dining experience in NYC?
I love Florent. Always and at all times.

Medication: What and how much do you take?
Less than some and more than others.


To learn more about Jen Bekman, check out jenbekman.com and fotolog.net/jenbekman.