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Oral history interview with Dorothy Goldeen, 2014 August 18

Goldeen, Dorothy, 1948-

Gallery owner


Collection Information

Size: 5 sound files (1 hr., 40 min.), digital, wav; 33 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded as 5 sound files. Duration is 1 hr., 40 min.

Summary: An interview with Dorothy Goldeen conducted 2014 August 18, by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, for the Archives of American Art, at Goldeen's home in Santa Monica, California.

Biographical/Historical Note

Interviewee Dorothy Goldeen (1948- ) is an art advisor and former gallerist in Santa Monica, California. Interviewer Hunter Drohojowska-Philp is an art critic and writer from Beverly Hills, California.


This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.

Language Note

English .



The following oral history transcript is the result of a recorded interview with Dorothy Goldeen on August 18, 2014. The interview took place in Santa Monica, California, and was conducted by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Dorothy Goldeen has reviewed the transcript. Her corrections and emendations appear below in brackets with initials. This transcript has been lightly edited for readability by the Archives of American Art. The reader should bear in mind that they are reading a transcript of spoken, rather than written, prose.


[Track goldee14_1of2_sd_track01 is a test track. Tracks goldee14_1of2_sd_track02 and 03 are blank.]

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  This is Hunter Drohojowska-Philp interviewing Dorothy Goldeen at the artist's home in Santa Monica.

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Dealer's home.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  You know what, it says "artist's home" here. [Laughs.] This is Dorothy Goldeen interview—this is Hunter—Hunter Drohojowska-Philp interviewing Dorothy Goldeen in Santa Monica on August 18th, 2014 for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, card number one. So, Dorothy, I need you to say a few words about you and your life to get a level here. When and where you born?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  I was born in San Francisco, California.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. What year? Tell me your birthdate. I'm going to put you—


HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  And what was your actual birthdate. Your actual birthdate?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  My actual birthdate was November 1948. Do I need to say more about that?

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  You know, I don't get—don't even get your date?


HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  This is your biography. This is your—this is your chance to be—to be of, uh—to have your true self known.

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  November 12, 1948.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Are you um, nervous about having people know your actual birthday?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  To some degree, not because of my age, but just because of issues of, you know, just—[laughs]. I'm in a big security moment.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Oh, okay. Well, you're born in San Francisco. What part of San Francisco?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Mount Zion Hospital. [Laughs.]

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  I know, but what neighborhood were you raised in—born and raised in?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, we moved around. So, at one point when I was younger, we lived in Forest Hills, uh, then we lived down the peninsula for a while in San Mateo. [00:02:04] We came back. We lived in the Avenues on Clement Street, so—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  And why were you moving? What did your parents do?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  You know, they were just—they were in manufacturing. So I don't [laughs] know why we were moving. We were just moving at different times, trying out different things I guess. I don't know.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. And were you—how many siblings or did you have siblings?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Yes, I have two brothers and one sister.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  And—and how were you raised? What were your—what was it like being raised by your parents?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  You know, may I just say this off the record or on the record or whatever?

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Is that relevant to my career activity?

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Well, I think so. I mean mostly how we're raised is—had a lot of—

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  [It was not a collecting family. –DG] The important thing I could say about the way I was raised in relation to my career without getting into a deep psychological [laughs] look at my background is the fact that my parents were both in business. Business was seen as a creative endeavor. It was not a household that was involved with art in any particular way, in the way that we know it in terms of painting or sculpture or that sort of thing. But my mother was a dress designer, so I think there was an aesthetic sense or some sort of sense about things. And at our family dinner table, we talked about business. Other people might have been talking about sports or daily events or I don't know what. But there was a sense that—uh, there was just this energy around that. And what's interesting is that even though I've said that it wasn't a collecting family, both my older brother and my younger sister are also involved with aesthetic things. My brother collected early—everything Tiffany, lamps and stamps, and so on, and later collected California art painting, and so on. [00:04:06] My sister got involved with American Indian material and is a dealer in that area. So it's kind of interesting in terms of the fact that we weren't really a family coming out of that, but somehow that message got communicated, and, um, yeah. So that's what I think was particularly interesting about that. You know—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Well and she was—if your mother was a dress designer, she must have been in some way creative.

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, that's what I'm saying except for the fact that the bottom line was about the fact that it was a business. And so for myself even though I've been involved with art my entire career, I was always interested in business, and it's why the whole—even though I studied art and made art, the idea of being in the business of art totally worked for me from the very beginning.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  And that's a positive thing.

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  It was very positive, yeah, and it was rare because often, at least when I got started, people didn't particularly view it from a business perspective. And that was true even in my earliest gallery days. When I came in, I knew how to take shorthand and—I knew how to—I had skills that were related to things that were helpful to me.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  That's great. Well, let's back up for a second and tell me the names of your parents and how they are—how those names are spelled.

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, they're both deceased, and it was Elizabeth and David Goldeen.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Elizabeth and David Goldeen. Is that E-L-I-S-A or Z-A—B-E-T-H?


HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Where did you go to grade school, do you remember?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  I went to—[Laughs.]


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, high school I went to Washington. [00:06:00] The grade school, we'll come back to that. I might remember it.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Washington High school?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Yeah, in San Francisco.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Where did—and, uh, you were—so you—and then after high school, where did you go to college?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  To—at the University of California at Berkeley.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Okay. And did you—and you studied art there?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, actually, my first couple of years, I studied public policy and communication, which is to say I really didn't know what I wanted to do. But then later which we'll get into when I tell you the story, I did come back to the university, and I majored in sculpture and textile design.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  And what years did you go there?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  I entered in 1966, but I graduated in 1972 because I spent some time abroad. I lived in Europe. I, actually, lived on kibbutz on Israel for six months and traveled in Europe for the rest—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  What year were you at the kibbutz in Israel?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, I guess, it was about 1967 or '68 right at—you know, it was between my sophomore and junior years, and it was critical. It was a critical experience.


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, first of all, [laughs] it's such is a long story. First of all, I went there initially because I was interested in, you know, communal living, an ideal—at a certain kind of idealism about living, which was going on in Israel at the kibbutz scene. They were living that way that we were only talking about at Berkeley, you know? And so that's what originally took me there was this interest in alternative systems of living. [00:07:59] But what happened is that, um—and also when you go to the kibbutz, you spend half the time working and half the time learning the language. But when you're working, I mean this is like, as I always like to say, middle-class girl learns how to sweat. I mean, we worked in the orchards in the fields picking fruit. I inoculated chickens. I worked—it was like being—it's you're on the farm. And then the rest of the time in the school situation from the minute you walked in, there was no English, and I did not know any Hebrew. I am Jewish, but I didn't know—I didn't know any Hebrew or grow up in a sort of, very religious household. And it isn't about religion there because they feel like if there was a God, they wouldn't—God would not have let happen to them what happened to their people, so it's a very secular orientation. But the main thing about the classroom is that people from all over the world are there. And they aren't—and they come from many different religions and backgrounds, and so I was put into a group of people from Japan, from other places in America, from Africa, from Europe, and it was a very mixed thing.

And I was there for six months at which time, I had met a guy, [they laugh] an American on one of our trips that—the kibbutz sponsors trips to different parts of the country, and I met a fellow, and he was visiting. He was not a kibbutz person. He had been traveling in Africa. He started a correspondence. We started writing letters, and he was, of course, very handsome and fabulous and invited me to meet him in Athens. And one thing about being on the kibbutz after six months, the people have given you all they can give, and really at that point, you either sign on to the next level, which is to become a volunteer and really live there, or it's time to move on. So after six months, which was the expected tenure, I did go to Athens and meet this fellow. [00:10:02] It was very funny because I went, and I got a backpack, and I took a ship for three days. And it was a very smelly boat with all these people. I remember sleeping on the deck for three nights, and the miracle was when I got to Athens, this fellow was actually there because he had come from Africa. So, that was the good news. We met at the American Express office, which is where everybody in those days who was traveling would meet up. And—but the bad news was he told me that he had ran out of money, and he was leaving the next day. [Laughs.] So that was the end of him, and there I was.

