Lisa Candela: Curator by Proxy
-Interview for whitehot Magazine by Angel Baker
The death of a great man brought Lisa Candela into the business of being a curator. Trained in photography, studying under the likes of Helmut Newton and Albert Watson, Candela’s eye for the beauty in the world extends beyond the visceral and thrives in the ethereal.
After traveling for years between North and Central America, Candela challenged fate when she made a phone call from to Kathy Eldon, mother of murdered artist and photographer Dan Eldon. “I was just staring at my mustard yellow wall, blank, and thinking to myself ‘It would be great to own a Dan Eldon. Is there anything available?’ I knew his sister from Los Angeles so I called her and she said: ‘This is a question for mom. We’ve been wanting to make a collection and haven’t done it yet.’ So I called Kathy [Eldon]…We speak for about an hour and after that hour she basically asked me if I would [make a collection of Dan’s work]. And that’s where it began. It’s just evolved from there. [N]ow I’m sole manager of his collection and we’re looking to have it in as many galleries as possible.”
Kathy Eldon, who has been keeping her son’s memory alive since his untimely death in in 1993 (Dan was just 22), has been reticent to offer her son’s work to just anyone. Candela believes that she inherited the mammoth emotional and physical responsibility for a very specific reason. “I felt I was chosen for my eye and understanding,” she says. “I’ve never been to Africa. I don’t understand what he experienced but I understand the depths of how he saw things and how he worked. I can see it through his eye.”
In late 2006, Candela created an exhibit in honor of the work and life of Dan Eldon emphasizing his fine art, choosing to downplay the images of war and famine he documented for Reuters which plagued many parts of Africa. The show was such a huge success she, with partner David Decker, are plotting to open their own SoHo gallery in early spring.
“It was nice to see,” Candela recalls. “People flew in from all over the world. So many people are still presently in love with Dan and anything going on with Dan. They were there to support him. The frustrating part was that it was only one night and the power of his work being on the walls was so prevalent. That in turn initiated me to open a gallery featuring him and then taking on some other artists that I believe in that aren’t so well known.”
Other featured artists include painters Mary Heebner and Rosy Lennartsson, photographer Steve Wood, a young artist Nesi Lloyd, and Candela’s own photography.
Candela describes the intended goal for the gallery. “Together with David’s things which are vintage clothing, antiques, rare books, and my art, it will be a fully realized space, an environment, thick in mood… And then there is Dan's life, which is an art in itself. [We will show] journals, photographs, footage and special artifacts that belonged to him.”
Angel Baker is a writer in Los Angeles.
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