Tom Woo

Tom Woo. © Marjorie Brunet Plaza

Gallerist Tom Woo on eggshell yellow canvases, ›Talking Prices‹ and the freedom of art

What are you working on at the moment?
We have a lot planned! Besides the next gallery shows with Megan Marrin, Claudia Hill, Anne Speier, and Aura Rosenberg, we’ll also be participating in the Basel, Paris, London, and Cologne art fairs this autumn.

Who or what has influenced you in your work?
I am inspired above all by the content of discussions with our artists and implementing the exhibitions, but also by realising the strategic vision of the gallery, especially with regard to our long-term plans. On a day-to-day basis, I value exchanges and stimulating conversations with gallery co-founder Stavros, programme director Tenzing, and our team.

What artwork do you return to again and again?
I am currently very often looking at a work by Monika Baer that hangs next to my desk at home. It is an eggshell-yellow canvas with metal hinges on the side. The subtle, relief-like forms remind me of an archaeological excavation site just before a major find.

What would you do if you didn’t work in the arts?
To be honest, I can’t imagine anything else (laughs). I’m already far too deep into this art thing! As a kid I really wanted to be an architect, which still makes sense, because I’m particularly fascinated by the spatial aspect of art exhibitions and viewing.

What are you reading or listening to at the moment?
I recently re-read ›Talking Prices‹ by Olav Velthuis to refresh my memory of what he says about the mechanisms of price formation. I love thinking about how art gets its monetary value, the factors that affect it.

What should art today be able to do, in your opinion?
The great thing about art is that it doesn’t have to do anything and can still do almost everything.

What aspect of the pre-pandemic world do you grieve—and what things do you not miss at all?
I miss mask-less faces, spontaneous handshakes and hugs as opposed to awkward, tentative greetings. I can’t say I miss crowds that block the view of the artworks, although I have missed the crowds at our openings and events.

If you had to sum up your work in one word, what would it be?
I connect. I make it easier for our team, the artists, and other staff and collaborators to accomplish what we set out to do.

Do you have a daily ritual?
I close my eyes and breathe to regulate the rhythm of my heart. It clears my head and makes it easier to find inner balance.

What art or culture-related events do you look forward to in the near future?
I look forward to seeing a lot more art in person again—and to more frequent visits to the Berliner Philharmonie and the opera.

Megan Marrin. Compliance
4 SEP—17 OCT 2021
Special Opening Hours Berlin Art Week
17—19 SEP 2021, 11am—7pm