And so that was the beginning of another kind of journey that involved wandering around, staying at the youth hostels, hitchhiking here and there. Eventually, I got to Florence—Italy, and I was staying in the youth hostel there. I, one day, one afternoon, opened the window and looked down. I can see this so perfectly. There was a beautiful young man. It seemed like all my early days was the story of beautiful young men. But I looked down, and I saw this guy playing ball with a child. He just looked incredible to me, and I thought, I'm going to go down there and meet him. And I went down there, and I met that fellow, and he was from Baltimore, Maryland, and he knew about art. I didn't know anything about art at that point really. I had never taken an art class. I really—you know, my father used to take us out every weekend on trips, but we didn't go really to art museums or anything like that. So, this person knew about art, and he started taking me around, and we went to—uh, one day we went to the Accademia, and he showed me. we were looking at the David—Michelangelo's sculpture, the David. When I looked at this fellow, his name was Aaron. [00:12:03] When I looked at him, I could see that he was transported by what he was looking at, but I had no access to that, so I said to him, "Teach me." He started taking me around, and we went to the Pitti Palace, and we went to all these incredible places, and I just got turned on to art. And it was like one of the clearest things that's ever happened to me like being hit on the head with a hammer. I just felt I needed to know about art, and at that point shortly thereafter, uh, he went back to the States also, but I stayed in Europe, and I went around to every museum in Europe. I went to the Prado, the Stedelijk, and the Louvre. I went everywhere looking at art. And when I came home, and now I had been gone about 10 months from the States, I went back to Berkeley, and I declared myself an art major. It was just something I had to do. There was no support for this decision. My parents felt that I was throwing away my education, and I had really gone off the deep end, but it was just clear to me that that's what I needed to do.

One of the interesting things was the program at Berkeley at that time was studio art and art history. So, in the art history classes, I just loved them totally, and I found out I had an incredible visual memory. I remember everything I saw. In the studio class, Elmer Bischoff was my first teacher, and I was for sure the worst person in the class. It was a drawing class, and I was down here with this big piece of paper, and this little nervous drawing in the middle. He started saying, "Dorothy, you've got to open up and start using your arm and—" you know? At the end of that class, I could stand up in front of the group and do a big drawing. [They laugh.] And I might have still been the worst person in the class, but I came a long way. The whole period that I spent taking studio classes was very instructive because—by the way I got As. [00:14:05] Peter Voulkos was a teacher of mine, and it was very chauvinist at that period at school. You could—there were very few women in the studio classes like in sculpture. In those years, I welded steel, I gas welded, and arc welded. I knew all the tools, and I was very serious about sculpture. I loved three-dimensional form, and that was really—all through my career, I've had a special feeling for sculpture. But I had to beg Peter Voulkos to come and look at my work, and he would come with all his boys from the bronze casting, and you know, everything was very macho, and he liked what I was doing, but you had to stand up for yourself as a woman. You always did. Another teacher was Harold Paris who's deceased, but it was interesting about Harold Paris is that he always used to say, "If you were really interested in art, you had to go to New York." [Laughs.] And so, the students, we all took that very, very seriously, and we started going to New York, and some people moved, and some people didn't. Robert Hudson was a teacher of mine, and Brian Wall was a teacher, Sidney Gordin. There were many people.

Also, it was interesting because there was a strong visiting program at that time, but they never really explained to the students who the people were who were actually coming. So like one year, Terry Allen came, and we would have a very abstract conversation among the students about who was Terry Allen, you know? We didn't know. [They laugh.] And later, of course, I worked personally with Terry Allen, and in my professional activity, I also worked with Robert Hudson and many other people who had been formative for me in my early years but—so anyway, uh, where were we, Hunter?

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  You're still at school taking sculpture courses.

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Yeah. So at the same time I was studying sculpture, I also was involved with textile design, which goes back to my mother and her interest in dress designing because it was all about fabric and everything else. [00:16:08] But the—um, at that time that department wasn't too well developed, and we worked a lot on our own. It was more like independent study, but I did a lot of weaving and silk screening and things like that. And when I got out of school, I didn't really know how—what to do. There was no training about do you—how do you take an art activity and turn it into anything? So, one of my first jobs out of school was I worked for a flag company as a designer doing their textiles, flags, like the California flag, cutting the stencils and doing things like that. And it was on Ninth and Market, which was a very industrial, very tough area at that time. I remember that for lunch, we used to go in the parking lot and eat sitting on the curb, and there would be broken glass and all this stuff around. It was very tough. You know, that didn't actually last too long. I got fired from that job. It was very funny. I think from the very beginning, they planned to fire me because the person who did the job before me took a leave of absence and came back. So I think it never was meant to be long term.


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  But I did suffer the indignity of being fired, and that hurt at that time, but it turned out that it was a good experience. You know, it was a pretty good experience. But then later—and this is so important because it seems like all the greatest things that have happened to me including the most recent one, which we'll get to later, have all been things that seem to happen by referral or through other people. And in those years, my best friend who's still one of my very, very dearest friends—and by the way, her name is Sharon—we knew each other when we were three years old.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  What's Sharon's last name?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Sharon Kaufman who's an esteemed anthropologist in the area of ethics and aging, and is a well-known lecturer right now, an international lecturer, and has written several books. [00:18:12] And she's still one of my closest, dearest friends. She lives in the Bay Area. So, Sharon, we knew each other when we were three years old. We—later, she was also at Berkeley. We were college roommates. We've known each—you know I knew her. I was at her wedding. I mean I've known her—we've known each other our whole lives. But the important thing was is that she grew up in a very, very cultured family. Her mother is a recognized international poet. They collected art in their home, and her mother used to go to galleries in San Francisco. And so, In fact, it was in their house that I had my first epiphany standing in front of an abstract painting. That—it was the first time I looked at it, it just blew me away. It just blew me away, and—but anyway, her mother used to go to Hansen-Fuller Gallery, and it was on the fifth floor at 228 Grant Avenue. One time, she took Sharon and I up to see a show of Robert Rauschenberg, and I had never seen anything like that. I remember after we came down the street, Sharon and I looked at each other and we said—or I said for sure. I said, "Well, I don't get it. [They laugh.] I don't get it." But it was amazing because that was my first introduction to Hansen-Fuller where I ended up a number of—not too long later, getting a job. But the thing—and at that time, I also started working in advertising, and I was working in the production department, in the creative department of an advertising agency as a secretary at Dancer Fitzgerald Sample.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Was—how could you—? Could you spell that for me?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Dancer as Dancer Fitzgerald Sample. [00:20:06]

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Is that sample with an s?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  S-A-M-P-L-E, I guess. You'd have to double check but anyway. So I was working in the advertising agency, and I heard there was an opening at Hansen-Fuller Gallery. And I want—was sort of weighing whether my life was going to go into the fine art direction or the commercial art direction, and I went for an interview with Diana Fuller. It was very funny, and this is the small world part is that Diana Fuller turns out was best friends with my aunt. And—


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  —my aunt introduced Diana to her husband. My aunt and my uncle and, as I mentioned, my mother were all in dress designing business in San Francisco, and they had factories. When I was a girl, I would go to all their factories, and I would see what was going on, and all of that looked way more interesting to me than domestic life at home. My mother was the only mother who didn't go to the PTA meetings because she was working. It was very rare at that time, and that was all part of this whole notion of like I knew I always wanted to be in business and have a business. I was never very interested in a domestic sort of situation—you know children and being at home and cooking—and that was just never my thing ever. So, Diana Fuller when I told her, "Oh, I think you know my aunt," and she said, "Well, who's your aunt?" and as I said, "Eleanor Green." That was her name at that time. Diana said to me, "Well, if you're half as good as your aunt, you'll probably be okay," and she hired me, and believe me, she didn't hire me for any of my skills. She hired me because of my aunt. I really feel fairly sure about that. [00:22:00] So, I started working at the gallery, and I started on Saturdays, one day a week when the girl who had the Saturday job had gotten pregnant and had to take a leave and then she just never came back because I did her job better than she did. Eventually then, I started working. On Saturdays, I started working basically labeling slides and then I went full-time. As you knew, I grew up in a business, so I stayed 13 years and became a principal in that business. But in the early days on Saturday, the artists used to come by and kind of hang out. People like Bill Allan used to come in and just sit around for hours telling stories and just—




DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Oh, well, he's very well-known with William T. Wiley and Robert Hudson and Bill Allan. He showed with Paule Anglim.


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Yeah. I remember the day that Mark di Suvero walked in, and there was nobody else in the gallery that day. He had a limp and a cane from this elevator accident that he had. And he was very quiet, and he walked all around, but I knew he was somebody. I just saw—felt it. I saw his aura practically, you know?

