The 2-year-old gallery Moremen Moloney Contemporary in Butchertown is no more. Susan Moremen is now the sole owner of Moremen Gallery (moremengallery.com), with a new location and a renewed art focus. LEO Weekly talked to Moremen on the changes.
LEO: Let’s start with why you moved the gallery from 939 E. Washington St. to downtown?
Susan Moremen: Butchertown was great, aside from selling the house. Susan [Moloney, her former partner] owned the building. It worked out for her; she’s pursuing her interior design business. Not exactly planned, but it is a very good thing.
How did you find your current location at 710 W. Main St.?
I found the space because I was in a panic. Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson own the building. This space came up — luckily for me, it was empty and available. We’re temporarily on the second floor with plans to move elsewhere in the building.
Why was it important to move so quickly?
Fall is a really important time for galleries. We moved in two and a half weeks and in 10 days we were open [on Sept. 15, as the Moremen Gallery]. We have three important shows coming up. Tiffany Calvert is up now [through Nov. 16], and Deborah Whistler is next. It just worked. The foot traffic is better. The challenge here is to get lots of people to come to the shows and getting art exposed to more people. If we don’t have local galleries, we won’t have an art community. We need a vivant art community here. We have the Speed Art Museum and 21c Museum Hotel, but we also need young people walking around, with a drink.
What is the gallery’s new focus?
New and emerging regional artists – they’re best for me. It’s about finding the right artist. The goal is to introduce people to works that change the conversation with fresh, provocative and accessible work. A good example is [local artist Vinhay] Keo. People would ask me ‘What’s your focus?’ I would tell them ‘This is different.’ Different changes the conversation. A lot of contemporary art you don’t want to say, ‘Wow, that’s beautiful.’ I want to love it forever, for it to be approachable. What I’ve realized over the last 24 months is that my passion is for the new and emerging artists that are doing things we haven’t seen before. I want art to be something that is provocative enough to invite conversation, and yet something beautiful that you will love living with forever.