An effervescent and well-known personality of the Riviera Set for over two decades, Tina Green’s successes as a designer have redesigned the concept of interior luxury. It should come as no surprise then that her experience of being surrounded by – and seeking out – beautiful objects has led to her opening up Monaco’s latest art hotspot, the G&M Gallery.
F.1.M. : Tina, what gave you the idea to open an art gallery here in the Principality?
T.G. : Well to be honest, it was never meant to be an art gallery! My background is in interior design and it was as I was redesigning Sass Café with my business partner the gallery next door came up for sale. As we create furniture for our other business, I wanted a space where we could display all the beautiful things that we manufacture and combine it with a gallery.
But as we were planning this space we were also working on a hotel in Bordeaux and we didn’t have the ability to create furniture for both projects, so I decided, ok, with all the people I’ve met over the years, I should have the best contacts to open a fully-fledged art gallery.
F.1.M. : And coming from a design background, has this fed into how the gallery is evolving?
T.G. : I am not an art connoisseur and I don’t pretend to know everything about art, because I don’t. But I do know about beauty. I thought what a beautiful place to show beautiful pieces! I wanted to create an accessible space, I didn’t want to create an art gallery for the very high end of the market. My aim is that someone can come into the gallery, buy a beautiful piece, and put it straight on their wall in Monaco; it’s not somewhere to spend hundreds of thousands of Euros on a piece that will be locked away in a vault, I want people to buy a beautiful thing that they love without taking the focus away of how beautiful it is and only thinking of it as an investment.
F.1.M. : Yet the pieces that you show, the David Bailey’s for example, will become an investment surely?
T.G. : Yes, he’s one of the most iconic photographers in the world in terms of fashion and portraits, and I know that whatever you buy from here will always be valuable, not just because it’s a beautiful photograph, but because it’s David Bailey! I want the gallery to stand out for showing beautiful pieces and not the kind of Old Master paintings that you can find elsewhere in Monaco.
F.1.M. : Your passion for this new project really shines through when you’re talking about the art that you show, and also your passion for Monaco.
T.G. : I love living in Monaco, I’ve lived here for twenty years, so giving something back is very special for me. This gallery is fun, I wanted it to be a new fun space; we have dinner parties here, cocktail parties, we’re in front of Sass café… We’re open Thursday, Friday and Saturday night and we have people come here until one o’clock in the morning. It’s so much more than just enjoying the beauty of the gallery.
F.1.M. : And I think this is reflective in the works that you show here.
T.G. : Look at this David Yarrow, he is one of the most beautiful animal photographers I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen plenty in all my years! I’ve never seen a photographer who captures animals like he does while also giving back to the animals. I’m a great lover of animals too, so it works very well here.
F.1.M. : Which of David Yarrow’s photos do you like best? You’ve got a mix of animal shots, or one like this portrait of Cara Delevigne with a lion…
T.G. : To be honest, I love his pure animal photographs. He can also capture people in a very similar way to his animals, it’s quite remarkable. I think he is a remarkable photographer.
F.1.M. : So you mostly choose to show art that you personally like?
T.G. : I’ve been very lucky with who I have been able to show in the gallery. I have known David Bailey for a long time in various manners, and I first met David Yarrow twelve years ago in London. I was designing an apartment and bought some of his pieces to put in, so it has been amazing to watch his work evolve; so of course when I opened this gallery I had to give him a call. We’ve had a very successful time selling of his pieces. You either fall in love with one of the pieces in the gallery, or you don’t, and if you do, you buy it and put it straight up on your wall!
F.1.M. : Aside from your collection of photographs from David Bailey and David Yarrow, who else do you represent?
T.G. : We had a wonderful exhibition of 23 different artists here recently including Picasso, Matisse, Cauldwell and Ai Weiwei. It was a beautiful exhibition but I’m still figuring out the direction of the gallery in terms of the works I want to sell and exhibit.
F.1.M. : And alongside the big names, you’re also featuring works by contemporary artists?
T.G. : Yes, we had a show with a young French painter called Henry Lami, and at the opening he performed Capoeira with his girlfriend while painting a wall. It was great! It was really for Henry; I met him and wanted to get his work out there. It was great for him to come here and for me to help a young artist out. You know, art is a strange world: either you’re lucky or you aren’t, you make it or you don’t.
F.1.M. : Your current collection is very much focussed on photography; do you have the intention to specialise in this, or will you be selling other media as well?
T.G. : I think it’s just worked out that way at the moment, but at the same time I think photography is very up and coming in the art world in terms of collectibility and popularity. Take David Yarrow for example, he’s the only living photographer who’s sold works in both Christie’s and Sotheby’s. One of his photographs was recently sold Sotheby’s for much, much more than what it was originally bought for.
F.1.M. : Is this how you intend to set yourself apart from Monaco’s other art galleries?
T.G. : There are many great galleries here and I’m not trying to compete with them, I just want to do something that’s different. We aim to be a little controversial in that respect, or maybe we’re just free from expectation as it’s a brand new project. We have black walls and we do unusual things: we’re open late and we have dinner parties. Not your usual art gallery! But being controversial isn’t my intention, I do it because my daughter and I love it, it’s fun, and it’s giving something to the people as well. I’m very proud of what we achieve here, I think it’s very good for Monaco. And it’s good to highlight special causes through the power of art; David Yarrow’s photographs I hope will make people aware of issues with poaching and deforestation for example. I’m proud of David, I admire what he does for the wildlife, and we’re happy to help him.
F.1.M. : So, what’s next for the gallery?
T.G. : We’re very excited to announce that we’ve got Boy George coming next, and this will be hiss first debut as an artist, so how fabulous to host him here!