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  So when he was leaving, I introduced myself, and he said, "Hi, I'm Mark di Suvero," and of course, I knew who that was, and he is also somebody who showed in the gallery. I can't remember if he was showing with us then or that happened subsequently, but anyway, we did have a professional relationship. And he was an amazing person, and he still is an amazing person, but it was just clear the moment he walked in the door that he was—and it was like that. Anybody—in those years, anybody who came into the gallery—there we were on the fifth floor. It was so—as you said earlier, it was an esoteric activity collecting art or being interested in contemporary art. So anybody who came in was always somebody pretty interesting because they made a special effort to come, and [00:24:03] it was a very finite activity in those years.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  What year did you actually start working at Hansen-Fuller, what—



DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Yeah. So, it was right after I graduated actually. It was pretty quick. All that stuff about working in the flag company and the advertising company because—yeah, it was pretty quick.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  So you're in San Francisco in the 1970s, and, uh, what was the general atmosphere of the art world in the 1970s in San Francisco?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, like I said, you know, it was a pretty small activity, and our gallery was pretty widely regarded as—you know I think one of the top—maybe the top gallery or one of them, but certainly one of two or something like that. We had the reputation of showing the most—I don't want to say avant-garde. That seems too—but certainly, the left of center, the most pressing and newest and outrageous kind of work. I mean, we had—it was actually edgy what we—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  So, who were some of the bigger artists showing at that gallery that time?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, the basis of the gallery was in the local people that basically— Wanda Hansen had pulled out of [University of California] Davis, which included Robert Arneson and William T. Wiley, Roy De Forest, Joan Brown, people like that. Oh, well, Joan Brown, of course, wasn't from Davis, but some of the Davis people and some of the local people from the San Francisco Art Institute. But then later, we started bringing in people from New York. So we brought in people like Lynda Benglis, Jennifer Bartlett, Joel Shapiro. Um, we had some people coming from Europe and then, of course, we brought in people from Los Angeles: Chuck Arnoldi, Laddie Dill, and later the Texas people, James Surls from Chicago, Ed Paschke. [00:26:07] I mean we started bringing in the people who were prominent in their regions around the country, but we were trying—Diana used to like to go to New York a lot and discover what was going on and then bring it to San Francisco.

The problem was there was nobody to buy the work, and so one of the things that I did, I became the big salesperson. I mean Diana and Wanda, they were pretty much about lifestyle, about the artists, and about having an engaged sort of intellectual idea, but also because we needed to keep the doors open. And I became sort of the key salesperson, not sort of. It's not—I became a very big contributor to sales, and it wasn't that—it's just that I knew that's what we needed. I became so devoted to the entity, to the idea of it that the perpetuity of it became bigger than any person or anything. It was just that—it was like an idea that it should exist, that it needed to keep going, so—um. So, I went to the library and took out books to learn how to sell, how to close. [Laughs.] It was very conscious and specific. I became a really good salesperson and I would—that was it. I was the engine of it, and so later on when Wanda left the business, which was in about 1978, as I recall—I hope I got that right. I think that's right, yeah. Anyway, she left the business, and Diana who was very involved with pro bono work in the Art Institute and really never liked selling too much herself. She liked other parts of the gallery but not really the selling. So, she made me a deal, and I started working on commission and then I start making some good money because I was working on commission and [laughs] I was doing the selling. [00:28:06] I remember that before that one day, I was sitting with Wanda Hansen. I was sitting on the floor, and she was at her desk, and I was making $500 a month, and I didn't know how I was going live and wasn't sure if I could even afford to stay in the gallery business. I was really feeling kind of down about it, [laughs] and that was kind of funny because eventually things turned around. But there were some lean times in there, so anyway.

So then Diana and I had the gallery going, and I guess what happened was around 1986 or so, we started seeing that things were really developing in Los Angeles. And you are asking about what was San Francisco like, San Francisco had always stayed this very provincial thing with just a few people interested, just a few galleries going. The galleries gradually got better. You know, John Berggruen, I remember when we were already at 228 Grant Avenue before he was there, he was across the street mostly working prints and stuff. Later, he moved into the building and became—you know, really expanded his business. But we started seeing that things were really happening in Los Angeles, and so Diana and I had made a couple of trips down, and I've been down with Wanda before too. I mean, because Margo Leavin showed William T. Wiley. We'd come down for the openings. Wanda and I visited Chris Burden's studio, and Chris Burden came to San Francisco and did several performance pieces for us. Of course, in those years, I think Lynda Benglis lived in LA, and we started representing her, so we had a pretty good LA connection. So we decided we should open in LA. At that time, I raised all the money, I found the location, I found the backers. And Diana was really getting—uh, things were getting very crazy and emotional in San Francisco in the gallery, and it was like—I just realized that I couldn't do [both –DG]. [00:30:08] I was the anchor in San Francisco, and I was developing LA, and I couldn't be in both places at once. So I decided to just—I just decided that I would leave San Francisco, and go to LA, and do that business down there, and I would do it on my own. And that created of course—that was a—that was a big break, and it did create bad feelings even though I tried to do it with as much integrity and straightforwardness as possible. Those kinds of things always get a bit messy, I guess you'd say. But anyway when I left San Francisco, I really—I couldn't take the mailing list. I couldn't take any of our records. I just basically left and started over. I did show some of our artists, some of the artists we showed in San Francisco, but I also wanted to build my own program, and so that's sort of the direction I went. After that time, I didn't really—it was just amazing to me that after working with Diana for 13 years, and having had a long relationship also with Wanda with whom I had been very close in the gallery years, I saw very little of either one of them and had very little to do with either one of them after I moved to Los Angeles.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Do you think they were resentful that you had left their gallery?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  For sure. I mean by that time, Wanda had been gone for a long time, so that wasn't her issue. She had gone on. She became the agent for William T. Wiley. He was represented by L.A. Louver so that was no issue. She was private dealing or whatever she was doing. Diana, yes, definitely resentful, definitely, and it could never be recouped [laughs]—


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  —even though I tried.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Did—do you in retrospect or at any point in that evolution, did you think about either of them as sort of a mentor to you? I mean did they teach you?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Oh, absolutely. Are you kidding me? [00:32:00] Of course, they did. I—it was so powerful. I mean, you know, first of all, they were women and up until that time, I had been working for men. And I saw them as mothers and people who were in conflict with the idea that they love the business, but they also were devoted to their families. So, the conflict that I had seen in my own mother about what she felt because she loved her business and had kids, and then seeing Wanda and Diana kind of cemented for me this idea that supermom really didn't exist and that, you know, you choose. It wasn't—uh, it wasn't too difficult a choice for me because as I mentioned earlier having kids was never my thing anyway, but it underlined for me the difficulty. And in addition, because I was so devoted to the artists, it was like having already 20 children, because they're very needy people. The business, running the gallery was not a job. It was a lifestyle, and it took everything. At the end of the day, I can't even imagine that I could—one could leave the business at the level at which we gave in every way to that business emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, financially, et cetera, and come home and then do family and do it well. It just seemed to be a pretty tough call. A really tough call. And even in my—I would say even in my own marriage and having—you know, there were so many times I can truthfully say I did put the business first I guess because [sighs] that's just the way it was. It's what it took.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  And who—to whom did you—? Who did you marry and when?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, I met my husband Scott Morgan in about 19—it was a great story actually. Maybe we met, I don't know, around '84 or '85, and he had lived in India in New Delhi for high school. [00:34:06] At some point along the way there, as I mentioned, we were showing the prominent people from different regions including Texas. There was a guy, Dan Rizzie who was a pretty good artist in Texas and a friend—


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  —of James Surls, and so we were showing Dan Rizzie. And it turned out that Dan Rizzie had been in India with Scott. When Dan came to the Bay Area for his opening with us, he located Scott and invited Scott to come to the opening. It was really funny because Scott said to him, "You know, what do I want to come to the opening for? It's just a bunch of snotty, stuck-up people running some art thing." He just almost didn't come, but he came that night, and he and I met. And, uh—although I mentioned I had seen, possibly seen Mark di Suveros's aura, I definitely saw Scott's. [Laughs.] And those are the only ones I think I've ever seen. But Scott had a very large, big presence around him. He was somebody of incredible energy and vibrancy, and he caught my attention, but that was it. But then he started—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  What did he do for a living on?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  He was in the furniture business. His family was in the furniture business, and he was in the furniture business. They represented different lines, and they were selling business furniture type things. So, Scott started coming to the gallery, and he didn't ask me out. He just kind of came along and would sit in my office and talk to me, and this and that.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  He lived in LA or in San Francisco?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  He lived in Sausalito.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Sausalito, okay, oh.

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Yeah. One day, I had tickets to the Prince concert. I liked Prince, and it was—he was playing at the Cow Palace. I didn't know anybody who'd want to go, but I knew Scott would want to go. So I asked him if he wanted to come, and he said he'd love to. [00:36:00] And so we went to the Prince concert and a couple of things happened that were really important for me. First of all, he knew all the back ways to get into the Cow Palace.


