Air Miles with Kaitlin Lechich

1 Oct 2021 by Hannah Brandler
Kaitlin Lechich_Courtesy Frieze

Kaitlin Lechich is Global Head of VIP Relations at Frieze, an international contemporary art fair in London, New York, and Los Angeles.

What attracted you to the profession?

Being as close as possible to the art and artists that inspire me on a daily basis.

How do you select galleries for the fairs?

Each year, we receive hundreds of applications from galleries hoping to participate in the fairs, the final selection is made by a committee composed of leading industry figures.

Have you seen the audience at the fairs change over time?

Our fairs cater to a diverse range of people, from collectors looking to purchase, arts professionals such as curators, artists, gallerists and critics, through to the general public who visit the fair as they would an exhibition. With our new membership programme there are so many more opportunities for people to get involved throughout the year.

Is it challenging to move fragile works of art across the world?

Thankfully that’s not something I have to get involved with! But there are several brilliant and highly skilled shipping companies who specialise in the transportation of artworks. At Frieze, as founding members of the Gallery Climate Coalition, we encourage our galleries to opt for sustainable shipping methods where possible, such as via sea-freight as opposed to air.

How has the pandemic affected creativity?

As with all other areas, the effects of the pandemic have been wide ranging. One interesting aspect to arise is seeing the ways in which artists have adapted their practices – restricted access to studios and staff have led some to embrace new mediums, or work in a more intimate scale, or those that have created work that draws on their experience of the past eighteen months. As things have opened we have hosted a number of studio visits for our audiences and it’s fascinating to see how every artist is navigating their own way through.

Which piece of art has left a lasting impression?

I chose to pursue a career in the arts after viewing Yves Klein’s Blue Monochrome at MoMA. I felt such a strong connection to the painting, it made me realize the impact art can have on your life.

Do you collect art yourself?

Yes, I do collect. My most prized work is a painting that was gifted to me by an artist named David Aiu Servan Schreiber from his planet series. David is a French artist whose work focuses on environmental challenges which inspires us to build a healthier relationship with planet earth and to take action. The painting is a gold moon on a dark blue background – it reflects the light throughout the day and takes on a different persona as it glows in the evening.

What’s your favourite gallery abroad?

Tough question! All the galleries at Frieze are so unique in the artists they represent and the programmes they present. I will shift this question, and say that my favourite museum is Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. It sits on a bluff overlooking the sea, and the founder invited artists to come to the property and create site specific works to fit on the property. The whole museum feels organic and intimate.

What has been your most rewarding travel experience?

I would say travelling to St Petersburg during The White Nights Festival. I had the chance to visit the State Hermitage Museum’s storage centre, and see the thousands of works and treasures that do not fit into the museum including Catherine the Great’s expansive stagecoach collection!

And most challenging?

I have been fortunate to have good luck when travelling, however getting lost in Venice during the last Biennale without a map or working phone was a challenge!

How are you adjusting to the “new normal”?

I have adapted by dreaming about travel to come, and using the time during lockdown to create Frieze 91, a new membership programme designed to deepen members’ passion for art while also offering the access needed to start or develop a collection.

What's your dream destination?

If I could go anywhere today, it would be Èze in France which is a small medieval village with the most stunning panoramic views of the sea. The town is truly magical.

What's your indispensable travel gadget?

A universal travel adaptor. You can change plans last minute and be ready for anything.

What's your in-flight entertainment pick?

Classic movie marathons are key on a long-haul flight.

What's next for Frieze?

This October, Frieze London and Frieze Masters return to The Regent’s Park in London after a year’s hiatus due to the pandemic and we couldn’t be more excited to be back! Coinciding with the fairs is the launch of our new venture, No.9 Cork Street, which provides space for pop-up exhibitions in Mayfair.

We also continue to roll out our new membership programme, Frieze 91, which really is a first for us and gives our audiences access to the magic of Frieze all year round!


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