Rhiannon Kubicka

Be it childhood friends, coworkers, creative collaborators, or an acquaintance we follow on the Internet…the women that surround us are a profound source of daily inspiration. Our Apiece Apart Woman series looks into their daily routines, working philosophies, and creative processes — today we’re visiting Rhiannon Kubicka, a gallerist, mother, and friend whose Lower East Side gallery integrates work from a roster of both established and up-and-coming artists. We spent a morning in her amazing Tribeca apartment to talk about current inspirations, desk lunches, and her “rock and roll meets the boardroom” personal style.


On women who work for themselves
When someone asks you to define your work, what do you say?  
I own an art gallery on the Lower East Side in NYC that represents both emerging and more established contemporary artists.  
Have you thought much about the above question? 
Being self-employed and owning a gallery entails a lot of activities so it is far-reaching and all-consuming (but delightful on many levels).  
How do you want to be seen by others?
I love the idea of 'never letting them see you sweat,' but I don't achieve it! So I suppose I'd like to be considered fair, hardworking, trustworthy, loyal and understanding (and possessing a good eye).
As a gallerist, how do you separate your personal taste from work you think is more broadly "important" or valuable? Is this distinction necessary?
I have a wide range of things I love and appreciate, and refined and rugged examples in every medium. I am not so good at separating my gut reaction from what I commit to. I will go the extra mile for what feels especially right — in both heart and head. As with most things in life, I have to be disciplined and hone my focus, but this can be quite hard because I'm enthusiastic about many artists, movements, and approaches.  


What artists, pieces of art, or art ideas are most inspiring to you right now?
Being in artists' studios is always inspiring and fascinating. I'm always interested in material and formal art-making, and I like art that is tied to how we function as humans. Pierre Huyghe's work is innovative, iconoclastic, fantastical yet connected to a compromised natural order. 
I am a big proponent of art by women, and equality in the arts’ economy. I'm also interested in different curatorial perspectives. There are so many good ideas and inspired artists out there. I absolutely love art in NYC but also very much appreciate art coming from other parts of the world. I love work that pushes the edges of definition: abstraction meeting representation/minimalism meeting the baroque/perception vs. space and form/comedy and tragedy. Loving the blur between design and art and always love new approaches to 20th century movements. Can't help but name my favorites at the gallery, Rachel Beach, Eugenio Espinoza, Amy Feldman, Christina Hejtmanek, Glynnis McDaris, Linda Matalon, Hanneline Røgeberg, Joe Sola. Loving work by Caroline Achaintre, Alicia Kwade, Alice Channer, Liz Deschenes.  
What is something you are good at?
What is something you are bad at?
Alas, sports.
What is your personal mantra?
To borrow from more spiritual forebears: I am working on trying to keep a 'beginner's mind.' Listen carefully, try to be aware, and be open without hanging on to judgment or old information. Try to be less afraid of looking at oneself honestly. Roll with change. These are goals, anyway.  
"Listen carefully, try to be aware, and be open without hanging on to judgment or old information. Try to be less afraid of looking at oneself honestly. Roll with change."
Does working so closely with art inspire you to make your own? 
Not really. 



What are you serious about?
I'm serious about working on behalf of others, my children and also about trying to be a calmer/better person. I want to be more serious about making a connection to the urgent issues we face on earth. I love to have fun but also want to make things happen.
What things will you never take seriously?
On beauty, style, and self-image:
Do you keep up with fashion, style, and trends? To what extent?
I love fashion and style, and enjoy magazines and clothes all around. I really love clothes. All of this, for me, is an outlet.
What are some of your most treasured possessions? 
Marcel Breuer Tea Cart, art books, a Roy Martell Mason painting from 1928, a George Nakashima bed, pottery, all of the art in my home! (And, of course, I treasure the people in my life)
Do you have any role models? What about muses? Is there a difference?
Role models will always be people living compassionately, passionately, and doing something that they love in the service of others. And then I love free spirits! Patti Smith on every level. Jane Birkin, Lauren Bacall, Charlotte Rampling all in one for their iconic fashion — and then Pema Chodron and my mom for their spiritual and compassionate clarity.
What are your signature clothing pieces? 
Love all of my vintage and current Apiece Apart! Love my old mohair N.G. Balenciaga coat, Celine bag, and black boots that get worn to the end. There is always a mix of feminine and masculine/rock and roll meets the boardroom. 
When do you feel beautiful?
When I've had a moment to clear my head. There is a serious correlation between managing stress and feeling wonderful!
Do you have any clothing pieces with a compelling provenance?
Anything I've ever bought on vacation gets top billing. A Leonard dress I got in St. Tropez one summer is nostalgic and makes me happy. There is a special feeling in connecting clothing with a specific place.
What color/brand of lipstick do you wear, if any?
By Terry tinted baume de rose (tinted and natural).
Do you wear a fragrance?
An artist I represent named Franck Salzwedel just launched a line, called Elisire, with the most divine scents I have ever experienced. They connect to his monochrome paintings, so that connection between scent and color is quite lovely. But, the pure beauty of these scents is magical. I love Poudre Desir and Ambre Nomade.

On daily life, New York, routines:

Start the day with a cappuccino made at home.
Then a frantic race to get out the door with my 6 and 3 year olds.
End the day with a very hot shower and a chapter in a book or a habitual flip through World of Interiors.
What are your favorite neighborhood haunts?
Dimes on the LES. Arcade Bakery in Tribeca. Buvette in the West Village.
Where do you go to be quiet in New York?
I love walking all over downtown NYC. In the spring, the St. Luke's rose garden on Hudson Street. The Drawing Center. The Frick. Neue Galerie.
Be honest: do you eat lunch at your desk?
Yes, quite a bit (and preferably from Dimes), unless I have meetings, which is often.
What are five things you are currently really interested in?
1. Getting into better physical and mental shape (trying to meditate)
2. Finding creative and exploratory things to do with Olwyn and Monty, my six and three year olds
3. Pottery vessels or any kind
4. Mexico City
5. Watching more historical film and going to dance/musical performances.
Photography by TIM HOUT | Interview by LEIGH PATTERSON