Various Small Fires (VSF) is pleased to welcome Lisa Cooley as Senior Director. Cooley will collaborate closely with VSF’s founder, Esther Kim Varet, to oversee all three locations in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Seoul. Cooley will draw on twenty-five years of experience in the international art world to support the gallery’s growing roster of artists, represent VSF on the East Coast, in the South, and in Europe, and coordinate exhibitions and programming across the gallery’s locations.
“When VSF first started representing artists in 2015, I was inspired by dealers like Lisa and her hard-won reputation of always putting artists first,” noted Varet. “This kind of commitment to artist relationships has since become the backbone of VSF, and I am honored to work with such a respected peer. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together.”
Cooley will remain based in New York City, where she has worked in art for more than 20 years, first at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery and Andrea Rosen Gallery, then later at Paula Cooper Gallery. Additionally, Cooley founded and ran an eponymous gallery downtown for nine years, which was one of the first to open in the Lower East Side, helping to spark the neighborhood’s historic gallery boom.
Since 2017, Cooley has curated shows and advised private clients on building their contemporary collections. Last year, she launched a newsletter called Oko, which aims to make it easy for busy collectors to learn more about the market and about art history.
Cooley started her career by directing a gallery in her native Houston before moving to New York. Over four years in that position, Cooley built deep artist, collector and curatorial relationships in Texas. She is excited to use those resources to grow VSF’s newest location in Dallas, VSF Texas, which opened last month with a survey of Texas-born artists including Jeff Elrod, Aaron Curry, Mark Flood, Puppies Puppies, Hayden Dunham, Baseera Kahn, Xaveria Cha, and Diedrick Brackens, among others.
“Esther and I originally bonded almost a decade ago over new motherhood and our native Texan roots, and have been friends ever since. This position feels like a natural evolution of our connection,” notes Cooley. “I was especially attracted to VSF’s focus on climate and social justice, not to mention Esther’s energetic, forward-looking vision in building an art business that’s ready for the twenty-first century.”
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