The art advisor Marta Gnyp is promoting her book The Shift in a two-part interview with Selina Ting. Although the focus of her book and the interview lies with collectors and trying to understand how the behavior of collectors shapes the art market, Gnyp tells a counter-tale in the story of Phyllida Barlow’s emergence on the art market:
The case of Phyllida Barlow is also very specific because she had been working as an artist all her life, but had almost no visibility until she was 65. She was teaching at Slade School of Fine Art and has educated a lot of big artists. The turning point came when Nairy Baghramian (*1971, Iran) invited Barlow to join her for an exhibition at the Serpentine Galleries In 2010. Barlow then joined Hauser & Wirth in the same year. From that moment on, everything changed for her. This shows you the power of the big galleries. Barlow began to be invited to institutional exhibitions in different continents, including the prestigious Venice Biennale, and right now she is showing at Tate Modern [Materials and Objects – Artist Rooms Collection: Phyllida Barlow], not to mention the special commission she received from Tate Britain in 2014. During her solo show at the New Museum [Phyllida Barlow: Siege, May – June 2012], she was as named one of the most important sculptors of post-war Europe, and yet ten years ago nobody had even heard of her.
I think that you need the support of at least one of the gatekeepers of the art world in order to become visible and important as an artist. So, yes, that’s how it works.