Yesterday was a bad day for art. Gagosian announced they will be hiring Derek Blasberg, Editor-at-Large for Harper’s Bazaar, to do lord knows what (I mean that literally, as he’s not got a position), and Hudson, the founder of Feature Inc., died. The first bit of bad news isn’t worth much discussion. Blasberg is just another jewel in an empire that values culture by the money and influence it has behind it, not the ideas it contributes to society. Hudson was different. He cared about art just as much as the business, and in these times, that kind of loss will be felt.
I didn’t know Hudson except through occasional email, so when I remember him, I mostly think of his exhibitions, which I visited every couple of months, for years. The first art show in that neighborhood that I can remember was a suite of Richard Kern photographs. It was 1999, maybe 2000, and the photographs were some of Kern’s best work—young topless girls, who were hot for reasons I found hard to understand. Kern had a talent for finding sexy weirdness in girls who might otherwise look common and I found that strangely empowering. I talked about his work all the time with my friends, and it was Hudson who sold me the first book I ever bought from a gallery, Kern’s Model Release.
Another early show I remember that had some influence on me was of paintings by Alex Brown. I couldn’t tell if I liked the work—Brown was a painter whose abstract paintings were derived of renderings made and filtered in Photoshop. They relied heavily on process, which I worried was a crutch, but I liked the inexplicability of the paintings. I just never knew why they were made.
Oddly enough, that feeling was pretty common when I visited the gallery, and I almost always found it exciting. The best quality of Hudson’s eye and programming was that he consistently made a viewer consider the art. I didn’t always like the art, but I never forgot it, and I cared enough to talk about it.
I never expected that from Gagosian, but that matters less when you have options. Yesterday, one of those alternatives disappeared, and like anyone who knew Hudson or the gallery, I know it is a loss.