Just over one year after Sherrick & Paul opened with an exhibition featuring Marcel Dzama, William Eggleston, and Barry McGee, the gallery has officially closed its doors.
Sherrick & Paul offered something that no other gallery in Tennessee does: a rotating cast of internationally known artists with accolades from around the globe. Most recently, the gallery exhibited work of Malian photographer Malick Sidibé, who won the 2007 Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale. Earlier last year, S&P brought Wendy White to Nashville for an artist talk and exhibition of new work. Katy Grannan’s “The Ninety Nine and the Nine” exhibited in March. The roster also included Damian Stamer, Bryan Schutmaat, and Vivian Maier. Their difficult but important work added diversity to a scene that has been slowly bumbling out of its conservative, folk art past.
Gallery director and partner Susan Sherrick brought 14 years of experience as a curator and art dealer in New York and San Francisco at galleries like David Zwirner, Howard Greenberg, and Fraenkel Gallery. She first made her mark here in 2013 with Joint Project, a series of three pop-up exhibitions Sherrick co-curated with Libby Callaway. She opened S&P in November 2014 with business partner Paul Gilbert.
Her influence is not lost on those paying attention. Susan Edwards, director of Frist Center for Visual Arts, was quick to acknowledge the loss: “This is sad and disappointing on many levels. It was gratifying and inspirational to visit Sherrick & Paul, knowing one would always see something of interest in a professional and sophisticated space.”
Lain York, an artist and gallery director at Zeitgeist, sums up the loss: “Sherrick & Paul closing is a huge blow to the Nashville scene on every level. This is yet another indication that area collectors and patrons have to support visual art at retail points, or more than commercial galleries will continue to slip away. Sales of larger market artists in Nashville are hugely important. Susan was offering a direct conduit to those larger markets.”
York makes a good point. With Nashville’s so-called “It City” status and growing gallery scene, can we sustain artists and curators? Name recognition goes a long way with local art patrons and collectors, and Nashville has been very good at supporting a handful of its own, but as our populations swells and more art addicts become interested in what’s outside of our city limits, how does this landscape change?
To be an “It City,” Nashville needs an arts and culture scene that goes beyond Tennessee artists and supports work that is challenging and difficult. Let’s hope we’ll keep pursuing that.
Erica Ciccarone is a writer living in Nashville. She blogs at www.nycnash.com.