The Wick - Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, courtesy of Superblue The Wick - Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, courtesy of Superblue
Monday Muse

Interview Superblue’s CEO, Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst

Interview
Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst
Photography
Courtesy of Superblue
13 March 2022
Interview
Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst
Photography
Courtesy of Superblue
13 March 2022
Even before she co-founded Superblue, to help create new opportunities for large-scale, immersive art installations, Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst was known for identifying global artistic trends of the future. She was also behind major initiatives for some of the art world’s leading organisations including Pace Gallery’s first London branch and the launch of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, where she organised the city’s first-ever Mark Rothko exhibition.

She teamed up with her former boss at Pace Gallery, president and CEO Marc Glimcher, to create Superblue to straddle the divide between art and entertainment. Through its art centres, Superblue enables its network of artists, which includes the leading practitioners of experiential art, to transport audiences to new worlds while engaging them on important issues of today. Superblue opened a permanent 50,000-square-foot space in Miami last year with work from James Turrell, teamLab and Es Devlin as well as exhibitions by DRIFT and artist duo AA Murakami at Manhattan’s The Shed and a temporary space in London’s Piccadilly. Here, Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst shares why it’s only the start for experiential art.

THE WICK:   Talk us through a typical Monday.

Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst:   One of the joys of working at Superblue, which supports such a diverse range of artists and projects, is that no two Mondays are the same. As Superblue’s ambition is to bring art outside the gallery walls, our projects are realised on a global scale, which brings a fantastic variety to the working week. When I am not travelling and based at my family home in Sudeley in Gloucestershire or London, I love to start my day by walking my dogs Milo and Bugsy. The return of in-person meetings is a fantastic way to bring the exhibitions, sales and curatorial teams together and we are very lucky to be based in the heart of South Kensington, surrounded by beautiful museums. After a team lunch, the afternoon meetings schedule is often relentlessly busy as our American colleagues in New York and Miami start to wake up. In the evenings, I try to find some time to unwind with meditation and hanging out with my children before going to bed and doing it all over again.

TW:   How did you know the art world was ready for Superblue?

MDB:   Experiential art is the next major art historical movement. Artists have been practicing in this area for many years already, so you could say the movement is here in full force. The public interest in these artists and the kinds of experiences they create is only growing, especially coming out of this long period of lockdowns; people are looking for a return to this type of dynamic, in-person experience.

TW:   How does the growing interest in the metaverse impact the way you think about your immersive installations? 

MDB:   I don’t think this growing interest in the metaverse has greatly changed how we think about experiential art as much as it’s affirmed for us that people want these kinds of completely immersive, interactive opportunities to transport them to new worlds, and to find different ways to connect with each other, with new ideas, and with the world around us.

TW:   Through Superblue, you’ve put a spotlight on some of the most exciting artists working today. Who do you think should be on everyone’s radar?

MDB:   The artists we work with at Superblue are the leading practitioners in experiential art and are experimenting and exploring new technologies and mediums in unique ways. They engage with the most pressing issues of our time and encourage new ways of thinking about ourselves and the world around us. To name some of these amazing artists, James Turrell, Es Devlin, teamLab, DRIFT and Yinka Ilori have installations on view at our Miami experiential art centre, and artist duo AA Murakami is presenting a multisensory piece in London this spring. 

“The absolutely crucial lesson I have learnt is how important it is to stay abreast of what contemporary artists are making, interested in and talking about.”

TW:   What are the next big shifts in the art world that you’re looking forward to?

MDB:   The experiential art movement is still growing, and there’s more to do to bring this work to new and different audiences. Over the coming years, we expect to see even more of these kinds of immersive installations and platforms around the world. Also, artists are increasingly embracing new technology like AR/VR and incorporating that into their practices, and that’s going to push this movement even further.

TW:   You’ve launched numerous physical art locations, including the London divisions of Pace and Gagosian, the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art and Superblue. What lessons have you’ve learned?

MDB:   The absolutely crucial lesson I have learnt from all of these experiences is how important it is to stay abreast of what contemporary artists are making, interested in and talking about. In their own unique way Pace, Gagosian and the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art have all filled a need that was not being met by the art market at the time. For instance, Pace was absolutely pioneering in its early support of artists like James Turrell and Robert Irwin, who were challenging the traditional notion of sculpture by producing work that used light and space as a medium to question the very act of perception. In the same way, the artists Superblue supports, such as teamLab and AA Murakami, are again changing the shape of the contemporary art landscape by producing large-scale, immersive experiences that simply cannot be accommodated by a traditional gallery. By developing a ticket-based model where these artworks can be encountered by audiences worldwide, Superblue exemplifies the importance of putting artists at the heart of a business. 

TW:   Who is your personal Monday Muse?

MDB:   I’m inspired by so many women creatives, but I would say one of my Monday Muses is the author and poet Arch Hades. Her writing style is passionate and emotional, not to mention she is an innovator, having sold one of her poems at auction as the first-ever fine art NFT. My daughter is also a big fan of hers, so it’s nice to be able to share our appreciation for her work.


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