How a Chelsea-style photo gallery changed the game at the Shore

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October 25, 2013

How a Chelsea-style photo gallery changed the game at the Shore

Photographers Tom and Lois White have been in the Manhattan commercial art scene for decades, so they know what it’s like to get hit with the business end of a camera - like having your work damaged or held up in customs, losing time and money for both the artist and venue. Art and commerce don’t always mix, but here’s how they took what they learned and flipped the traditional gallery business on its head.

Exhibit No.9 is a conceptual and experimental photography gallery that opened a couple months ago on Cookman Ave. in Asbury Park. A break from the traditional documentary-style (think places and things) galleries that dominate the scene, it’s a fresh take on photography, and the artwork that lines the walls is truly breathtaking.

But Exhibit No.9 are also innovators in the logistics and day-to-day operations of an art gallery. As you walk toward the back of the space, it opens up into a full-fledged production studio. It’s a strategy that saves time and money, increases productivity, improves relationships and reduces stress for both the artist and venue.

According to gallery Director Tom White and photographer Rune Egenes, it’s not uncommon for art shows to be delayed, or cancelled altogether, due to logistical problems as a result of the gallery and studio being separate entities. Their business model is the solution to a host of snags that can occur at any given time or place.

Exhibit No.9 is truly firing on all cylinders. Born and raised in Norway, Rune Egenes holds a Master’s degree in Photography from the Film and TV Academy of the Performing Arts in Prague. His work has made its way throughout Europe, to South Korea and now to Asbury Park.

It’s almost as if their in-gallery studio is a piece of art itself - an expression of the owners’ unyielding desire to frame the ideas and experiences that move them, and address them head on, which some may say photography is all about.

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