I started collecting art because I love it: standing in a room next to paintings, learning about the artist’s history, handling pieces up close and personal, front and back —every aspect of the process is a genuine privilege. In 2005, when I began formally pursuing a career in the arts (for which I’d long had a passion), it was exciting; when I founded Long-Sharp Gallery, it was as a collector and enthusiast first.
Long-Sharp Gallery is located in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana—with a project space in Midtown Manhattan— and we specialize in works on paper, multiples, and drawings by modern masters like Picasso, Warhol and Lichtenstein. Our contemporary roster has expanded, too, featuring regional, national, and international artists: Gino Miles, Cha Jong Rye, Russell Young, Tarik Currimbhoy, Sabina Klein, Amy Kirchner, Jason Myers, and the late, beloved David Spiller.
I work only with artists whose works I love and collect. It’s a point of practicality for me, and also one of integrity. I always tell young collectors that if the work doesn’t rock their world, they shouldn’t buy it. My gallery only offers work that rocks mine.
Another significant component of Long-Sharp Gallery is our regional outreach in the form of educational programming, art-related community service, and promoting regional museums and artists. We hope, too, to have exhibitions that encourage discussion about issues important in our community. For example, in 2016, our Indianapolis exhibit Nelson Mandela: The Artist, we invited community groups to sit with the work and allow it to engender conversation on race relations and politics. Recently we hosted Piers Secunda, whose works concerned molds of ISIS bullet holes. These types of exhibits spawn discussion and bring a focus to the gallery beyond just the art on the walls.
In my previous career, I served twenty-two years as a death row defense lawyer. Art dealing might not be life or death, but clients’ money is hard-earned, and it ought to be handled with care—something I once learned the hard way, having navigated the art market as a young collector myself. Long-Sharp Gallery champions ethical, collector-centric practices, guaranteeing each work with extensive warranties in regards to their authenticity and condition, and subscribing to the Best Practices guidelines supported by Art Basel and the The Art Dealers Association of America.
While we have very experienced collectors as clients, it is a privilege to work with those who are new to collecting, and to assist them in navigating the fine art world. I learned the hard way the importance of this when I began collecting. Just as the Rules of Court and the ethics rules are bound together in one book for lawyers, business and ethics are the foundation of what we do. We vet each piece, offer education, share resources, and operate daily with connoisseurship and transparency. Importantly, if we tell you we’re going to do something, we’ll do it, and if we don’t have what you want, I’ll recommend another gallery I’d trust to buy the piece for myself.
Long-Sharp Gallery has participated in juried art fairs including Masterpiece London, EXPO Chicago, and Art Miami; we’re also a certified Woman's Business Enterprise (WBE) and a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO).
-Rhonda Long-Sharp, JD - Owner
Image: I Will Keep You From The Dark © David Spiller