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Young at Art

Rural Intelligence Arts Section Image

Young with "Signal Mountain," acrylic on canvas, by Paul Carpenter

Geoffrey Young doesn’t expect you to buy anything at his second-floor gallery on Railroad Street in Great Barrington, and he’s OK with that. “Nine out of ten people who come into the gallery don’t buy art” says the elfin Young with surprising glee. “But if they are curious, I will be happy to educate them. I will help them see why I think something is gorgeous, meaningful, eccentric, powerful. I like the educational side of things.”

Most successful art dealers are businessmen at heart, but Young obviously isn’t.  Although he keeps his gallery open only during the high summer and fall seasons, he does not cater to the tourist crowd with easy-on-the-eye landscape paintings and photographs. “I do best when I show art that I love and want to own myself,” says Young, who’s also a professor,  private art consultant, published poet and critic. “The love of the work is the best tool you can use to sell. If I feel genuine, people pick up on it.”

Rural Intelligence ArtsWhen I visited him last week, I picked up on it. Young had just hung a show that he archly called “Narcissus,” which features work by twelve artists. “I gave it a generic title that has nothing to do with what you see. Last year, I started with a show called ‘Aphrodite.’  I guess I’m working my way through the Greek gods.”  Unlike many dealers in our region, he searches far afield for work and one of the artists he’s most enthused about right now, Steven Lowery (whose Backstage Stilton is above), lives in London. “A friend of mine found him on the Internet and she knew I would love his work,” says Young.  “He makes gorgeously obsessive-compulsive compositions in ink. He’s my kind of kid.” And his core group of collectors kind, too: Before the show opened, Young had pre-sold three of the drawings for $1,000 apiece.  As he took me around the compact gallery, Young was as enthusiastic about each artist as if seeing their work for the very first time.

Young is one of the pioneers of the Railroad Street renaissance. “It was deadsville until the movie theater opened,” he says. (The Triplex opened in 1995.)  He opened his gallery (originally in a third floor space above Tune Street) seventeen years ago, after he and his now ex-wife moved from Berkeley to Great Barrington for a one-year sabbatical.  “I fell in love with this place,” he says. “I fell in love with the seasons, the kids discovered Catamount and when you add in the Rudolf Steiner School and the proximity to New York where I could go to galleries, it could not be beat.”

Young’s gallery is refreshing for its lack of pretense—he doesn’t even frame most of the work he shows for several reasons. “They’re expensive and cheap frames are hideous, and most collectors want to choose the frame anyway,” he says.  “And framed works take up more wall space and I want to show as much art as possible. I want quantity as much as quality.”
Geoffrey Young Gallery
40 Railroad Street, Great Barrington; 413.528.6210
June hours: Friday - Sunday 11 AM - 5 PM

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