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Because I'm a person who doesn't like to wait in lines or not really big on the crowd. Scott knew how to get around everything. He was very, very good at that. And the other thing he said to me is that his parents always used to have a lot of fun, and my parents didn't really have any fun from my perspective. They worked and ran the family, but they weren't people who had fun. And so, I thought that Scott's coming from a place with parents who had fun was a really, really good message for me because I wanted to have fun. In fact, when we got married, I mean I really married him because he was going to be a fun companion. I didn't—I didn't feel at that time—I was in my 30s—that I needed someone to take care of me in that kind of way. I wanted to have somebody who wanted to have adventures. [Laughs.] And that was Scott, he is a big adventure person. He's the best traveler I ever met. He taught me a lot about traveling, and I'm a good traveler. We had really a lot of fun. And uh, he loved art so much, and he got a lot of his—and he would say this, that he got a lot of his formal training in real edu—I mean he was kind of—he used to make watercolors and go around. But he didn't really get about art in that deeper way, which he learned from me, and so he loved that. He fell right into it. He loved it. So, um, when we decided to get married—well, actually, we decided to move to Los Angeles before we were going to get married and then we decided maybe we should get married. And for me, marriage was—you know, I was a little skeptical about marriage, but I figured Scott was a great guy, and I guess we'd go for it. So we got married and then—and we got married in 1987 and—no, maybe we got married in 1986, and in 1987, we moved. [00:38:10] And then I opened Dorothy Goldeen Gallery in September of 1987. He and I moved in February of 1987.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Where did you open your first gallery here?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  The first gallery was on Ninth and Colorado, which was a somewhat—Santa Monica was derelict in those years. The Third Street Promenade didn't exist. Main Street was really low down, and we moved into a factory area kind of. Jim Corcoran, James Corcoran had already gotten into the area, and he was encouraging in that regard because he was from this area. So we started—we got a big—I got a big building. It was 6,000 square feet, and I gutted it. I remember walking and I'm thinking, Holy shit, what did I do? It's an airplane hangar. But by that time, you know, I'd had a lot of experience. I knew exactly how to lay the thing out having a very big back room, giving a lot of room to storage, understanding how the art needed to move, understanding how to do it. I really understood. And then that whole area around Ninth and Colorado, everybody else started moving in because the gallery was seen as always about real estate and big spaces. So pretty soon, that was the center of the art world at a certain moment. Blum Helman moved out here and actually Putter Pence had a gallery, she was across the street, and there was—there was like about seven galleries right there in a couple of blocks. We were all next to each other. It was perfect, so um—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  How long were you in that location?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  I was there until 1994.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Okay. So between '87 and '94, how did you change the direction of the gallery that you were rep—for the people you were representing? [00:40:06] How did—

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, first of all, because my space was so generous, I was often running three shows at the same time. We had a main space show, we had a second space, and then we had a kind of project area. Plus, I had a sculpture yard in the back. So I was truly running a three-ring circus. I was [laughs]. I have to admit. But it was very much calculated that because of my business background, I always understood about cash flow and building the audience and making sure that there were things that would be, let's say, maybe easier to sell with also things that were edgy. I nev—it was a very big, clear thing that the gallery could not be a shop. The gallery was not a shop. Meaning, people just came and bought things. There were always things that never would be sold that would be there to push the intellect or the eye, but it was always something that, yes, we absolutely—the thing needed to be self-sufficient. We had to keep the doors open, but it would always be something besides that. And so, that's how the shows were always formed and backed up in way. I mean [laughs], you know, I could be wrong. There were certainly months we had nothing, but that was the intent of it and also—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  —give me an example of someone who wouldn't be considered a big sales—an artist who would be a big sales artists? For example, like someone who you weren't expecting to sell particularly?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Oh, God, there were lots of them, but let's say, uh, when I did my show for David Wojnarowicz, this was, in my opinion, a very necessary show to do and a high-risk show. So, if I gave David the front room then maybe on the side room or somewhere else in the gallery, I would do something that would be easier to accommodate for a less sophisticated buyer or something that moved towards the decorative, let's say. [00:42:11] But I also want to say that it was always important to me that everything in the gallery had integrity, that anybody who bought anything couldn't go too far wrong. And that any viewer—it was always my goal that anybody who came to the gallery wouldn't have to look up to see, "Oh, what's showing at Dorothy Goldeen?" and say yes or no. They would know that Dorothy Goldeen was a destination. They would always see something there of merit, and if it wasn't the main show, maybe it would be one or two pieces someplace else hanging in the gallery, but there would always be something. Because it was important to me to give exposure to the artist I represented even if they weren't the main show. You know, the way it is these days is the dealers give their love to the guy who's in the main room and when their show is over, forget about it, they don't talk to them for a year. This was not it. We were promoting everybody, and therefore their work needed to be present. So, in the offices or in the backroom or something, everybody—we would always try to keep people present so that—because when somebody came in the gallery, the big job was education. So we'd take them around, everybody—me, salespeople, everybody take the person around and engage them, introduce them. Because if they weren't going to buy this time, maybe they're going to buy the next time, and turn them on to things. And even stuff that, like, if you take the more conservative or less sophisticated buyer and start telling them, encouraging them, teaching them about something, they're not afraid of it anymore and then they could think about maybe owning it. Because nobody buys anything they don't understand, starting with me. People buy me before they buy any of the art that I show. Therefore, I have to be somebody that they can relate to, right?

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  You know what I mean? [00:44:00] I don't want to be—and especially in those years— unlike today where you would never see—often when you go into galleries, you don't see the proprietor or the owner. But in those days, you wanted to be accessible because we were still doing a fairly esoteric activity. And also, you want to meet everybody who comes in the door. You don't want to miss anybody. So, I was the first girl to stand up and get out from behind my desk and go introduce myself and welcome people, you know? I mean gosh, they made an attempt to come and see me or the gallery, I want them to be welcomed.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  And you had, uh, some interesting people working for you then we discovered in your papers. Randy Sommers worked for you and then he went off and opened ACME. So what was it like? What do you think that you've instilled in those people who went on to become successful?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  You know it's such a good question, Hunter. Even just last week, um, somebody who worked for me wrote to me because they heard about my new job in New York, and they said they just wanted me to know that working with me had helped form everything they knew about the art world.


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  It was really edifying for me. You know, Julie Joyce who is now the contemporary curator at the Santa Barbara Museum was my first employee. I interviewed her in my house before I opened my gallery, and she worked for me for about eight years. And Randy lived in Santa Barbara, and he came, and I—I still have the letters he wrote me when he did his interview. I kept [laughs] all their resumes. I love that. Um, and there were others, people who came and went or people who had been in the art world and went on to other things. But David McDonald, the—who's an artist worked as my—he was one of the first people I met when I came to Los Angeles. He worked for me as preparator for many years. We've stayed friends, and we used to call it the Dorothy Goldeen School of Art because there were all these people, you know? [00:46:01] And you know, because what was important for me was to build the team and also to empower everybody because I couldn't do it all and to have a real culture in our business. So the business stood for something and the attitude, and the belief system was something that was shared by the staff. For the people who that worked for, they stay around, and the people if they don't—if it doesn't work for them, they leave, I mean you know, or whatever. It doesn't work out. But everybody there knew that we were on a mission because—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Now, had Randy already worked at Food House?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  No, no, he—that hadn't started yet.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  So here we have a reverse situation where Randy Sommer then leaves you and goes to open his own gallery, so you actually got to experience what Diana Fuller experienced once you left her—

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, it was a—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  —how did it feel to be on the other end of it?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Okay. Well, first of all, let me say that it happened a little differently.


