I’m a few minutes late. Heading over to Ringseisstrasse 4, I looked at my watch and wondered how punctual Nir Altman expected me to be. I was four minutes late in a land where everyone is ten minutes early.
Turning right into the pathway leading to the rear buildings, I walked on marble squares that look like discarded headstones. Should I stop and take some photos? Would Nir mind me being five minutes late?
Heading to the entrance of the gallery, the glass door opened and Nir Altman invited me into his space with a smile. Four minutes seemed to be within the acceptable window of lateness for Mr. Altman who moved to Munich from Israel where 20 minutes late is the norm.
The gallery is a newly renovated space that used to be a boutique. Nir exposed the metal support beams in the space to give his gallery a more industrial flare. Walking around the space, I looked at the artwork from his first Munich exhibition before settling down at his desk for a chat about his new gallery and his love of contemporary art.
Nir Altman who was born into a family of collectors and this exposure propelled him to open a gallery in Tel Aviv with a fellow collector. For many years Nir worked on developing the Mika Gallery but found that the buyers in Tel Aviv were interested in artwork that didn’t quite match his focus.
After some soul searching, Nir parted ways with his business partner at the Mika Gallery and decided to move to Munich and open a new gallery focused exclusively on the artwork he wanted to promote. “I decided to move to Munich rather than Berlin because there seems to be more opportunities to grow. In Berlin, there are hundreds of galleries whereas in Munich there are only a handful of galleries focusing on contemporary art. ”
Nir feels that Munich has the potential to become an art destination and he wants to make it a reality by investing his time and his resources “I want collectors to come to Munich to buy contemporary art. I want them to trust me in selecting artwork and artists for their collections.”
Growing his gallery is important for Nir who believes that art is an investment and needs to be shown to collectors in the way the artist intended. ” We talk with the artists we represent about how the artwork should be presented and try to show their work in the best way possible. For example, in our next exhibition, we have invested in digital equipment to make sure that the presentation of the work is as close as possible to the artist’s intention.”
Having grown up with art, Nir feels very secure in his choice of artists. “I must believe in the artists I represent and we have to have a connection. This connection is important because I want them to partner with me in building their art careers and selling their work. I have nothing without the artists so our relationships must always be a win/win situation.”
Although Nir represents a list of artists, he is always looking for artists that will fit with his gallery concept no matter where they are from. “I will continue to look for artists that I connect with and believe are serious about their art careers. Currently I find them through associates, other artists, art fairs and through the internet. I have artists from Germany Israel and from Scotland and my focus is on talented emerging artists, not a particular nationality.”
Although Nir sees the importance of online galleries, he feels that art fairs are more interesting for his gallery’s growth. “I plan to attend several German and international fairs and will probably go with a small group of artists that I currently represent. Art fairs are a perfect place for collectors to see hundreds of artists at the same time and a great opportunity for galleries. Over the next few years, we will work on getting space at fairs like Art Basel, Frieze and Art Cologne.”
In Munich, the Nir Altman Galerie will focus on installations, video art, sculptures, conceptual artwork, paintings and drawings. “I have a long term plan for the gallery. We have made the investment in the gallery space and look forward to sharing it with Munich through artists talks, exhibitions and special events.”
The next exhibition opening for the Nir Altman galerie is Noa Gur
Body vs Superstructure. Vernissage is on June 3, 2016 @1930