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Ileana Sonnabend

I THINK ILEANA’S DEATH represents the end of an era for a type of blind support for the artist’s work and even for a type of politics. By politics I mean that she was trying to create as positive a situation for the artwork as possible, to empower it, and to keep the focus on the art itself. It wasn’t about money or the gallery; it was about the work.

I was a young artist when I joined Sonnabend. I had produced my own artworks and was responsible for financing them, but when I began my “Statuary” series I needed a different kind of unconditional support. With Ileana, I never had to keep the gallery abreast of anything I was doing. I could just focus on the work, and the day it arrived might be the first time she would see it. Over the years, even though people outside the situation might have thought, “Oh, Jeff’s doing great,” they didn’t really understand the tremendous demands of operating

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