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  So, you know, they aren't exactly parallel situations even though they have something in common. Uh, we went into a very big recession, and it was during those years that, you know, the gallery was really feeling the brunt of the recession as—


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Yeah, it was like '92, '93, and what finally happened is that I couldn't afford to keep everybody is what happened. So, Randy, I'm—if I remember this correctly, I had to let him go and then he went off and—what do I know? Maybe he was planning Food House before then or whatever, you know? But he was—he loved art and then he went off and started Food House. So, yes, he went on to have another business, and yes, I had emotional feelings around it, but in the end of the day, I adore Randy, and we still have a great relationship, and we do business. The same for Julie. You know, she never wanted really—I mean she was pretty clear early that she didn't really want to stay in the commercial side of arts, [00:48:06] she wanted to be more in the academic side. I think she was—she wanted to be a curator and a writer, and so she went off and did her thing. So, um, those people are still—as I consider them just close colleagues, really. So, yes, kind of the same but a little bit different the circumstances. So when the recession came and I was having this huge space and a very big overhead, I basically had to downsize, so then I moved to a much smaller space on Main Street next to what was then Angles. But it was a very beautiful space. I was thrilled to go there.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  And where was it on Main Street?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  That was 22,—I think it was 2224 Main Street. And that gallery unfortunately—I mean it just had much less ambition around it because the finances, which were just so much tighter at that point, you know? So that—um, and then what started to happen was that when you make this huge effort to make exhibitions and everything, you want an audience. The audience had started to diminish. Maybe it was part of location or maybe it was part the times, but I started to feel that, you know, I just didn't want to keep giving exhibitions and doing all this. There wasn't enough coming back to me personally. I wasn't being nurtured by what I was doing sufficiently. So, I started—I knew I was going to stay in the art world, but I just didn't think I wanted to do it in the same way. So, I decided—uh, actually I feel like I didn't totally decide. It was such a hard decision to close the gallery, but it really ended up being a situation about my landlord at that time and having to sign another lease. I just couldn't face signing another lease, and I couldn't face picking up the phone one more time saying, "Oh, my God, you've got to come down and see our fabulous show." [00:50:03] I just feel like I needed a change. So then, I got this idea to develop my art advisory business. And these days, there's a million art advisors, but in those days—so now it's 1996—there weren't so many art advisors. And it was originally going to be more like a service business to assist people doing all these other things. I just started realizing that everything I was doing in the gallery was all trying to get to the point of sale. I'd make an exhibition, I'd make a catalog, I'd make a party, all of this was to make a sale. So, I thought, why not take out all of that part and just be the advisor and make the sale, you know?


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  But what I didn't totally calculate is that having a gallery, you have a presence in the community. You have—it's a public format. You stand for something in the community. My art advisory business was extremely discreet. It was in the background. I had a few clients. I mean, it was no longer this big act. So, there was a really, really very big transition from going public to private. But I will say, I think I had—I did it eventually as well as anybody ever did. You know, when I first closed the gallery the first thing everybody said, "Oh, Dorothy, are you retiring?" this, and that. So I had to build back a different kind of presence, and it—and to let people know that I was seriously still involved in business— it was just different. You know, that I was still devoted to art, it was just in a different way. Instead of really essentially serving the artist, although initially, I did do artist consultations and so on. I didn't really want to be an artist's agent. I wanted to represent the buyer. So, I was kind of like a little bit switching sides I guess you'd say, but the art advisory business was essentially client driven. And it wasn't—my goal was to get the best value, the best pieces, but I didn't have an agenda for that person. [00:52:02] That—the agenda evolved out of where that person's aesthetic direction was, what they could accommodate visually and intellectually. What was their budget, what kind of space did they have?

And the interesting thing is that essentially, the world became my oyster because the learning curve was fantastic. Instead of being focused on 20 artists and trying to work their career, I was being driven by whatever clients were interested in, and the purview was really, really broad. But the real breakthrough came when an existing client from my gallery days referred me to a young person, a younger person, actually a woman who wanted to build a collection. It was the years of the technology boom, so money—art follows the money, and all the technology people had money like they have now. And as I said earlier, all my greatest things have happened by referral, and this was one of them, because even though I wasn't sure I'd made the right choice to close the gallery and do art advisory, it was like God came down from the sky and anointed me, because this collection turned out to be about—in the end I think I bought about $4 million worth of art for this person, and that was a lot of money in those days. Plus, they trusted me totally, so I got to buy all the great things. I mean for this person, I bought David Smith and Diebenkorn, and Richter, and Hockney. I mean I bought fabulous things for this person. You know, it was just—it was—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  And is she grateful?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, she's pretty grateful, but what happened—or her our family is grateful because what happened is years later, she passed away in a plane accident—a plane she was flying. [00:54:02] She was a pilot. And her mother called me and said, "We'd like you to divest a portion of these things," and so I got so many of the things back that I bought. Now, of course, prices had escalated hugely, and I was—I got to sell them. And in fact, what happened in the art advisory business as time went on because I—so that was 1996 when I started, and I've just—I'm taking a new position in New York now, so I'm ceasing for the moment my art advisory activity. Now, it's 2014. So, in that period of time, what happened is that I went from the acquisition side where mostly I was buying for people. Well, a few years ago, I started realizing that a lot of people—my generation was getting older or they were divorcing or that—what is it—divorce, death, and the other one, the other d that people wanted to move out. So I started developing a bit more of a specialty in the resale markets. And this is a different thing than buying. I went from the acquisition side to the resale side and started getting a whole different other kind of level of experience.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  At that point, you're probably dealing more with dealers in resale? Well, you're dealing with dealers and acquisition as well but certainly—


HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  —in—but you must have to have an extraordinary network of dealers with their own clients.

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, you have the dealers, you have the auction houses, you have third-party buyers who might be interested in whatever it is you've got to sell. So really, it isn't that the players changed. It's just that, you know, the methodology switches a little bit, but the resources don't really change. [00:56:02] Because when I'm engaged as the administrator to resell, any avenue of resale is a legitimate one for me, whether it's going to the dealer or going to anybody who would want to buy the item.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  I don't know why, my sense of it is that it would be harder or more complicated to participate in resale. Uh—

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  It's very challenging and it is—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  —less straightforward in my thinking anyway. I mean whereas acquisition, you know, you see an artist's like, you think it would be good for a collection and you buy it. But resale seems so much less straightforward to me. Is that my perception or is that just true?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  I don't understand when you say straightforward what you mean.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Well, you have to—then you have to, um, you have to find the buyers for these works without making it apparent to anybody that you have these works for sale, right? I mean it's not like—I presume you don't throw them on the internet or maybe you do.

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, you know, Hunter, things have just changed so much that it really depends on so many factors now. First of all, I mean God, it's just so interesting. First of all, let's just take the auction market. It's absolutely exploded the number of auction houses and the niche—the niche orientation, and they're operating at all levels. There's these regional ones, you know, the international ones. We mostly hear about Sotheby's and Christie's, but there's a whole array of these people that essentially—and this is what the dealers are concerned about. The auction houses have become their competition, you know? So, there's a whole array of them that can be accessed, okay. And then you've got all this online activity. So for, let's say, reselling certain kinds of items, you can actually do it online. I've done it for myself personally. By the way, I want to say that, you know, having been a dealer and always buying things on my own account, over these last number of years, I've also leveraged out of things on my own account. [00:58:06] So, I've learned on my own—or learned on my own dime some of the strategies and pitfalls of all of these different avenues, and that's been useful. And I guess you could say in that regard that a lot of this stuff isn't so completely straightforward because there's this feeling at least—I mean I don't know. I've had like extraordinary Mapplethorpe photographs for instance that first I would go to the dealers to try to sell. I would rather work with the dealers, and for whatever reason, they'll say, "We can't help you," or "The market is down," or "I've already got this material," or this or that. And I've taken those things to auction, and hit it out of the park, you know, record sales for certain images of the lilies or things like that. Other times, the auction house is a huge disappointment. They don't handle it right, it was the wrong sale, it was the wrong material. They had too much going on. You give the thing to the dealer, they do fantastically well with it, you know? Can you get better at deciding who would be the more [effective –DG]? It always feels to me still like, it's never for sure. [Laughs.] It's never for sure.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Well, that's why I was thinking it was actually—it would be more complicated to have gone into this line of work but this line of—I mean the others seem more straightforward is what I'm saying but—

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, maybe they're more fun because I think it's always fun to find some new thing or—it's always great to bring some new piece into your house and, uh—you know? I mean, I've had many times the feeling of a work of art that came into the house and I thought, "Oh, my God, everything else pales by comparison," but it tends to settle down and you know? And also, I have always tested myself as to what I could personally accommodate. [01:00:04] Like you think, oh, this thing is too bloody or too violent to bring into the house, but then you do it or too edgy or the subject matter is too volatile or whatever it is, and you bring it in and then all of a sudden, you know, can you accommodate it? Does it come into your living environment? I mean, I think it's different to see something in a museum. It's very different to see it in the gallery, see it in a museum, and see it in your home. People tend to set up different criteria for those experiences. But bringing it in your home and living with something every day is a different kind of thing than visiting it at the museum for a few minutes or maybe on frequent visits that you go to the museum and look at that picture or whatever sculpture, but living with it is just different. I mean I think it's part of the experience to have it for yourself to see what that's like.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Let me just quickly see where we are on the time frame here. Uh, I think it would be good to maybe switch discs, have a cup of coffee, so we will—

[END OF TRACK goldee14_1of2_sd_track04.]

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  This is Hunter Drohojowska-Philp interviewing Dorothy Goldeen at her home in Santa Monica, California, on August 18th, 2014, for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, card number two.

