Over the past 50 years, Carl Solway Gallery has built its reputation as the region’s most influential private art dealer through a series of bold choices.
Most significant, says owner and namesake Carl Solway, has been the gallery’s relationship with video-art pioneer Nam June Paik, for whom Solway fabricated and sold more than 200 sculptures made of television sets. “I think if I’ve made any contribution to the history of art,” says Solway, “it’s breaking ground on selling video art.”
Solway also encouraged new avenues of expression for artists such as avant garde composer John Cage and architect Buckminster Fuller, helping foster the spirit of inventiveness celebrated in the Cincinnati Art Museum’s Not in New York: Carl Solway and Cincinnati (through Oct. 30). Featuring works the museum has purchased from Solway by the likes of Paik, Cage, Ann Hamilton, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselman, and others, the exhibit derives its name from one of Solway’s earliest galleries, which was indeed not in New York, but on West Fourth Street, until it moved to the larger West End space it occupies today. Keeping his gallery in Cincinnati allowed room for experimentation Solway wouldn’t have been afforded in bigger cities. “Our [exhibits] are not based on what we think people are going to buy,” says Solway. “Being where we are gave us the opportunity to be risky about those choices.”