Southward Bound

After working at galleries such as David Zwirner and Marian Goodman, art dealer Susan Sherrick moved south. Once in Nashville, she hosted a series of pop-up exhibitions and opened her first brick and mortar gallery space late last year. In just five months the gallery, Sherrick & Paul, has hosted an array of group and solo exhibitions that included works by the likes of Marcel Dzama, Nick Goss, and Hiroshi Sugimoto, as well as five previously unseen works by William Eggelston. This weekend marked the closing of portrait photographer Katy Grannan’s solo show, and this Thursday, a solo show of abstract conceptual artist Wendy White will open.

“I had the chance to fill a hole here [in Nashville],” Sherrick says. “We’re bringing artists and artwork that’s never been shown here before.”

Sherrick grew up just outside of D.C. and attended Gordon College, a small school near Boston, where she studied fine art, photography, and painting, with a minor in art history. Following graduation, she began working at Harvard Arts Museum and eventually moved to New York. Then, after a spending a period of time in San Francisco, she moved to Nashville. We spoke to Sherrick over the phone about opening the gallery and the origins of her interest in art.

NAME: Susan Sherrick

BASED: Nashville, Tennessee

STARTING OFF: I was living in New Orleans for a short period of time after San Francisco. It wasn’t working out. I was there for a year and a half and I started coming up to Nashville to see some college friends. It seemed like a really good place to start a business. [Once I moved,] I did a series of gallery pop-ups with a woman named Libby Callaway, who is now Billy Reid’s vice president of global marketing. We did three pop-ups, each one had a different theme and location, and they were well received. Based on those, I thought, “I think a brick and mortar gallery space would be possible and well received.”

TRAIL BLAZER: It’s still a struggle to get people to come in here and buy artwork, to be really honest. Nashville doesn’t have an arts district like Chelsea, or even where all the galleries are located in San Francisco, like Union Square. Wedgewood Houston is definitely the artist district and it’s growing, but there’s not a lot of foot traffic.

EXHIBITING WENDY WHITE: Wendy and I used to work together at David Zwirner and I’ve known her for a while. It’s brand new work; she made the work with our space in mind. We’re going to have carpet installed, so it’ll feel like you’re walking into somebody’s living room. It’s going to be a complete installation, basically how couples live with art and how they react to it.

GROWING UP: My mom and dad were really good about taking my brother and I to museums in other cities. We grew up spending a lot of time in D.C. because it was only two hours away. The Hirshhorn and the Air and Space Museum are still two of my favorite museums. I can’t remember how old I was, but I was at the Hirshhorn in and I remember seeing a Franz Klein painting for the first time and I loved it. There was something about it that I was just totally enamored with. On the same day, I saw a Stuart Davis painting, which I completely hated, and to this day I still can’t stand his work. That was the first time I was like, “Wow this is really cool and wonderful.” I got really exicted.