When we last—on the last disc, we ended with you going into business as an art advisor. But I wanted to, uh, ask you before we kind of get too far away from that, you see, about the end of your marriage. Because it seems like you came to Los Angeles at the beginning of your marriage and then now here that your marriage came to an end, what caused that? Was that professional stress or what?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  No. You know really, I'm far enough away from it that I think I can look back on that and just say that, um—you know, I mentioned earlier that Scott loved the art business, but I think part of that turned for him. I think that he was struggling himself in his own business activity and with who he was. I think he was feeling possibly a bit overshadowed by me. But at the same time, he started to not like just what was going on in the art world, and I think the people in the art world, the kind of posturing, and some of the superficialities and things were starting to get to them—him. But I think that was in contrast with his own struggle about who he was professionally. You know how—what I'm talking about people are so involved with success and money and this and that, and he was never really about that. He never defined himself by his occupation. He also had some other personal habits that were really getting in the way of the relationship. And we had really been kind of struggling for a few years with all this and then it finally just—he wanted to leave LA, but there was no plan about well if we leave LA, what are we going to be doing, you know? [00:02:04] There was never any plan. Anyway, it was one of these things where it just got more and more fragile and finally broke. You know, it was the hardest thing I ever did. Starting my business—my new business at the gallery when I started my gallery was so hard. Every day, I wanted to tear my hair out. But leaving Scott, um, was—as I like to say it's like when—I think the decision had been brewing for so long that when it finally happened, I don't even feel I was in control of it. It was just like something inside me kept taking all the steps to make it happen. It was totally, finally the right thing, even though of course I love him. But he—he wasn't taking good care of himself, and he wasn't bringing out the best in me, and I wasn't bringing out the best of him anymore in any way, so it finally broke up. He went off on a totally different track, and without getting into his story, I will just say that he did get sick and he has passed away. So, yeah, it was—and just to bring the whole thing full circle, he was diagnosed terminal with cancer, and he didn't want to die in America, so he went back to India. I told you that he went to high school in India. He went back to India to have his last days, and he did pass away there.


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Yeah, it was a really heavy story, but we won't go—we won't go into that too much. Well—


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  He died about a year and a half ago.


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Yeah, yeah. Really—and you know, I just—I miss him, but I just feel so grateful he didn't die right way when we got divorced because that would really have been bad. [00:04:00] So that's the story.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  So, here you are in this new business. Before we go on into your art advisory business, I want to backtrack a little bit into the '80s, which I, at least remember, as being a real boom period for art business in Los Angeles. Lots of galleries moving here, getting started. Um, people starting to collect art in a more serious way in Los Angeles, which has always had sort of a checkered history until recently of—as being a collecting scene. Tell me about the LA art boom in the '80s, and who some of the collectors were, and how you enjoyed working with them.

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, you know, it's really heavy because so many of those people are gone, you know? I mean, certainly Marcia Weisman and Fred Weisman, and Robert Rowan, and people like that that were so critical to scene here. They used to always come in the gallery and—you know. I mean, I remember the first time Peter Norton came in the gallery and people from elsewhere that would come in the gallery that have become such prominent collectors, you know, just—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Well, I think of it as a period where certain collectors who went on to have a presence really came up like Peter Norton, Eli Broad, uh, the Lannans. I don't know if those were your collectors or not?




HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  It just seems as though people that there was—that it was an era where collecting became really—Doug Cramer, you know? I mean were those your people? Did you—uh, were you selling to all those people, and do you remember having close relationships with any of those people?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  I wouldn't call them close relationships with any of those people, but they were people who visited the gallery. [00:06:00] They were not my primary clients, I wouldn't say, but probably they each bought something somewhere along the way, or we had dialogue somewhere along the way, or they were, you know, certainly people whose collections I visited, and we were very aware of each other and things like that, so—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  But did you feel like in retrospect that that was a bigger—a more commercially successful time in LA?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, you know what's really weird, I had talked to so many of my colleagues who say they never sold LA, to people in LA. And Irving Blum was always famous for saying, "Anybody who'd spend more than $50,000 spent it outside of LA." But when I had my gallery, the gallery was supported by people from Los Angeles and other places, but I never felt that there was a dearth of support locally. And, you know, the business was always some kind of miracle. I mean I'm telling you. Like Scott always used to say to me, "Dorothy, you always get saved." I mean, when we would be on our last leg, when we thought this was it, somebody would come by and they would buy something. It would be like a blood infusion. I mean the patient lives. It was just like that. It really, really was.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Well when we first were speaking in your office, you told me the story about buying the Joan Brown painting. Would you repeat that story for this?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Oh, yeah. Well, that was a great story because—the main thing about that story that's so great was just the illustration of the passion that drove me, because it was the San Francisco days and there was a—you know, Joan Brown was an artist we represented, and I was very aware of all of her material. And at that time, she was also represented by Allan Frumkin in New York. She had a painting called—well, there were a few paintings called Dancers in the City, but I believe it was Dancers in the City #3. Anyway, it was a diptych that was eight-feet high and 10-feet long that I fell in love with. And in those days, we work from transparencies, and I would be showing this transparency around to the clients trying to encourage somebody to buy this painting, and nobody wanted to buy it. And it was $3000, which was still a lot of money. [00:08:12] It was a lot of money for me because in those days, I did not own a car or a stereo, and I decided to buy the painting. So I contacted Allan Frumkin, and he let me pay it off monthly for a year. [They laugh.] And when I finished paying for this painting, it came into the house, and I remember, um, [laughs] it was like a wall mural. It was so big, it took over the whole wall, and I loved it because you could just like walk into it. I had that painting for many, many years in several different locations. I brought it with me when I came to Los Angeles, and Rene di Rosa of the di Rosa Foundation had been a very, very good client in the San Francisco days. And he didn't come to LA that often, but he would come occasionally. He—uh, he ended up finally buying that painting. But in the leaner years when I was still in San Francisco and just couldn't believe that I was spending $3000 for the Joan Brown, Hun Anderson who was Hunk and Moo Anderson who were very good clients of our gallery in San Francisco visited often. And I was telling him that I made this leap and I bought this painting, and he said to me, "Dorothy, anytime you want to sell that painting, I'll pay—I'll buy you out of it for what you paid." [They laugh.] And I paid that $3000, so of course at the time, that felt like a good backstop for me. But I also knew that if he was willing to do that, that painting was going to be worth a lot more one day, so, and indeed it was, um—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  How much did you sell it for? Can you say that?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Yeah. I sold it for about $33,000, so that was a pretty good return for me.


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Of course, if I still had it, it would be, you know, way north of that, but that was a good sale. [00:10:06] That was a good sale. Yeah.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Do you have a feeling about the investment value of works of art? I mean do you think that art can be a good investment because so much of it can go up and so much of it cannot go up?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Yeah. Well, personally on my own behalf, I've made a lot of money selling art that I bought. And of course as a dealer, you have an advantage that you get to buy often at very good prices. But even since—you know let's say as a dealer, could buy it 40 or 50 percent off perhaps. As an advisor, I didn't often—if I was buying through galleries or things like that, I might only be buying at 15 or 20 percent off, let's say, on average. But even so, uh, I—I've been able to turn things around at a really significantly good profit. So it isn't to say that that always happens. I certainly have things that I own I could never sell or whatever, but hopefully those are the ones I've spent less for, but not always, you know, you can't get it 100 percent of the time. But as I like to say, I regularly get on at least second base [they laugh] so that gets me pretty far around. The—uh, so I think it's about first of all your eye and then your opportunities. You have to understand when you're in an opportunity situation. Sometimes maybe you don't get to buy your first choice, but maybe it's still worth buying—still worth buying the artist or the moment. Because sometimes you don't get to get next to it again. That's for sure. Of course, everybody has the stories of the things they wish they would've bought, they could have bought, and they didn't buy. Everybody has those stories. It's normal. And I have them [they laugh] for sure.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  So, do you want to a little bit about—oh, we've talked about dealer—uh, collectors in LA. What are some of the highlight that you remember of your exhibiting days—[00:12:00]—shows you really loved or artists you really loved working with and stories about them that you'd like to tell me?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, one thing is I think that the process is usually where first you decide you want to work with an artist, and you go to the studio and their show is coming up, and you go in, and you see what they're preparing. If you're lucky, you'll have the chance to edit. You can say, "Let's do these six paintings. Let's—" and you get to pick from 10 or 12 or more, whatever, I don't know. But the idea that you get to edit. One of the things I always loved is the installation where you get to create the context for the viewer. A lot of times, we would do that in concert with the artist, but not always. For me, that was just a very creative time to set up this idea of how you could lead the potential eye of the viewer through the way in which you arrange it. And I often had the feeling of being completely overwhelmed at the beginning thinking, oh, my God, how are we ever going to get this together? Especially like with sculpture where it's—um, you know? And especially, like, you take somebody like I'm thinking of Donald Lipski. We had several shows for him. He had lots of work that would hang from the ceiling, or would need extra bolting, or his materials are found objects, it would be complicated. Or even when things arrived and putting them together, how do they fit together and all the rest of it. So, those were always, um, pretty challenging and fun doing those kinds of things. I like that a lot.

