Art, Business

NOLA Artist Chris Roberts-Antieau Loves Our Secret Pamphlets!

“Ascension” by Chris Roberts-Antieau

Chris Roberts-Antieau is an artist and gallery owner based in New Orleans. Ari is a big fan of her work, and it turns out, Chris is a big fan of Ari’s work, too—specifically, his business pamphlets, which she’s been using day to day in her own business. After a recent serendipitous meeting, Chris and Ari are collaborating on a special event, called “The Secret Pamphlets: A Talk with Ari Weinzweig”, at her Royal Street Gallery. If you live nearby, join them for an interesting discussion on Monday, March 13 at 7pm (pssst…there will be cheese!). You can reserve your ticket here. 

Zingerman’s: We love your art and your Artist Statement—your path has been unconventional (much like ours!). Can you share your story and inspirations for your work?

Chris Roberts-Antieau: I really like that you used the word unconventional, because that is exactly how my path has been, especially in the way the gallery started. I’ve been an artist my whole life, and I used to do eight to 10 shows a year all around the country, one of which was Jazz Fest here in New Orleans. My son, Noah, also moved to New Orleans after he graduated college, so I would come down to visit him, too, and I really just fell in love with the city. New Orleans is so supportive of the arts, whether it be food, music, visual arts, etc. and the city itself is so inspiring, in its rich history and beautiful decay.

One year after Jazz Fest, we were driving through the French Quarter on our way back to Michigan, and we
saw a “For Rent” sign on a vacant storefront. My assistant, Chris Redden, convinced me to call the landlord and ask if we could do a month-long pop-up. The landlord said, yes, so we slapped the art we didn’t sell at the show up on the walls and prayed to God it would sell. We were so nervous that one day my assistant went to the cathedral and lit a candle and, wouldn’t you know it, the very next day a man came in and bought $30,000 worth of art and paid our rent for the entire year!

It’s situations like that, that happen time and time again,leaps of faith in the light of improbability, where we
just have to trust we’re doing the right thing and that it will all work out.

Birds of Prey Dress by Chris Roberts-Antieau

Z: Can you tell us a little about your gallery? (The virtual tour is dazzling!)

CRA: Thank you! We’re coming up on our 7 year anniversary this May in the same space where we had our
pop-up back in 2010. Having my own gallery is an amazing format to create anything I can imagine. It’s
such a gift to have as an artist. Not only do I get to make the art, but I get to curate the space with an
all-encompassing vision—the look, the feel, the sound, the fun—so you’re not just looking at art on a wall,
but having a whole sensory experience. I try to keep the work and installations constantly changing, so it is
always fresh and new. My hope is that it elevates and inspires all who enter.

Z: How did you first come across Ari’s pamphlets?

CRA: I first came across Ari’s pamphlets shopping at FOUND in Ann Arbor. I have always admired Ari’s business model. It seemed so powerful and mysterious. I had wanted to attend a ZingTrain workshop or seminar but never got the chance. As soon as I found out about the pamphlets, I immediately bought three. And then I went home and ordered 15 more! I think I have them all now.

Dear Head by Chris Roberts-Antieau

Z: You mentioned that you read the pamphlets before heading off to work. Do they speak to you more as a business woman or as an artist?

CRA: I think it’s a combination. It’s all connected, really. What Ari speaks of in the pamphlets is not just business philosophy, it’s a philosophy for life. I love that it’s so ethically based. To me, it speaks to the ethical side of making art, and by that I am really intrigued.

Z: Have you implemented the philosophy into your work as a gallery owner ?

CRA: Yes, slowly but surely. I’m still getting through all the pamphlets now. Some things we already do, which is great because it’s reaffirming that we’re on the right path. I’ve started doing Visions, and I’m very excited about them. There are also a lot of other things I’m intrigued by and looking at introducing. The pamphlets are definitely making an impact. I find them very uplifting. Especially the parts about using all your people to their fullest potential, with a wholehearted belief in what they are doing.

Z: Can you tell us about the event you have planned with Ari on March 13?

CRA: The event in March will be an interview done by an artist (yours truly), interviewing a very successful
business owner (Ari). It will be about Ari’s philosophy in his operation of Zingerman’s, about his identification with “Anarcho-Capitalism” and how that connection manifests itself. The new book will be the central focus along with the pamphlet series. I’m hoping that the very strong connections between creating art and creating a business will become a unique thread for great conversation and insight. It should be a very uplifting, inspiring, and soul-stirring evening!

Reserve your tickets for “The Secret Pamphlets”, March 13 at 7p, at Antieau Gallery, 927 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA. If you’d like to learn more about Ari’s “Secret Pamphlets”, you can see them all here. Special thanks to Chris for allowing us to show her work!