And there were lots of times when you just didn't know the artist. I remember one time in San Francisco, we were going to show Kenny Price, and at the last minute, he decided he didn't think he wanted to do the show. So I had to get on a plane and go to Taos, New Mexico, and try to turn that around. [00:14:04] And I did, and we had the show, but he decided that he wanted—he had his own idea about pricing, and we didn't think his pricing was appropriate. It was inconsistent and too high. And he insisted that if we were going to have the show and show that work, this was the price it had to be. So, uh, part of our mission is to be fiduciaries of the marketing and the pricing, and so we were very—we weren't too happy about this, but we really wanted to show his work and we loved it. So we did what he wanted, and of course, it was the first piece to sell. [Laughs.] The one that he wanted to put at this ridiculously high price, first piece to sell.


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Yup, and it was gorgeous.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Hmm. That's interesting. So he knew.

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  He had a feeling—


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  —for the value of his work. He knew what it took to make it. I mean artists are always trying to correlate labor to pricing. And it often does not correlate because it just—the amount of time they put into something, still may not put it in the marketplace context where it can command a certain price. But in his case, he just felt like he didn't want to sell the thing if he couldn't get a certain level for it. And you know, it turned out that it was a lesson learned [laughs].

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  That's really good.


HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Did you have—did you have close personal relationships with any of the artists?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, we did touch on Joan Brown earlier, and Joan and I were really good friends. I would say though that in the end, I found that the artist's loyalty was to their work and their careers. And it really, in the end, didn't matter how close we were. [00:16:01] Also, I think there's this complex relationship with artists that, you know, I'm selling their children, and they love their children. The art, the work that they make is their deepest love, and so there's a kind of catch-22 in the whole thing. It's that yes, they need the money and they want to sell, they want the work to go out in the world, they want it well‑placed. But at the same time, I'm the instrument, I'm the person's that's taking that child away. So there's this kind of weird dichotomy about it that's kind of strange. But I think in the end for me personally, I just found that I prefer to have—you know, I mean we were very friendly, but it was business. So I prefer to have my closest friends not be necessarily the artists. Other people feel differently about that and it's—we're in very symbiotic kind of thing, so it's hard not to have these—just like with the clients—you know, that you're with them all the time and you're doing all this, but as André Emmerich used to say, "When it comes to the clients, you can never forget that you are just middle‑class." In the sense that a lot of the people, they're very wealthy, they're very entitled, they love you to death while you're servicing them in the ways that they want. But they can pull rank anytime they want too. So I think there's always this little bit of feeling, you know, you have to be—uh, you have to be a little careful and guard the relationship and respect the relationship for all the parameters that exist around it and not forget them. You know, with your friends, maybe you can trespass and make up, but a lot of times with clients and artists, you cross a line, and you don't recoup the relationship.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Did you learn that the hard way?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Yes, of course.


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  That's the way we learn everything. [They laugh.]

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  With whom? Are you allowed to say?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Oh, well, you know, like this—um. I'll just say one thing that didn't exactly happen like that. [00:18:02] But for instance in the early San Francisco days, an artist like Tom Holland who was one of the—our most primary artist. We did an incredible job for him. We sold tons of his work. We just did—I think we did everything we could do, and he still left us. He went to John Berggruen because he thought John Berggruen was going to do better for him and was a more prestigious gallery or whatever. Maybe he liked the context better there. So he did go to John Berggruen, and we were crestfallen. But the truth is John never did a better job for him than we did. He never did. But, you know, artists get it in their minds that they see themselves just like any—it's maybe normal. You can't—but it's like they want to move up their idea of moving up, their idea of having a different moment or different opportunities, and they jump for it because they think it works for them. So, it wasn't about his loyalty or all the work we had done for him or the amount of that we cared about him or anything. It was that he thought there was a greener pasture.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Mmm. Now what about William T. Wiley? You told me this great William Wiley story about him trying to explain something to you and instead of explaining it and giving you the drawing.

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Oh, yeah. So, you know, Bill Wiley is just—he's at the root of everything I feel about art. Because I met him early, and he was so powerful for me and the idea that art comes out of life not out of theory, which is not to say that it's an unintellectual thing. But it's just that many of the Bay Area artists had this idea of art coming out of life. So, I always adored Wiley and have owned tons of his work, and sold tons of his work. He was a mainstay of our San Francisco gallery, and he was also—he is among the most generous of people. You know, thanks and generosity come from the least likely places. You think they'd come from the people you work the most for, but they don't really. [00:20:00] But Wiley was an exception. I could show you, Hunter, all the things I found while I was moving, cards and letters that he sent me of thanks and just this extraordinary generosity. And not just with me but all the people that he would come in contact with, which had a lot to do also with his teachings, his Buddhist beliefs, his own idea about how life works, and things like that. His reading, he was a big reader, but, um—so when I moved to LA, as I mentioned, he was showing with L.A. Louver, so I didn't have a professional relationship with him at that point. But in the—when I had bought a very big painting of his called That Blame Treaty, which I have subsequently donated to the Santa Barbara Museum, but in those years I—um, it was very complex like all of his work is with lots of writing and sayings, and this, and that. And I had asked him a bunch of questions about it because I'm a big curiosity person, I'm always asking questions and instead of verbally responding to me, he made a drawing. And he gave me the drawing, which was hanging in my office, and it's now hanging in here by the way.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Mm-hmm [affirmative].

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  No, wait, I said that wrong. The name of the painting was The Scream for EM. The Scream for Edvard Munch. That Blame Treaty or whatever I said, that was something else. That was the painting, and so his drawing was in response to my questions about the painting.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  So, moving to art advisory, now your art advisory has been so successful that you've been hired to represent the Allan Stone estate. Now, I don't really understand what you're going to be doing as you move to New York—

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Okay. Well first of all—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  —even as we're speaking [laughs].

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Okay. Uh, well first of all, I want to say that the Allan Stone estate is no more. It's closed, and what was derived from it is the Allan Stone Collection. [00:22:00] Okay. So the collection exists, and I am going to be divesting the collection. Now Allan Stone was a dealer of note for many years, and his gallery, Allan Stone Gallery, became a few years ago, Allan Stone Projects. And so that gallery is ongoing, and I will also be overseeing the exhibition program of that gallery, which will be drawn from the collection. In the process of that, it may be purely from the collection or we may be doing shows that elucidate pieces within the collection or give context to it.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. But quite a lot of it was sold at auction?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  A good portion was sold at auction, but because he was such a prodigious collector, a vast portion remains.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. How would you characterize the vast portion that remains?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, as you know, he was an early supporter of the Abstract Expressionists and he was deep into artists like Wayne Thiebaud, and de Kooning and others. He also acquired work from artists that he just admired and loved. So the collection contains all of that. Plus he—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  So that's not been sold off at auction yet?


HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  That's not been—that's not—that's—they've sold tons of stuff, but they still have de Koonings and Thiebaud and others to choose from?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Right, right. And then he also collected in other areas, so he collected decorative arts and furniture, and tribal art, and things like that. So, that's also part of the collection.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  So partly, you'll be doing—Allan Stone Projects will be exhibitions elucidating the remaining collection?


HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  And then you'll also be selling parts of this collection? [00:24:00]


HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  In the same way that you've been working as an art advisor.


HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Okay. So, it's, uh—how—if this is—is this a finite situation because eventually everything will be gone, right?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Right, right, right.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  But for how long do you anticipate this taking place?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  You know, our target is probably in the five-year area and then we'll reassess where we are.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. So tell me more about it. What are your thoughts about it?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, of course, I'm super excited for the opportunity. I'm excited to be moving to New York. I'm excited to have this challenge in front of me. I think that it will utilize all my skills, which I'm really excited about. I love this idea of very full engagement, and it will bring me in touch with a lot of new people and situations. So I'm feeling—and you know there's a—there is a staff in place who I've met, and they're talented, committed people. I'm excited to be working with them.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Now, is this the staff that had been at Allan Stone Gallery or Allan Stone Projects?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  A couple of people had been—go way back to the gallery days or had been back—had worked for Allan himself while he was living. He passed away in 2006. Some of them are newly hired and have been on board for a while. And my role is the president, and I have full authority to keep those people or replace those people as I see fit. And, um, so for me, you know, as an art advisor in my just most recent business, essentially I was sole entrepreneur, and I hired contract labor. I hired people when I needed them to do various things. So, the idea of going back in with a fixed staff is like going back to my gallery days, which you know I love because I love the idea of building the team. Because while I'm interested in fully engaging myself, I'm very interested in the aspects of leadership and inspiration that allow other people to do their best and to manifest themselves. [00:26:06] So I'm excited about being in that role, you know being back in that role. [Laughs.] Yeah. So, you know, in every way I feel blessed. I feel just so incredibly fortunate to have a new chapter at this particular stage in my own career where I've been doing this for quite a long time. Some of my colleagues are kind of settling down and getting quieter and doing less, and I'm amping up and doing more, and that's fine for me. I feel really strongly about that, that the whole idea that we're living longer, and that just like exercise is important for our physical bodies, that engagement and being challenged is really important for our mental acuity and our—this idea that we're capable of so much and most of us are under—many people are underutilized. You know lots of people still looking for jobs since the recession and all the rest of it, so I'm feeling really good.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Now, did you ever know Allan Stone?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  I did. I didn't know him well, but I had visited his gallery. But what's interesting is that we had some overlap in some of the artists. Like for instance, he was very deep into Robert Arneson early, which, you know, we were representing him. He had other artists like—you know a whole a bunch of them like Gregory Gillespie, Charles Ginnever, Steven De Staebler, people that he bought—whose work he bought or showed that sort of dovetail with my—you know Allan Stone kind of had—since he was strong with Thiebaud. He had a home in San Francisco. He has family out here. He was kind of connected also to the West Coast. So that's—that's an interesting piece of overlap of coincidence.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Yeah, absolutely. [00:28:00] So you were—have become familiar with what his collection is—it entails?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, I have a long way to go. [They laugh.] Because like I said, it's very big, so there's many things that will be new to me, and that I have to become familiar with.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. And—and, uh, where is Allan Stone Projects located?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  The gallery is on 22nd Street in Chelsea. And then we maintain a very big warehouse outside of New York.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. What else do you want to tell me about this big move in your life?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, [laughs] since the moving van is coming next week, and I haven't really quite started yet, um, I don't know what else to say except that I feel very enthusiastic about it, and I think that it's going to be very, very interesting.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Did they approach you?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, this goes back to my earlier premise. I was referred to the job. And my interviewing started last January, so we had kind of a long interview process, which was good for me especially, because I certainly didn't think I was going to move to New York when I started this thing. It thought well maybe an LA office or I don't know what. And then I started thinking more like, well really to do the job right, I needed to be in New York, and hey, why not go to New York? And this thing was a lot like, as I was describing to you, my divorce with Scott, it was like I just didn't decide I'm going after it, it was like something in me did it. I just kept taking the next step. I just kept showing up and doing the next right thing, and one thing led to another and then there it was. And they had interviewed a lot of people, and I think that when I came along, they just saw that it was a good fit because I've been a gallerist. [00:30:03] I've been doing resale. The artists were—some of them were familiar to me. I was very well recommended, and I'm very well connected, and I had the mobility to move. I mean it just worked out. And, yeah, [they laugh] it just worked out.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Now, do you get to be—were on—are you on commission or salary or how does it work when you the something like this? Because you've been doing very well on commission on your own.

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Yeah, but you know what, I don't think that—neither they nor I felt commission was appropriate for this position. So I have—I'm being very well taken care of, which suits me fine, and that's how we're doing it.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  So that you wouldn't be motivated to sell things that shouldn't necessarily be sold? I mean, is there a goal to keep the collection together on some level or to sell as needed? What is goal?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  The challenge—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  It's such a weird—it's an unusual situation, is it not?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  It's a very unusual situation, but really the challenge is to do what we call a vertical divestiture—


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  —which means that we could easily sell off all the top material, and that would leave a lot of remaining things.


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  So really, the goal is to slowly divest the top material but simultaneously be divesting the other things. So, you know, the natural motivation in a lot of ways even though the top material is the most expensive material in many ways it's the easiest material to sell, because you're dealing with historically significant artists of reputation, and there's lots of interests in the marketplace for those people. But the more mid-career artists, people that are less well‑known or things like that, that's a different—that's a different technique and a different challenge, and we need to be doing them simultaneously. So that's really going be the goal.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  And is—and the goal is to ultimately—


HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  —get rid of everything? [00:32:01]

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well yes, but that's a very—that would be the biggest goal, you know. At the end of the day like with all things, there'll be some remaining and then people will decide what they want to do. I mean the cost of maintaining the overhead to a—of our machine to do all the things we do, the exhibitions, the publications, all the things that we do with the gallery and with the formal operation takes funds. So there'll be some moment where we'll take a look at what are we generating versus what is it costing us and then we'll decide what we should do next.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Now, are there heirs to the—there must be heirs to the Allan Stone?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Uh, there are—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  There must be children—

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  —Allan Stone has six daughters from two different marriages.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  And so, are they involved or are they just—?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  They are—they form a board that I will report to.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  It's an interesting model, and certainly, it's something people might consider—other people might consider—


HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  So, it's come up a lot these big collections, right?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  This is the thing, Hunter, that you know our culture and not just ours, American, but all over the world, the wealthy have just been consuming at this enormous rate. And as people mature and start looking at their mortality, they start looking around at their possessions whether it's fine art or anything else, and you say, "What am I going to do with all this?" And so it does bring up the question, that's why this whole divestiture thing like you were saying, it may not be the same as the buying side, but it's this incredible need going forward is how to manage all of this, and it's huge. It's absolutely huge.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  How to find new buyers—

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  How to find—

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  —for all the stuff that people—

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Yeah, how to find new buyers—


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  —or how do you with integrity pass this stuff on? Because the thing about art in difference to like our furniture or whatever, we give it away to some liquidator or you junk it or whatever. [00:34:03] Art has this fiduciary kind of relationship around it where you're a caretaker for it and how do you—what do you do with it? You can't just—well an artist—John Baldessari can go out and burn his work if he wants to, but you're probably not going to be okay going out and doing something like that with some artist's work. I mean, really I had the situation recently that even with the artist's permission, to destroy a work that had faded irrevocably we had—and I took it to a third party where we were—it was in my warehouse and we were going to destroy it. Based on the artisan's directions we could barely do it. It is so against—it's like being a doctor, and you don't—as a doctor, you're trained to keep the patient alive. You know?


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  We are trained to keep the artwork alive and in good condition, so to actually, consciously destroy it was really a hard thing to do.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  And what about museums? Now, at this point isn't Allan Stone supposed to call up the Museum of Modern Art and say, "You're a great institution, I want to leave my collection to you"?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, that's an avenue, and a lot of people asked that question, and that opens up a whole lot of other questions in itself. But even after you give a few pieces to your favorite institution, um, you know, there's plenty left. Or what if the institution—like so many of these collectors who decide to open their own museums and their own places. There's just a lot of issues around that. But it's—sure, it's an option. I mean donation in general whether it's to a museum or any place else is an option.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  I just meant is this is like a new dynamic for people that there are so many people with huge collections that they've obviated the possibility of museum donations because there are—it's too much or the museums are full or whatever? [00:36:04]

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Yeah all the above, all the above.


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  All the above.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  So you're a—you have a new professional responsibility. You're like stepping into the art world at a time when it's an even bigger task than it was been before probably. Possibly.

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Well, I don't know. We could debate that, but nevertheless, it's a big bite for sure. [They laugh.]

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  What else was I going to ask you about? What else do you want to tell me that you think I haven't gotten around to asking?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Hmm. I guess the main thing I—maybe we could close on the idea that when I got into the art world and into art, I had an idealistic idea that it was better—art was better, different, higher than everything else. It was in a different realm. Over the years, it's become a commodity, and it's changed everything.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Did it change your view of it?

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Absolutely. You know, art used to be something really, really holy. I'm not saying it isn't holy anymore, but I'm just saying that the, um—the power and the pressure of the culture to turn it into something else is almost beyond the ability for anybody to refute the direction it's gone in, because it's just too powerful—everything that's in the media, everything that drives it, the decisions people make, their motivations, the way it's produced, how the artists feel all of that. But I just want to say that at the end of the day, I still reserve and preserve this kernel of idealism.


DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  I think it's completely necessary to keep it all going and keep the correct perspective. [00:38:05] So that even though we might say, "Okay, it's a juggernaut. The whole commodification thing, we can't really refute it." On a personal level inside, you keep something that's precious that is immutable, and that's this little kernel of idealism.



HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  That's a very nice way to end.

DOROTHY GOLDEEN:  Yeah, thank you.

HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP:  Thank you, Dorothy Goldeen.

[END OF TRACK goldee14_2of2_sd_track01.]


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Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Dorothy Goldeen, 2014 August 18. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.